A pergola typically has open slats for a roof, which allows some light in while providing minimal shade. Although this can be pleasant in the right location and the right climate, the open roof design may not provide quite enough shade in areas with lots of sun and heat. Fortunately, there are several solutions that help add more shade to the traditional pergola design.
1. Fixed Roof
Although a traditional pergola has slat roofs, you can choose to have a fixed roof installed so that there is always plenty of shade beneath the pergola. If you prefer to maintain the traditional look of the pergola, simply install a fixed roof over a traditional slat design. This way the slats are visible beneath the complementing roof cover. One benefit of a fixed roof is that it can provide both shade and protection from the rain.
2. Adjustable Slats
Adjustable slats provide the best of both worlds — shade on demand along with a traditional style. The slats rotate from a vertical orientation, which allows in some light, to a horizontal orientation that provides a solid roof. They are operated by an automatic system. Adjustable slat models can be more expensive than other shade options, but the convenience and styling are well worth it.
3. Shade Sails
A shade sail is a length of fabric that stretches between the support posts of the pergola. Depending on the design of the sail, it may be installed under the pergola rafters or above them. Most shade sails must be put up manually by attaching them to hooks installed on the pergola frame, so they are typically left in place for the season. There are some varieties available that are on rails so you can simply pull them into place when you need extra shade.
4. Retractable Awnings
A retractable awning is usually installed on top of the pergola roof. With a push of a button, the fabric awning rolls out over the top of the pergola and provides plenty of shade and some protection from light moisture. There are full awning options that shade the entire structure along with partial awnings that only cover a section of the pergola.
5. Natural Screens
A natural screen consists of plants that are trained to grow over the top of a traditional pergola. Any climbing plant that tolerates plenty of sunlight works well. Roses, grapes, and vines are often used for this option.
Contact a pergola dealer in your area to learn more about the options available for a shady pergola.