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Pergolas for Shade: 4 ways to Add Shade to Your Vinyl Pergola This Summer

pergolas for shade

You’ve always loved the look of backyard pergolas with their regal design and slatted roofing. But you’ve wondered, do pergolas provide shade?

As professional fence and pergola installers for over a decade, we know that the number one question surrounding curious homeowners is whether they can rely on pergolas for shade given their unique structure.

In today’s blog, we’ll answer pressing questions like:

  1. 1. Do pergolas provide shade?
  2. 2. How much shade do pergolas provide?
  3. 3. What are some tips to increase the shade under a pergola?

Plus, we’ll explore 4 genius ways to use your pergola for shade, as well as where to find the most reliable pergolas and accessories online! Keep reading to learn more about how much shade pergolas provide – or contact Smucker Fencing for a free estimate now!

Do Pergolas Provide Shade?

do pergolas provide shade

So, do pergolas provide shade?

In short, YES – naturally, pergolas are shade structures that offer partial protection from the sun’s rays due to their slatted roof; however, the right accessories and add-ons can turn an ordinary pergola into one that creates a totally shaded space!

How much shade do pergolas provide exactly? As a decorative and practical outdoor structure, pergolas are not designed to completely block the sun but to grant relief from its direct rays. This open concept also allows for beautiful breezes to freely move through the space making a pergola shade structure one that is all-encompassing of the gorgeous weather.

While the signature slatted roofing of a pergola provides some protection from overhead sunlight, it does not offer as much protection as a covered porch, pavilion, or gazebo. If you’d like to use your pergola for shade in a more full-coverage way, check out the featured accessories below!

Trusted Pergola Shade Structure Ideas

Now that you’re aware of how much shade pergolas do provide, it’s time to talk about ways to increase that coverage (if a fully shaded space is something you want to achieve).

If you love the open feel of a pergola, but aren’t sure how much shade you’ll get, you’ll be happy to know there are several ways to maximize your pergola for shade. Check out these trusted tips and tricks for your pergola shade structure!

1. Choose the Right Location

pergola under a tree

While pergolas do provide a decent amount of shade on their own, you can maximize that shade by placing your pergola in a location that already has some shade benefits like beside a tall tree or attached to your tall house!

If you’re not sure where to place your pergola for shade, simply pay attention to where the sun is brightest in the day at different times of year and plan your site accordingly. Or, you can always contact our vinyl pergola installers to find the best option for you!

2. Add Plants / Vines

pergola with flowers

If you love to garden, you can indulge your favorite hobby and add more shade to your pergola at the same time.

Adding plants and vines to the roof of your pergola can create natural pergola shade that enhances the look of your pergola and provides optimum shade during the hottest parts of the season.

This is an especially attractive option for attached pergolas, since the beautiful plants and flowers will enhance the view from upstairs windows as well.

While this isn’t an instant way to create a pergola for shade, flowering vines or other climbing plants can be established in a year or two, providing ongoing shade and beauty in the seasons to come.

3. Add Side Curtains

pergola with curtains

Another popular option to maximize your pergola for shade is adding side curtains.

While adding coverage to the roof of your pergola can provide shade when the sun is overhead, sometimes what you really need is shade on the sides of your pergola. Adding curtains to your pergola can provide privacy, as well as shade protection from the sides. Curtains give you flexible shade options for all times of day since they can be easily tied back when you don’t need them.

Creating your own curtains from the fabric of your choice also allows you to give your pergola a personal touch. You can also purchase curtains made specifically for pergolas and other outdoor structures.

4. Invest in a Shade Canopy

pergola canopy

Want to know what we recommend most often when someone asks about using pergolas for shade?

Our favorite pergola shade structure idea is investing in a retractable canopy for your new pergola. An overhead canopy provides optimum shade that can be used when needed, but moves easily out of the way to give you a view of the stars at night. You get the open-air feel you love, with the shade protection you want. Truly, the best of both worlds!

Made from water-resistant fabric, pergola canopies can also provide modest protection from light rain showers, giving you more time outdoors.

Customize Your Pergola for Shade and Get Pricing Today

We hope you enjoyed our answers to the common questions, “Do pergolas provide shade?” and “How much shade do pergolas provide?” while getting some valuable tips along the way.

Getting the right pergola for your needs is always a great place to start. You can count on Smucker Fencing for high-quality, vinyl pergolas that provide decades of maintenance-free comfort and shade.

Ready to get started on your pergola shade structure? Contact us for a quote that includes professional installation from our experts.

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