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How Does A Pergola Create Shade

Types Of Pergola Designs

How to Build a Pergola Attached to Your House | Mitre 10 Easy As DIY

While there are several different types of pergola designs, each one adheres to a primary form and function that separate the pergola from an arbor, a gazebo, and other backyard structures.

One of the most common mix-ups in backyard architecture is the pergola vs. arbor. A pergola is designed to serve a wide range of different purposes, whereas an arbor is primarily used to accentuate an entrance or pathway, and is quite small in comparison.

Generally, a pergola is a wide-open structure with four support beams, no walls, and a decorative roof design, such as a lattice. For shade or even a touch of shelter from the elements, screens can be added to the roof or walls, although the primary purpose of a pergola is not to shelter its users.

Below, weve provided you with a quick list of different types of pergola designs that you can choose from as you plan your backyard addition.

What Is A Pergola

A pergola is composed of four vertical posts and an open-styled rafter ceiling that provides an outdoor sitting space with protection from the sun. Pergolas can be , with string lights, fabric, or a ceiling fan for added airflow.

There are so many benefits to having a pergola in your backyard or outdoor patio space.

Combine Home Office And Covered Pergola In One Sleek Design

Chill out on your lunch break beneath a stylish pergola this one is from Garden House Design

Tempted to introduce garden office ideas into your scheme after months of home working? You could integrate a pergola into your design for a covered patio what better place to take those regular coffee breaks and get some fresh air?

We like this sleek design, which turns the covered space into a room of its own complete with lighting, sofa and even a coffee table.

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Try Topping Your Fences With A Mini Pergola

Pergola ideas aren’t just for sheltering seating we love this fence design by Jacksons Fencing

Want to try something a bit different for your pergola ideas? Try adding a miniature version to your fence. It will add height, structural definition, and a boost of shade to its immediate surroundings.

Combined with a trellis, it’s also the perfect support for climbing plants, which will soften the look and create a green and leafy screen as they grow. It’s definitely one to consider if you’re thinking about updating your garden fence ideas.

How Do You Build Apergola With A Sloped Roof

Pin on Pergola Over Garage

How do you build a pergola with a sloped roof? By the help of agood set of plans.

Now, what if I told you that you could build a pergola by using your backyard and some straight sticks? You can actually create the pergola in a couple of hours with minimal tools. Why donât you try building your own?

Letâs get started on building your own pergola. First, take apiece of wood and line it up against a wall. Drill a hole in the middle of thewood. You should have about 1â³ left over, this is going to be your ridgepole or the support pole for the top of the pergola.

Now, cut a 3â³ diameter circle out of your wood and mark theedges of the ridge pole. This will help you line the wood up properly later on.Line the edges of the wood up along the mark.

Start by cutting your wood about half an inch deeper than themark, so that you can make grooves cuts through the wood and make your pergolathat much easier to build.

Make sure you donât cut all the way through, just the bareminimum amount that you need to do so you can make the grooves later.

Once you have the grooves cut, remove the ridge pole. Next, usea pocketknife to remove the wood from the grooves with no problem.

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Decorative Metal Shade Plates

Using shadows is an overlooked way to add uniqueness to your backyard! Instead of purlins, these beautiful pieces sit right on top of rafters to add more depth to your space.

These stunning plates and panels will transform your pergola and the surrounding area. Both functional and beautiful these decorative pieces provide shade and a dramatic visual effect that is sure to impress you and your guests.

Often referred to as privacy panels, these playful decorations offer enough shade to stay comfortable while still allowing the sun to shine through. Check out this metal variety used in covered pergolas.

Create shade & cast gorgeous floral shadows onto your flooring at the same time with beautiful powder coated panels with a fun print.

Leaves are a classic pattern that compliment any outdoor design and will never go out of style.

For an even more dramatic effect install panels on the sides as well as above, to create an airy but private covered pergola.

Find this selection and more at GazeboCreations. Available in Power Coated Steel, Power Coated Aluminum & Power Coated Stainless Steel.

Initially, yes, metal may be more costly, however the durability and sustainability will pay for itself in the years to come.

Metal shade plates can be installed over your existing pergola simply by screwing them to the rafters or posts. Larger size versions may require a helper.


  • Artistic look shade & pergola itself


  • Can be quite expensive

Do Pergolas Require A Lot Of Maintenance

No. In as little as one day, you will have a fully functional pergola. With Backyard Living Structures pergolas & pergola kits, they are super easy to install. You can have a kit shipped to you to install yourself or you can have a professional install it for you!

Once you have the pergola installed, the hard part is over. They require very little maintenance. A simple routine scrub down with soap and water will have your pergola looking brand new.

Aluminum-reinforced vinyl pergolas are stronger than wooden pergolas. They wont break down as easily over time, so you wont have to spend a lot of time repairing or repainting them.

