If you take time to measure the space and design a well-fitting awning to that space, the awning will look harmonious with your home's architecture. Be sure to draw sketches of your home to scale and draw the awning to match those dimensions. Proportions are very important. An under-sized or over-sized awning will look out of place on your home.
Don't get tempted to use small posts under an awning that will bear a lot of weight. Buy high-quality post material that is no less than 8 x 8 inches square. While delicate framework can look impressive at first, it can easily collapse under weight of the roof or in a windstorm. Use metal housing or angle iron to attach the bottom of a metal or wooden support post to decking or concrete. One post sliding out of position can cause the whole structure to warp or fall.
Draw all sections of the porch awning framework as if everything will be connected with nuts and bolts. This kind of planning keeps your work organized. Design the pieces to be cut and assembled as if the structure were made of metal, even if you are using wood framing. Plan the length, width and angles of every board to give the project a designer look. Precision counts, since you want your awning to look very professional. Be sure to miter all corners and cut angles according to the plan you are using.
You can use outdoor fabric made for awnings, wood, metal or plywood and shingles to make the roof. Wood can be cut in an open-slat fashion to provide shade only. Plan the covering around the activities you wish to conduct under the awning. For example, if you want to do a lot of cooking under the roof, you might select a plywood and shingles roof with a venting system. If your awning is near an outdoor pool, you might want to install a fabric awning or a bamboo covering to give the area a tropical feel.
If you will use your awning a lot at night, you might wish to install a lighting system underneath. You can install a storage wall or media cabinet by enclosing one end of the framework, too. An awning will get a lot more use if you build it to accommodate dining, cooking, media players and more. To expand a porch awning for more activities, you can always build a standard roof with plywood and shingles with a fabric-covered retractable awning that extends further into the yard area.