Right now I have a tiny 8'x8' gazebo with canopy for the sitting area, and a giant umbrella for the dining area. Both are functional except that for the gazebo it's been a pain to remove the canopy at the end of the season and put it back on the next year which requires some dissembling. I need a more permanent solution.
Hardtop gazebos are all over my neighbourhood so I am sure they are good. I like that I will never have to remove the roof again because I could barely see any snow accumulation over the winter. The pillars can be screwed and secured into a deck so they are more permanent and sturdy. I heard the powdered aluminum material also makes them wind and rust resistant.
Allen Roth Square Gazebo at Lowes, a tad too small for me at 10'x10'x10'.
You can have it custom made to fit your space, however, it does need to be mounted onto a wall so there's the location limitation of an awning. Plus when retracted it doesn't look very attractive, see below.
So what's your experience with a backyard sun shade? Hardtop gazebo, pergola or awning?