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How To Add Some Shade Over Your Pergola

There’s a better option than lattice.

Q: If we want to increase the shade over our pergola, is lattice our best option?


A: Lattice works, but it does have some drawbacks. First, it will catch seeds, pods, and leaves. Second, it’s bulky and difficult to remove and store should you want more sun and less shade during cooler times of the year. If you are going to use it, go with a vinyl product and secure it with latches, even if each latch is nothing more than a block of wood with a single screw through the center. That way, you can easily take the lattice down for cleaning or removal. In northern climates, it also makes it easier to avoid snow and ice damage during the winter.

For me, though, a precut piece of sun fabric is a better alternative. You can buy it with varying degrees of sun-blocking performance. The higher its shade percentage number, the more sun it blocks. And because it’s lightweight, you can put it up in the spring or summer and take it down in the fall, hose it clean, let it air out, and roll it up for winter storage. It’s attached using a variety of clips, hooks, or a bungee ballan elastic loop with its ends joined by a plastic ball. You feed the loop through the grommet in the edge of the fabric, around the attachment point on the pergola, and back to the ball. Just pass the ball through the loop to secure the bungee.

Weather Protection With A Glass Roof

8 Fabulous Pergola Shade Ideas for Your Backyard | Backyardscape

If you live in a region that has a lot of rainy days, you may need more than the traditional pergola slats to keep your outdoor space usable. Many people opt for a glass roof over their pergola. These can be designed with the glass in place, or it can be added later.

Adding a roof gives you the freedom to enjoy your outdoor living space even on days when the weather is not cooperating. Places like the Pacific Northwest where there seem to be more rainy days than sunny will likely want a roof to keep things dry making the glass-topped pergola a sure choice.

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Select A Canopy Fabric

The best canopy fabric for your pergola will vary depending on a number of factors, including the weather in your area and your shade preference.

  • Sailcloth: Water-resistant, durable, and attractive, 100-percent acrylic or nylon ripstop sailcloth is a favorite choice for do-it-yourselfers building pergola canopies. Look for sailcloth in 6-foot widths. Sailcloth is colorfast and dries quickly.
  • Mesh privacy screen: UV-rated polypropylene mesh is often used as a privacy screen for fencing. Highly durable and available in only a few basic colors, one benefit of mesh privacy screen is that does not collect water. Privacy mesh screen offers only partial shading.
  • Muslin or linen: Muslin and linen are 100-percent organic fabrics that loosely drape for a casual, gorgeous coastal look. Use these fabrics only in dry conditions, as both readily soak up moisture and dry slowly. Muslin and linen are not durable in exterior conditions and usually are only good for one season.
  • Size The Canopy Fabric

    When fully extended, the canopy must be the size of the pergola’s area, plus at least 20-percent longer to accommodate draping. Heavier cloth such as sailcloth will sag more muslin and linen will sag less. Determine the look you wish to achieve when the canopy is extended. Tighter cloth has a trim, finished look. Cloth with deeper sags gives your pergola an airy, fanciful look. Find the area of your pergola by multiplying its length by its width.

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    What Material Is Best For A Patio Shade

    We used a sunblock shade cloth that offered UV protection.

    It is not waterproof and wont keep the rain out. We preferred this as that means it is breathable, so it doesnt get weighed down in the rain, and it allows hot air to flow up and out instead of trapping it underneath. This keeps the patio both shaded and cool.

    The material is both fade and stain resistant, and incredibly durable. It does not fray when cut and is lightweight, which made it easy to work with and install.

    Pick A Bold Color Scheme

    Beat The Heat With These Shade Structures

    Cool black and sunny yellow make a stunning duo in this scene

    A black, charcoal or deep gray adds a dramatic accent to any outdoor space, and is perfect if you’re after an industrial edge.

    If you opt for this approach, pairing it with neutral accessories is a reliable way to achieve a subtle yet sophisticated vibe. But, if you’re after something a touch more playful, try combining the inky tone with a bold yellow hue. We love the use of cozy patterned textiles in a sunshine-like color in this scene above they contrast against the black beautifully. Festoon lights and hanging baskets are a gorgeous way to complete the look.

    And if that sofa has you swooning, our garden furniture ideas feature will provide even more inspo.

    Recommended Reading: Wood Lattice Patio Covers

    How Do You Cover An Existing Pergola

    Tarp. If you need the pergola to be covered only temporarily or the other options are too cost-prohibitive another option is to cover the area with a tarp. Hook rubber tie downs or fabric straps to the corners of the tarp, and then secure the other end to a horizontal or vertical beam on the pergola.

    Create A Shaded And Sunken Space

    ‘A Place To Meet Again’ designed by Mike Long at RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival 2021

    If you’re choosing to combine climbing plants with your pergola ideas, consider opting for fragranced varieties for a real ambience boost.

