Adding a pergola to an outdoor living space increases appeal and enjoyment — and helps you make the best use of all available space. These outdoor living features are sought after by homeowners, designers, architects and industry professionals to take landscaping to a new level.
It’s easy to see why: Pergolas are aesthetically pleasing, a great way to delineate gathering places and increase property value. But do they provide as much shade as property owners want?
The short answer is yes, they can, but it depends on what pergola you choose. There are many pergola shade ideas and options, but not all provide the coverage that is needed. Keep reading to learn about the options best for you and/or your client to help get the most out of your pergola.
Traditional Shade Types – Pergola Shade Ideas
Traditionally, pergolas have been made of wood with the addition of extra shade coverings on the roof. However, wood has a tendency to rot and split, which ultimately takes away from the usability of the pergola and increases frustration.
Plus, most traditional shade types added to wood pergolas only offer between 20% to 30% shade protection.
The types of coverings are varied, but not all of them provide superior sun protection. We’ve listed some of these shade types commonly seen below, along with the pros and cons to each.
Reeds, Leaves and Foliage
While using natural wood is an attractive choice, it’s not entirely practical for multiple reasons, the first of which being that wood doesn’t always weather well.
Using reeds or leaves on top as a pergola sun shade idea runs the risk of having continual upkeep or replacement being needed far more frequently than desired. Not only that, but these pergola roof coverings generally can’t withstand high winds or the effects of sun damage. This can leave gaps in the roof, allowing sunlight to penetrate — and that negates the purpose of a shaded pergola!
Using natural foliage (such as nearby trees and tall shrubbery) is also a common pergola shade idea and can be quite beautiful. But again, the shade isn’t always reliable. Waiting for the foliage to come into full bloom isn’t exactly practical, and there is always the risk that plants will die, leaving gaps in the shaded area.
Using lattice for a pergola roof is a popular option that can be both useful and aesthetically pleasing. There’s a lot that can be done with lattice and it can be used as anchors for hanging plants or lighting.
The problem with lattice is that it offers very little shade, which is a result of the design. The design of lattice is naturally perforated, meaning that sunlight can filter through quite easily, resulting in more sunlight than you may want. Plus, latticework for pergolas is usually made from wood, so it’ll need upkeep such as power washing and restaining every year at the least (or every few months in areas with more severe weather).
Fabric and Curtains
The use of fabric and curtains has become more popular in recent years as it gives a pleasing, Caribbean feel to a pergola design. And while fabric offers some shade, it can be extremely susceptible to weathering, ripping and other damaging effects.
Having to replace fabric coverings is a common occurrence with these types of pergolas, and it can be a frustrating and costly process. Even when you are using curtains or a shade cloth, light can still filter through, meaning increased temperature under the pergola.
Benefits of Vinyl
Where other pergola styles offer an average of 25% shade, vinyl pergolas like Heartland’s can offer up to 90% shade depending on what shade angle is used. Not only that, because Heartland’s vinyl pergolas are made with durable aluminum frames, they are resistant to almost all weather conditions (including hurricanes!) and won’t rust or rip. And unlike other shade choices, the level of shade desired is entirely a matter of choice.
Unique Engineering and Customization
A uniquely engineered pergola can offer superior durability and shade quality, while still offering both traditional and modern options. The shade options are dependent on the roof angle desired, from 6” width at 50% shade to 4” width at 75% shade to 3” width at 90% shade.
Because the roof slats are angled, they still allow for soft light to penetrate so you aren’t in total darkness, while also ensuring comfortable and safe shade from harsh rays. There are a multitude of great design ideas that offer maximum shade and functionality.
Having the option of customized design can make the functionality of a pergola that much better. Pergolas, and indeed users of pergolas, are not one-size-fits-all. Having a choice of shade is important as landscaping may offer more shade or less, depending on the property.
Additional features like eyebrow pergolas increase both shade and comfort and can be placed on the side of a home or building for extended shade coverage.
Customization doesn’t stop with the pergola design. Knowing where to place the pergola is integral to shade quality. As the roof slats only angle in one direction, ensuring they are placed in the proper direction in order to shade from the harshest sun is important.
That’s where professional assistance comes in handy. Heartland’s customer service design team can help you design the best pergola AND ensure it’s placed in the right spot.
Get Started Today
Ready to get started? Great! We offer personalized customer service so check out our prices and features, order a free sample or get in touch with us today, and you’ll be enjoying your new shaded pergola before you know it.