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Do Pergolas Provide Shade? (Get To Know Their Function)

Do Pergolas Provide Shade? (Get To Know Their Function)

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Several appealing structures are available for providing shade to outdoor areas. Pergolas are one of the outdoor shading features that have always stood out in this market.

They’re available in a variety of designs as well as sizes, and they’re simple to construct. Not to mention how their minimalistic beauty can complement any setting!

All of this, and more, makes them a favorite among architects/homeowners in many outdoor applications.

However, the open design of pergolas may make you wonder, “Do pergolas provide shade?” Continue reading to find out the detailed answer to that question!

Do Pergolas Provide Shade?

Yes, pergolas offer a great deal of shade! Whether built as an extension on the side of the house or as a standalone structure, it provides protection from direct sunlight.

The wonderful thing about a pergola is that it creates shade while still letting the sun’s warm beams enter the space.

Not only that, but its design allows for perfect air circulation, so you can feel a cool breeze from all directions.

How Much Shade Does a Pergola Provide?

The answer to that specific question depends on a variety of factors.

For example, the size, design, and placement of this outdoor feature have a direct impact on how much shade it provides.

Even the amount of sunbeams that enter a pergola is influenced by the dimensions and spacing of its slats.

That said, the classic design of a pergola generally provides filtered or partial shade.

It doesn’t quite create the complete shading effect that, for instance, comes with an offset patio umbrella or a gazebo.

Do Pergolas Block the Sun?

Pergolas, as we already mentioned, don’t provide full coverage for a space.

While they do block bright sunlight, the design of their roof allows sunbeams to pass through. The greater the gap between the slats, the more the space becomes exposed to the sun.

The good news is that there’s a workaround if you want the unique flair of this feature but also value full shade. In a moment, we’ll share with you some creative pergola roof cover ideas!

How Do Pergolas Provide Shade?

To explain how pergolas work to create shade, we’ll need to take a closer look at their structure. Simply put, this outdoor feature is made up of two major units:

  • Columns
  • Grid roof

The columns also referred to as posts, serve as the pergola’s supporting structure. There are usually four columns holding up the grid roof.

A pergola roof typically consists of rafters and beams with slaters, lattices, or something similar affixed on top.

As a result, having a feature with this roofing design allows the area beneath it to benefit from a cool shade away from the sizzling sun.

What Are Some Common Uses for a Pergola?

A pergola’s beautiful aesthetic and the type of filtered shade it offers make it the perfect fit for multiple applications. We’re about to go over seven of them:

1 – Covered Walkways

Covered walkways add an unrivaled level of elegance to homes. They can be built as pathways to your front door or as connectors from your home to somewhere nearby, such as a guesthouse.

Pergolas are a popular architectural choice for creating covered walkways, and for a good reason!

You see, these outdoor features can serve as a trellis for growing vining plants. This, in return, makes walkways look magical when covered in lush leaves.

Not only that, but their shade gives the impression that you’re walking beneath trees rather than through a dull path.

2 – Comfy Outdoor Seating Area

Creating a comfortable outdoor seating area in any home is a game-changer! It becomes the ideal location for reading, working, and hanging out with friends.

A pergola can transform your patio, deck, or backyard into everyone’s favorite hangout. Their shade immediately makes the outdoor seating more enjoyable to use during the day.

Besides, they also make a super cozy place to sit at night, especially when lit up with gorgeous string lights.

3 – Hot Tub Cover

Many people prefer to keep their hot tubs away from direct sunlight. That’s where pergolas come to the rescue!

Several breathtaking hot tub pergola designs just round out the space’s relaxing ambiance.

4 – Poolside Shading

Pergolas are frequently used to provide shade for poolside seating. Aside from looking spectacular alongside your pool, their shade can be useful in a variety of scenarios.

For example, you can enjoy the slight heat and light breeze that pergolas provide while lying on your sun loungers.

They’re also great for turning any extra space around your pool into a dining area. A couple of chairs and a table under the shade of a pergola with a view of the pool will create a dreamy setting!

