Pergola: Add a Fabric Cover for Extra Protection

A pergola is a great way to add a little shade and a sense of privacy to your patio.

Fabric cover for a pergola

A pergola is a great way to add a little shade and a sense of privacy to your patio. But the open latticework doesn’t provide complete shade or any protection from rain. If you’re planning to build a pergola, or want more shade or rain protection than your current pergola provides, consider adding a fabric cover.

There are several choices of fabric for covering a pergola. The best way to get a sense of what’s available is to search online for “pergola fabric cover.” One online source for fabric is If you’re handy with a sewing machine, you may be able to sew a cover yourself. Otherwise check online. You can order custom-made covers from places like

Of course, you can’t just throw a piece of cloth over the pergola. You need a way to secure it, and if you live in a snowy climate, a way to easily remove it for the winter. One obvious method is to put grommets around the perimeter and tie the cover on with cord or rope. The awning in this photo, which is from the March ’03 issue of The Family Handyman, is easily removable. We sewed a full-length pocket along two edges of the fabric, slid ½-in. metal conduit into the pockets, and held the cover on with the hook-and-loop straps sewn to the awning. The cover is easy to install and remove and rolls up for storage.

— Jeff Gorton, Associate Editor

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