5 Best Tips for Getting Optimal Shade From a Pergola: Direction Matters

Are you looking to get optimal shade from a pergola? A great starting point is to consider the location and direction of your pergola. By doing so, you can discover the most effective techniques to create the ideal amount of shade for your needs.

A pergola is a beautiful addition that can add grace and elegance to any backyard space. Its most important function is providing shade during hot summer afternoons.

A pergola is an open-air structure that provides excellent coverage from the sun when placed correctly, making it the perfect choice for those who want to enjoy the outdoors without being exposed to direct sunlight.

Which placement would provide the best shade and protection from the sun for a pergola?

It’s a simple question with a simple answer, yet getting it right makes all of the difference in the world.

If you are looking for a way to cool down your backyard, a pergola can be the ideal solution.

However, it could also be a structure that provides no relief and leaves your guests feeling hot and uncomfortable.

The key to getting the most shade from your pergola lies in how you set it up.

Here are some tips to help you achieve optimal shade.

Backyard walkout deck getting optimal shade from a pergola.

Optimal Shade from a Pergola: What Direction Should it Face?

When setting up your pergola, there are two key decisions to make: its placement and the direction it will face.

To ensure you get the right amount of shade from your pergola, it’s important to determine the direction of the rafters.

Start by finding the true north and aligning your rafters in a north/south direction. This will help you achieve optimal shade throughout the day.

Related Article: Maximizing Pergola Shade Coverage: Tips and Tricks for Optimal Comfort

Why place them so that they face the north/south? It’s all based on the direction of the sun.

Because the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, placing your rafters perpendicular to that will get you the longest shadows.

If your rafters run parallel to the sun’s path, there will be a significant period of time during the day when they will not provide shade.

As a result, a pergola may not offer the most effective shade solution in this scenario.

With the north/south orientation, you get longer, fuller shadows and protection.

When setting up your pergola, it’s crucial to choose the right location.

Although relocating it within your backyard won’t affect its angle in relation to the sun, selecting a different spot could provide more natural shade and improve the amount of coverage your pergola offers.

You could benefit from the optimal shade from a pergola to cover other areas of your outdoor space, such as your patio or seating area.

The idea behind pergolas is to maximize usage with minimal materials.

Use Natural Shade to Your Advantage

As I previously mentioned, relocating your pergola within your yard will not alter the shadows cast by the rafters.

However, it may offer some natural protection if your yard has sufficient tree coverage. In such cases, you can make use of the trees in your yard.

Trees are a fantastic way to enhance the optimal shade from a pergola.

Having natural shade can be very useful for protecting yourself from the sun. Pergolas are open-air structures that usually don’t have walls and so there will always be sunny spots.

However, locating your pergola near things like trees or bushes that provide natural coverage will add much-needed relief from the sun in the height of summer.

As a bonus, the rafters will protect you from leaves and branches from getting into your space.

Covering Your Windows

Another benefit of placement could be the optimal shade from a pergola to cover parts of your house.

This won’t compromise your outdoor space and could keep a room inside from getting overheated due to being exposed to the sun.

Proper placement can “kill two birds with one stone” as the rafters could prevent a window from getting sun at an inopportune time.

This will all depend on the orientation of your yard and the window at specific points in the day, but if you’re lucky and that works out, cover that window!

You might need to consider the opposite perspective: will the pergola make a room too dark?

The positioning may obstruct natural light from entering a room, which could be detrimental to plants that require direct sunlight or a space that needs to be brightened up with natural light.

The placement of your pergola in your backyard could impact the sun that gets to that room.

Before deciding on the direction of your pergola, it’s important to take several factors into consideration.

The placement of the structure can either provide much-needed shade or cause unwanted issues.

Finding the Right Pergola for Your Space

Pergolas come in many different shapes, sizes, and materials. It’s essential to choose the right combination for your space.

Some styles might fit spaces better, whereas others might provide better coverage.

Do you want to add any features to your pergola? Such as lattice fencing or an awning? Also, how much shade do you want it to provide?

When it comes to adding a pergola to your yard, selecting the right type is crucial. It’s as significant as determining the location and direction it faces.

Your decision should be based on the available space you have and your position in relation to the sun.

Deciding how to orient your pergola and what features to include will be a sure thing when it comes to sun protection and shading your space.

Vinyl structure in backyard giving optimal shade from a pergola.

The Best Space for Your Pergola

When selecting the location for your pergola in your yard, it’s crucial to consider the size requirements.

Most pergolas have rafters that extend beyond the edge of your designated area.

These can be anywhere from 18-20 inches further than the box you’re trying to cover.

When planning the placement of your pergola, it’s important to consider every inch to avoid any issues during construction.

The ideal position will provide the best shade coverage from the pergola.

A standard pergola consists of thick rafters that should be evenly spaced.

If the rafters are placed too closely together, the pergola loses its purpose of providing a shaded outdoor area.

Typically, pergola rafters are spaced about 18-inches apart from one another. This allows the sun to get through, but not too much during pivotal parts of the day.

Final Thoughts

It’s important to keep your rafters facing the right direction for optimal shade from a pergola.

For the best backyard entertainment, it’s recommended to orient your area in a north/south direction.

This will provide shade and a comfortable atmosphere.

Don’t let the sun ruin your day; find the perfect direction for the optimal shade from a pergola, before you install it! You will be glad you took this extra time!

Enjoy living the outdoor life!