How to Create Additional Shade in Your Garden With a Pergola


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Not all pergolas are explicitly designed to block sunlight or provide refuge from the rain. Depending on its design and features, a pergola’s structural framing won’t always supply much in the way of constant shade, which we often crave when the sun is low and in our eyes, or when it’s at its highest point during the summer and we need some reprieve from the heat. 


However, there are ways you can use a pergola to provide some additional shelter from direct sunlight. While summer might seem like an eternity away, it’s not unusual to experience gorgeous sunlight on winter days. What’s more, given the unusual changes in temperature and humidity over the last month, you may find yourself craving some fresh air outdoors sooner than you expect. This guide is here to provide some ideas and inspiration for you to create more shade with your pergola if you need it.


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Contemporary aluminium-framed, louvered or roof-retractable pergolas come in some truly stunning designs to add style and sophistication to your outdoor space. Pergolas create some much-needed extra living spaces in our homes, providing the perfect blend of outside and inside living. One of the many benefits of a pergola is how you can customise many features of these eye-catching havens, including ‌flooring, accessories and finishing touches. 

However, it’s important to consider the placement of a pergola closely, because if you don’t, it may not provide sufficient shade when you need it. You should look carefully at how you can maximise the use of your pergola to ensure you have enough shade, ideally from the mid-afternoon or evening sun if your garden is south-facing, and vice versa. Shade is vital to making sure you get the most out of your garden pergola, as well as its aesthetic appeal. 

Below are some unique and intuitive ideas on how to style your pergola to provide an ideal amount of shade at any time of the year. 


Many pergolas can provide spaces for outdoor kitchens, dining spaces or entertainment areas. These spaces often come with fixed roofs, made from high-quality-material like timber or metal, coming as solid roof covers, or with unique designs involving a series of interwoven beams and columns.

Many people love the classic pergola design as it can provide enough shade for them at the right times of the day.

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Adding greenery and plants and interspersing them throughout the walls and roof of your canopy can make a beautiful, cool and sweet-scented area to enjoy, especially during the spring and summer months.

If, for example, you want your pergola to be structurally attached to your house, you can use flowering vines and natural foliage to blend them together more seamlessly. The vines themselves will provide plenty of shade before you know it.


Roman-style canopies can be amazing additions to open-top pergolas or their sides. Fabric or canvas pergola canopies can usually be purchased pre-sewn and made to your specific sizes, and the canopies themselves can easily clip onto a pergola frame.

These light materials can complement modern or rustic pergola designs, offering plenty of natural light but a reprieve from sunlight. 


For a space suited for all seasons, contemporary louvered roof systems offer enhanced shade and shelter whatever the weather. The simple winding mechanism vs motorised options is ideal for damper climates, the rust-resistant aluminium frames are robust and weatherproof by nature with innovative guttering channels that carry rainwater seamlessly away through an internal drainage system. The roof blinds manually adjust to let in the desired amount of sunlight with a simple twist of a handle, at Suns Lifestyle we don’t think you can achieve a more seamless finish. 

A louvered pergola can be used on the back of the house to provide shade to south facing properties that struggle with heat on their south facing rooms, especially with bi-folding doors. Central legs can be removed on the house side to accommodate bi-folds and external doors and windows. Choose a taller model that is designed with this in mind. If you have a larger run of glass at the rear of your property then a bespoke size could work best here.

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One of the many advantages of owning a pergola with a retractable roof is how versatile it can be for you. Sometimes you can use it to shield yourself from direct sunlight; sometimes you can let the sun in, or you can achieve the best of both by retracting the roof halfway across.

These contemporary pergolas offer optimum protection with a clean aesthetic appearance, adding value to any type of modern home and outside space.


Shade around the sides of your pergolas can be crucial for spending more hours outside enjoying the warmth and fresh air of the summer. To provide additional shade to your pergola roof, you could potentially attach sheer weighted curtains to the frame of your pergola and draw them when you want additional sunlight, and close them so the sun doesn’t intrude too far.

You can, of course, choose curtains or fabrics in a wide range of finishes and patterns to suit your space and change them around more easily than changing the location of your pergola.


Deluxe side panels can provide additional weatherproofing and sun protection too. These can be made from UV-resistant textiles or come in vented slates, and are fully removable or retractable, with the added benefit that they can be added to your pergola after it has been installed. So if you are not sure, you can add them at a later date.

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You can also install retractable or UV-protective screens made from contract fabrics and yarns that are durable and highly resistant to wear and tear. These side cassettes also provide some additional weather resistance, as well as create an added sense of privacy and contemporary beauty to, for example, a Maranza Deluxe Pergola or Rota Louvered Pergola.

You may also find that your outside space or garden can be thematically separated. For example, you may have a dedicated dining area with roof protection and a separate lounge area with comfortable sofas, lounge chairs or even an outdoor fireplace. Your pergola side panels or screens can also be used as suitable partition to separate your desired functions. You could perhaps add this in the form of trellises too. Depending on the size of your pergola(s), this partitioning could also provide additional shade and protection.


Getting the most out of your pergola and its sun protection is to think about its location. If shade is of concern to you, consider where you can maximise the amount of shade you can get with your pergola installation. Balance that requirement with whatever you intend to use your pergola for, be it a dining space, outdoor living area, or even an outdoor kitchen. From then, you can start to visualise the size, materials and design ideas.

It’s clear to see how versatile pergolas can be, both in terms of their design and use. It’s not uncommon to see pergolas used year-round, with many homeowners’ outside spaces turned into stunning and functional areas to relax, dine and entertain in.

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Your pergola should always suit you and your lifestyle. There are numerous ways you can create one that provides you with the perfect long-term investment, in turn, adding value to your home and reflecting your personal interests (and the sunlight).

If you’re looking for more inspiration or would like expert advice, why not book your showroom appointment or video call with our team or to browse our full range download the Suns Lifestyle brochure or request a copy to be sent to you via post?