What will your neighbours think of your new awning? No, not your human neighbours, but others who might live nearby, namely the local bird population. It's not as though birds are directly attracted to awnings, but when there are a considerable number of birds who regularly call your backyard home, your awning might need some extra protection. But protection from what?
Acidic and Corrosive
The problem is the high concentration of uric acid in bird droppings. Although this can (and definitely should) be cleaned if some was to find its way onto your awning, the corrosive effect of uric acid can damage the awning, particularly its UV sealant. How can you prevent this from happening?
Make It Retractable
You should consider a retractable awning. If your awning is only open while it's in use, the very fact that you and your family will be sitting underneath it should be a sufficient deterrent, keeping the local birds at a respectable distance. An automatic awning is easiest, so it can be unfurled or retracted at the flick of a switch. Given the strength of an awning and the tension that's necessary for it to be held in place, manual retraction can be quite an effort, so mechanising the process is certainly going to be preferable.
When you don't want a retractable awning, you should consider adding bird spikes to any eaves that overhang the awning, and even where the awning meets your house. These can be discreet, and won't make your home look like a prison. Bird spikes don't have to be large or obvious, but they can be extremely efficient.
Other Options for the Birds
Another option is to encourage birds to gather elsewhere in your garden. Your awning will hold little appeal to birds when there are other options. Think about adding nesting boxes to nearby trees, and you might even want your new awning to be installed alongside a new bird feeding table, which should be placed at an ample distance from your house. This is a fantastic idea because it allows you to enjoy looking at the local birds while you're simultaneously enjoying the outdoors lifestyle under your awning.
So unless you want to spend hours diligently scrubbing bird droppings off your new awning, measures will need to be taken to protect your investment from your feathered friends, or rather what your feathered friends can leave behind.