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 outdoorfabrics.com. 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 thenaturalhome.com.
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
Here are some more ideas for patio shade.
How to Shade Your Deck Or Patio
This pergola design uses composite columns for a classic look.
How to Build a Pergola
Here are plans for a pergola-covered deck.
Dream Deck Plans
Want permanent protection? Build a roof over your patio.
How to Build an Outdoor Living Room