5 – Outdoor Garage

One of the clever uses of a pergola’s shade is to create or extend a parking space.

To clarify, if your home lacks a garage, pergolas are an excellent option for creating your own outdoor garage.

If you do have a garage but it’s quite small, you can construct a pergola to make room for more vehicles.

Leaving your car parked in bright sunlight can cause serious damage to the paint job. Not to mention that on hot summer days, the car seats become unbearably hot to sit on!

In fact, that’s why some people build pergola garages as a nice gesture for their guests.

6 – Cooling House Interior

Sometimes there’s a window in the house that gets a little too much sunlight. This window can easily overheat the space inside the house, making it a less desirable area to sit in.

This becomes more problematic if the room is frequently used, such as a living room.

Installing a pergola that’s attached to this window is one of the simple solutions that architects use to solve this issue. Its roofing grid greatly reduces the amount of sunlight that enters the house.

7 – Shielding Outdoor Kitchens/Bars

A pergola is an effective way to shield outdoor kitchen appliances and bars from direct sunlight.

Since almost everyone enjoys barbecues, but not everyone enjoys eating or sitting in glaring sunlight, the nearby space will require some shade.

That’s why the same pergola could be extended to cover an outdoor dining area, though typically a separate one is built for that purpose.

What Should I Put on the Pergola’s Roof for Shade?

Although many people appreciate the partial shade of a pergola, some would prefer it if it provided a little more.

Besides, it’s only natural to shield the space beneath this structure from as much direct sunlight as possible during sweltering summer months.

Fortunately, there are countless things you can add to the top of your pergola to increase its shade level; take a look:

1 – Outdoor Fabric

Covering a pergola’s roof with outdoor fabric will provide superior sunlight screening. Just make sure to use a durable fabric for this mission, like canvas and vinyl.

You can fix one large piece of outdoor fabric on top of the pergola, and that should do the trick.

That said, you can create a more fancy look by weaving fabric strips through the rafters. This style is actually quite simple to achieve and makes for a fun DIY project!

2 – Lattice Panels

Lattice panels are a fantastic choice for minimizing, not completely eliminating, exposure to sunlight.

They have a lovely perforated design that allows sunbeams to pass through while significantly reducing their intensity.

The size of a panel’s perforation determines how much sunlight it lets in. Therefore, be sure to choose one with a design that includes narrow openings.

3 – Reeds/Branches

Reeds or thin tree branches, like lattice panels, won’t totally block the sun’s rays. Some people may prefer them over lattice panels for the distinct natural element they add to pergolas.

Relaxing under a pergola with reeds or branches on top creates the tropical shade that we all crave! What’s more, both items are easily accessible and reasonably priced.

4 – Retractable Canopy

Installing a retractable canopy on your pergola is an incredibly versatile solution.

The majority of them are made of sturdy, waterproof materials. This means they can provide shade from glaring sunlight in the summer and protection from rain and snow in the winter.

On top of that, motorized retractable canopies allow you to control the shade level in the space with the touch of a button.

You see, you can use a remote control to glide the canopy open, partially close it, or fully close it based on your preferences.

On a related note, retractable canopies that can be controlled manually using a rope pulley system can be less expensive than motorized ones.

5 – Vining Plants

Start growing some vining plants on your pergola if you want it to look as though it were taken straight out of a fairy tale movie!

The dense foliage that covers its structure creates a one-of-a-kind tranquil atmosphere. Besides, the shade these plants provide, makes you feel as if you’re in the middle of a lush forest.

Here are some lovely vining plants to consider:

  • Honeysuckle
  • Grape Vine
  • Wisteria
  • Ivy
  • Morning Glory

Final Thoughts

To summarize, do pergolas provide shade? Yes, but they don’t completely block out the sun.

If you’ve been thinking about getting a pergola but prefer fully shaded structures, you now know that increasing the shading level of pergolas is quite simple.

The best part is that most of the available roof covering options for a pergola end up giving it an upscale aesthetic!

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