    Take this lovely design as an example. It uses star jasmine plants, selected for their scented white blooms, which are entwined across a structure made from reclaimed oak and scaffolding poles. Additional planting gives the space an old-world, almost wild feel, whilst cool gray hardscaping keeps the tone contemporary. Sinking the zone from the rest of your plot is also a great way to make it feel more sheltered, and will make the boundaries more defined.

    We like the use of a garden mirror here too a great way to bounce around light and pep up a wall.

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    Pergola Turned Outdoor Kitchen

    If you practically live in your backyard for the majority of the year, you might as well cook your meals there too. An outdoor kitchen pergola can sport a simple grill and cooler set-up, or it can be a full kitchen with stove, fridge, and sink. Some people with large backyards add a pergola kitchen and dining room to maximize their outdoor living space.

    Installing an outdoor kitchen should be left to the professionals as it will require plumbing, electricity, and maybe even gas lines.

    Why Do Pergola Rafter / Batten Dimensions Matter

    How to Make a Slide-On Wire Hung Canopy (Pergola Canopy)

    These two crossbeams have the same length and width but have different heights. As you can see, when the sun is anything but directly overhead they will cast different size shadows.

    A Pergolas crossbeams can offer a significant amount of shade whilst, unlike a solid roof, still allowing the free flow of hot air to rise up.

    The crossbeams may be structural or not depending on the design. In some cases, there is only a ring frame, rafters linking the posts together at the top, and the crossbeams are only for shade/decoration.

    When you adjust the height dimensions of the crossbeams/rafters you can dramatically increase the amount of shade whilst still maintaining the same amount of free-flowing air.

    You could also add extra crossbeams/rafters to get the same amount of shade but you reduce the space where the hot air can rise.

    In most cases, there will still be plenty of airflow, but you are also reducing the amount of indirect light, as you get closer to a solid roof.

    Instead of adding more crossbeams/rafters you could add battens to make a grid/lattice. This is particularly beneficial when the pergola is to be used when the sun is directly overhead and the height dimension of the beams has less effect.

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    Corrugated Plastic & Metal Panels

    Your covered pergola is a living space just like any other part of your home, so why not get creative and think outside of the box with ideas like corrugated sheets of steel, polycarbonate or even PVC!

    Some corrugated sheets may require special hardware to install, so it’s helpful to consider this in advance. Also remember, not all clear sheets provide great protection from the sun so when choosing materials for your pergola cover, pick material that is rated for sun control. Another thing to keep in mind is maintenance, some panels may show dirt which could be difficult to clean and takeaway from your design space. But overall corrugated sheets are a great way to protect from sun and rain, and are usually very affordable, with costs as low as two dollars per square foot.

    Here’s a few examples of Solar Control Silver Polycarbonate Corrugated Roofing Panel from Home Depot .

    Corrugated Polycarbonate is considered one of the longest lasting materials for pergola roofing panels and depending on how much sunlight you want to have you can choose from clear all the way to very deep colors.

    Polycarbonate corrugated panels from Home Depot are installed using closure strips – watch this video on the installation.


    • May require to clean out debris
    • Dirt could be seen through

    Shown above are two covered pergolas with semi-clear Polycarbonate roofing panels installed over top rafters.

    Permanent pergola roofing made from corrugated steel .

    Polycarbonate covered pergola roof detail.

    Hideaway Your Hot Tub

    When relaxing in your hot tub, you probably want a modicum of privacy which can be difficult when you live in a modern neighborhood. Adding a privacy pergola around your spa can give you the privacy you crave while maintaining a lovely design in your backyard living space.

    Cedar is likely a good option for this type of pergola because it is resistant to moisture and humidity. The cedar beams wont warp or crack being near the steam rising off of your hot tub thus your pergola will last longer.

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    Retractable Canopy For The Pergola

    This canopy is another good aspect that enables pergolas to provide pleasant shade. Do you like a pergolas appearance but also need to benefit from the shade on demand? This retractable canopy can offer you just that. It is a stunning and very durable cover that allows you to enjoy the sun and shade whenever you need them interchangeably. This cover can fit onto any pergola and is remote controlled such that you can allow partial or full sunshine by using a remote. Likewise, you can retract or lengthen your shades to cater to your present needs. This canopy cover makes pergolas to be effective on how they provide their shades in a way that favors you.

    Additional Shade Or Not

    How to Make a Pergola Cover for Shade

    My preference is to eventually have some vines growing up and over the structure, and these will then drop there leaves in the winter so I can still benefit from the winter sun.

    I also do not want a large surface area that is created by adding non-structural crossbeams or battens that will make the structure more susceptible to being overloaded with snow and/or require more maintenance.

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