An outdoor canopy is a free-standing structure that is much like a tent except that it may or may not come with wall panels and does not have an attached panel that covers the ground. There are as many designs for outdoor canopies as there are uses for them. A very simple, portable outdoor canopy may be used on the beach, in the back yard, or at a concert or sporting event where there is lawn seating. There are also more elaborate canopies that are used to offer shelter and shade for special events such as weddings and graduations. The most common colors for outdoor canopies are white and cool colors such as green, blue, and light gray, although there are some exceptions.
In almost all cases, an outdoor canopy is a temporary structure that is used primarily for special occasions or during certain months of warm or temperate weather. Depending on the stability of the structure and the type of material that is used for the roof of the outdoor canopy, it may be possible to leave the structure in place for weeks or even a few months. For this reason, an outdoor canopy can be set up on the grounds of a residence for seasonal use. Some people use outdoor canopies as a way to create shade over their patios or in their courtyards. Others use it to create a sitting area in their back yards under which they set up outdoor chairs and tables.
There are some outdoor canopies that have panels that can be drawn down on one or more sides of the structure. These panels are usually made out of the same material as the roof. They can be tied up and out of the way so that those sitting within the outdoor canopy can see in all directions. Alternatively, they can be undone to offer privacy or shade. This feature can be useful for people who plan to set up an outdoor canopy in a yard that closely borders a neighbor's yard.
In addition to being used for leisure purposes, an outdoor canopy can also be used for practical purposes. These sorts of canopies are often used by vendors at outdoor fairs and flea markets. They are also sometimes used by people who are trying to protect the paint on their cars from fading and becoming otherwise damaged by direct sunlight.