How to Shade a Pergola

How to Shade a Pergola

Pergolas are often the centrepiece of our deck or patio and provide us with a secure area in which we can relax. To get the most out of your pergola and your outdoor space, shade is an important consideration and thanks to the simple nature of a pergola frame is one of the easier setups to shade. In this guide, we’ll discuss the various options you have to shade a pergola including pergola shade panels and Roman shades and some important factors you should consider before choosing which shade product is right for you.






  • Construction Status
    • Complete
    • Incomplete
  • Important Considerations
    • Anchor Points & Hardware
    • Top of the Pergola
    • Sides of the Pergola
    • Multiple Sections
  • Suggested Products
    • Roman Shades
    • Pergola Shade Panels
    • Tensioned Shade Sails
    • Privacy Panels

Construction Status


As with the vast majority of scenarios, considering your shade at the same time as planning the construction of your space is the optimum scenario. This allows for the greatest amount of flexibility in design, however, this tends to be much less important with a pergola than it is with a deck or patio. The rectangular shape of a pergola is very easy to shade especially when combined with custom-sized products. It is much more common to build the pergola to fit your outdoor space and then purchase a custom-sized product to fit that pergola than it is to fit the pergola to your shade product. The only likely scenario where you would build the pergola frame to fit the shade product is if you were purchasing a heavily discounted item from our clearance stock.


It is much more common to shade a completed pergola. In addition to the standard sizes available, which cover a wide range of pergola frames, we offer custom-sized versions of all of the recommended products you will see below. We have detailed online ordering forms for our custom products ensuring that each shade product fits your pergola to perfection. Pergola frames are easy to measure and we offer options to shade both the top and sides of your frame.





Important Considerations

Most pergola frames are fairly similar; they’re made out of wood, rectangular in shape and are usually constructed with some kind of bracket system. Regardless of its construction, there are a couple of important considerations to bear in mind as you’re thinking about how to shade your pergola.


Anchor Points & Hardware

Anchor points are secure positions to which you attach your shade product. In terms of a pergola frame, these are usually created in one of two ways. Screw eyes and through bolts are installed into the pergola frame and leave a welded eye to which you attach. Brackets sit on top of the pergola frame (although they are fixed with smaller screws) and also leave a welded eye to attach to. Screw eyes and through bolts are more appropriate if you want to create an anchor point in the middle of a beam, whereas brackets are more appropriate for inside or outside corners in addition to the edge of a beam. Roman Shades are the only product that includes anchor point hardware, for all other products, this will need to be purchased separately.



Top of the Pergola

The top of your pergola can be shaded in multiple ways. The most important thing to consider here is whether you want to be able to extend and retract the shade as you please. If the answer to this question is yes, a Roman Shade will be your best bet. If this isn’t important, a shade sail might be more appropriate or a pergola panel. All of these options will be covered in more detail below.




Sides of the Pergola

The sides of your pergola can also be covered to provide additional shade and privacy. It is also possible to extend and retract the shade on this axis so asking yourself if this is important will determine which shade product will be the most appropriate. If you would like this flexibility, a privacy panel is the best option; you can use one of our mounting kits to run two wires between your pergola posts, which allow the privacy panel to be extended or retracted as you please. If this is not important, you may find a pergola panel to be a more simple, elegant option.




Multiple Sections

One of the nicest features of a pergola frame is its extendability. Usually, a pergola frame with multiple sections is shaded on a section by section basis, however, it’s worth bearing in mind that you can use a single shade sail mounted on the top of the pergola frame to shade multiple sections from above. This isn’t possible on the sides of the pergola.





Suggested Products

Roman Shades

Roman shades are one of the most common ways to shade a pergola. They run on two wires attached to each postface and allow you to extend and retract the shade as you wish. Roman Shades are particularly popular for pergola frames covering a hut tub or areas where you might want to sunbathe. They are made in two-foot panels, which are designed to hang between each attachment to the cable creating an elegant and stylish look. Roman Shades are only appropriate for the top of your pergola. 





Tensioned Shade Sails

Shade Sails are tensioned fabric spanned between multiple anchor points. Shade sails are usually fixed in position, however, you can use our traveller system which we’ve developed to allow you to adjust the position of one or multiple corners of the shade sail, allowing you to adjust the position of the shade sail relative to the position of the sun. You can vary the anchor points of your shade sail to create a hyperbolic shape; this increases performance in inclement weather conditions and can look quite stunning, especially when combined with our dual colour fabric. Shade sails are only appropriate for the top of the pergola and, as stated above, can be spanned over multiple sections or even extended further off the pergola and attach to an existing structure or post. If you would like to see the possibilities, we offer a shade analysis and design rendering service that gives you an accurate representation of what a shade sail will look like in your space.





Pergola Shade Panels

Pergola shade panels are manufactured specifically for pergolas and, in terms of the side of your pergola, will provide the most shade. They are attached with small brackets and are easy to install and takedown with simple clips for each corner and mid-point. Pergola shade panels can be used on both the top and sides of your pergola and, as with all products, are available in a wide range of colours and can be made to almost any size. 





Privacy Panels

Privacy panels are not tensioned and have grommets throughout the perimeter. This allows the panels to be flow in a variety of ways including along a cable, allowing you to extend and retract the shade as you please. Our mounting kits allow you to mount your privacy panels in various ways and can be viewed side by side on the product page. Privacy panels are used for the sides of the pergola only. 



Check Us Out on YouTube

Our YouTube channel includes detailed installation guides, frequently asked questions, product overviews and lots more. We are always open to content ideas so please let us know if there is a topic you would like us to cover.

Check Us Out on YouTube

Our YouTube channel includes detailed installation guides, frequently asked questions, product overviews and lots more. We are always open to content ideas so please let us know if there is a topic you would like us to cover.

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