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Looking at a pergola, you probably wouldn’t think it provides much shade at all. It’s just wooden beams after all, right?

Well, even the bare structure of a pergola provides a moderate amount of shade, and you can also easily create more shade as well with the addition of vines and other plants.

You can also easily attach a cover to your pergola to protect yourself from the elements when the sun gets too much or a light drizzle is wrecking your barbeque plans (as happens so often in the UK).

However, on its own, no. A typical wooden beam pergola will not provide you with a fully shaded space.

That begs the question, why bother getting a pergola at all?

Does A Pergola Provide Shade?

Benefits Of Getting A Pergola

  • It looks great - Getting a pergola installed in your garden is a great way to create a purpose-built space for lounging in the sun during the summer or a place to easily decorate with fairy lights and a fire pit during the colder months.

  • They’re cost-effective - Getting a pergola and styling some outdoor furniture is always going to be a cheaper option than building a conservatory or another room in the home.

  • It’s a great way to maximise your outdoor space and create another area to relax in.

  • They’re easy to customise - If shade is your top priority, it’s easy to customise a pergola to accommodate! Think weather-proof muslins, growing vines, and flowers, or hanging lights to create that extra bit of shade.

  • Defining space - Pergolas are a great way to utilise your garden, especially if the kids are a little older now and that once sought-after football grass is now looking a little worse off.

  • Pergolas can be a good way to add an additional space to your garden without making it feel cramped or confined. As there are no solid structures like a conservatory, it also doesn’t shut off the rest of the garden either.

  • Plants love them - If you’ve always wanted some gorgeous creepers, having a pergola is a great way to give them a solid support structure to cling on to.

  • Especially if you have an old house that you'd rather not wreck with climbers that can pull out essential mortar, you can train your plants to cling to your pergola instead!

  • Low maintenance - Pergolas are really durable, and low maintenance. As long as you invest in a pergola that has a good-quality finish, there’s no reason why your pergola should last for many years.

  • All in all, pergolas are a perfect way to show off another area of style and comfort outside of the house.

How Much Shade Does A Pergola Provide?

Whilst there are many different styles of pergola available, the traditional design is made from multiple wooden beams attached to four corner posts. On average, just a beamed pergola will provide around 20 -30 % shade to your area.

This can be all you need to escape a little of the sun’s rays. The dappled light that a pergola provides is great for chilling out in the garden and doesn’t cover you completely, meaning you can still bask in the warm glow of the sunshine.

In the UK, we love to embrace the hot weather whenever we get the chance, and a pergola is a great way to enjoy it without being overwhelmed by the direct sunlight.

The really great thing about pergolas is that you can easily customise the amount of shade that they provide.

Perfect if you want to keep kids out of the sun whilst enjoying the outdoors, or you want a little added protection from the elements when the British barbeque season takes a turn for the worst.

How To Add More Shade To A Pergola

How To Add More Shade To A Pergola

There are so many ways to maximise your pergola and create a homely, shaded area to hang out in. Let’s take a look at some of the more popular ones.


Growing creepers and plants up the four posts of your pergola is a great way to incorporate a bit more shade into your space. Great ones to go for include ivy, wisteria, star jasmine, grapevines, or even roses.

The downside of growing plants is that they require the most upkeep. For example, you’ll want to make sure that ivy doesn’t grow onto the house as it can really mess up your brickwork.

Plants like wisteria and grapevines can also get incredibly heavy and affect the stability of your pergola, so they'll need to be trimmed every year or so as well.

The other obvious downside of plants is that you have to wait for them to grow in order to get the shade you want from them, but they are also the best way of getting natural dappled light that doesn’t completely block out the sun.

Fake Plants

For an instant fix that doesn’t require any waiting or much maintenance, fake vines, and plastic leaves can be a great option for creating that same dappled shade without all of the waiting around.

We think it’s worth investing in good quality fake plants if you do choose to go this route, however, as some of the cheaper options can look a bit plasticky.

With that being said, you’d be surprised how many great-looking fake vines you can find on the market!

Latices Or Reed

For a natural look that provides you with a bigger level of shade, why not try adding some garden lattices or reeds to your roof? You can pick up good-looking ones from the garden centres and home improvement stores pretty easily.

The great thing about these is that you can install them with a staple or nail gun, and remove them when you fancy a change without too much faff.

Final Thoughts

Whilst there are many ways you can upgrade your pergola if you fancy a bit more shade, a traditional wooden beamed pergola looks fantastic just as it is, and will still provide you some respite from the hot summer sun.



Does A Pergola Provide Shade?

8 Jul 2022
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