11 Creative Ways to Add Shade to Your Pergolas

Pergolas have been used for centuries. Pergolas were used originally to train vines over the top to create a canopy.

Pergolas are sometimes left open today to define an area. You can add covers, canopies or other types to provide shade.

Pergola tops are available in many styles, both permanent and temporary. They can add style, function, and interest to your outdoor design. Check out these 11 ideas for pergola sun shades if you want to add shade.

1. Fixed Pergola Roof

Pergolas can be used to frame outdoor areas such as lounges, kitchens and entertainment areas. Fixed roof pergolas provide the protection these spaces require. An open-topped pergola is not enough. The fixed canopy is made of polycarbonate. These panels are UV-resistant and provide shade, protection from snow and rain. Find out more about Polycarbonate shade panels

2. Tension Fabric

Simple pergolas require a simple option for shade. The pergolas feature a canvas canopy to provide shade and protection against a sudden rain shower. These pergolas are light and can be used to complement modern or contemporary structures with clean lines, but no lattice. Tensioned Canopies: Learn more.

3. Motorized Retractable Canopy

Sometimes you need shade, sometimes you don’t. Retractable canopies are a great option. You can roll them out to provide total protection against the rain and sun, or retract them to allow the sun to shine through. You want just a little bit of shade? Stop halfway across the canopy. These canopies are perfect for modern, contemporary pergolas. They offer shade and protection with very clean and simple lines. 

4. Modern Oversized Design

You can create a unique structure by building a pergola that has a canopy. This modern pergola has a retractable canopy that extends beyond the legs on either side. The pergola will look more attractive and interesting. The retractable canopy allows you to adjust the shade and offers additional protection at either end.

5. Classic Canopy

Tension canopies are a wonderful addition to pergolas with a classical style. This pergola features columns and beams with decorative ends that fit a more classic setting. The fixed canvas matches the style and color of the canopy but provides much-needed shade. Open sections of the canopy allow more air to circulate, which helps keep things cool.

6. Retractable Fabric Lengths

This classic pergola top can be manually adjusted to provide the right amount of sun or shade. The fabric can be customized by changing the color and pattern, as well as its placement.

7. Fabric Walls

You can also create an adjustable “wall” of fabric by creating a canopy top. It is best to place the pergola so that the sun can angle under the canopy. You can now have privacy, additional shade, and an adjustable pergola. Fabric can be changed and adjusted to create a customized look. 

8. Roof Extension

A pergola attached to a house’s entrance or over a patio is a popular choice. A fixed canopy can be placed over a pergola to create a uniform look that matches the rest of your home and provide protection from the sun and elements. The pergola can be used more often, even if it rains, by using fixed panels.

9. Retractable Awning Style

You can use a retractable canopy if your pergola is attached on the side of a structure. You can either extend it over your pergola to provide shade when needed or retract it back against the building so that sunlight can enter the area. The traditional pergola top can be used in either setting, giving the area more flexibility.

10. Roof Multi-functional

A fixed canopy is a great option if you want to build a pergola as a cover for a kitchen or entertainment area. The pergola has been wired with electricity, which allows ceiling fans and lights to be mounted on the frame. The polycarbonate panels at the top protect the sensitive equipment from UV rays, rain and hail.

11. Subtle Style

You may want some shade or protection from the weather, but not draw attention to the fact that you have it. Installing fixed panels over a pergola’s top can help complete the design. They are not noticeable from below and don’t take away from the beauty of the pergola. However, they provide unparalleled protection against the sun and the elements.

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