A pergola gives both style and function to your deck. Pergolas are typically on permanent structures that are partially open on the top and sides. You can make them out of the same wood as your deck, or stain them the same color. Pergolas are most effective at protecting your deck from the sun and providing shade. Because most pergolas are only partially enclosed, rain and snow still can reach your deck through a pergola.
An awning is an extension or overhang that attaches to your house or deck and offers a layer of protection over the deck. Most awnings are solid covers, meaning they block any elements that come from above, including rain, sun and snow. Awnings are also available in retractable models, so you can close the awning to enjoy the sun, and open the awning when you are not using the deck to keep it protected. You can also open the awning to sit outside and remain dry during a rain storm. Awnings can be mesh, vinyl, metal or a variety of other materials.
For an affordable wood deck cover option, consider getting tarps to place over the deck to keep it protected. Tarps are not as visually appealing as pergolas or awnings, but they do get the job done. Tarps keep rain, snow, sun and other elements from coming into contact with your deck's wood. When you lay a tarp down on your deck, secure it with cinder blocks or heavy rocks to ensure it does not move. You can also elevate the tarp in the middle slightly, so rain water naturally flows away from the middle and off the sides of the deck.