7 Inspiring Covered Pergola Designs

The changing weather in the UK has probably got you searching for a covered pergola which can offer respite from the heat and protect your patio furniture from downpours.

In this article, we’ll look at a range of covered pergola designs, from traditional wooden structures which would like right at home in a cottage garden, to modern marvels with all the bells and whistles.

Firstly, here’s a little about us: we’re Hampshire Shades and we hand-craft bespoke wooden pergolas with retractable waterproof shades. We use innovative waterproof, marine grade coated acrylic canvas shades and quality timber to make our products in our workshop in Swanmore, Hampshire. All our canopy pergolas come with a 5-year limited warranty and allow customers to enjoy full view of the blue sky or have complete waterproof cover. See our canopy pergolas.

1 - Covered pergolas using plants

If you plan ahead and you are green-fingered, using plants to create your covered pergola is a very effective option. You’ll need some kind of structure, such as a pergola or trellis, upon which you can grow your plants. Choose vining plants that enjoy the sun on south or west-facing pergolas that will grow to provide shade. We’ve previously suggested choosing a grape vine to create dappled garden shade and allow some sunlight to filter through a haze of green leaves, however, grapes do take some maintenance to ensure they grow how you want them to, and to prevent them from becoming too heavy and damaging your pergola!

2 – Modern wooden pergolas for versatility

Wooden covered pergolas are more customisable in terms of aesthetics and design than their metal counterparts. For example, many metal structures are only available in white, grey or black, whereas a wooden pergola can be hand painted to your chosen colour, allowing it to blend better with your garden furniture, windows, doors, fencing, or other garden structures.

Hampshire Shades has handcrafted many different styles of canopy pergolas for our customers, including attractive modern designs which really compliment an outdoor space. Check out our gallery for inspiration or read how to enhance your garden with a luxury pergola canopy

Modern pergola with retractable waterproof shade closed
Modern pergola with retractable waterproof shade open

3 – Modern metal covered pergolas

We can offer a quality aluminium frame pergola with a retractable canopy because we are an approved partner for the complete SELT range, including aluminium pergolas with rotating slats (also known as a louvred roof).

Here are two examples from the SELT range.


Veranda Shade with fabric roof

This Pergola Solid modern covered pergola design features a sloping, retractable roof made of durable polyester fabric available in several colour options. The material used in the roof does not let the light through, effectively protecting against sun and excessive heat. It is fully waterproof and resistant to the influence of UV rays. The opening and closing of the roof can be started remotely via motion operation.

If you already have a wooden veranda and you’re looking for a veranda cover, Hampshire Shades can build a bespoke retractable fabric shade to fit exactly with your existing structure, rather than you having to replace your veranda.

metal rotating blade covered pergola

SELT Pergola SB400 (with metal rotating blade roof)

The SELT Pergola SB400 is a durable structure made from extruded aluminium and steel elements, while the roof consists of remote-controlled movable blades, the angle of which can be altered as the sun moves. When closed, the blades create a waterproof roof, protecting your patio from rain. Water is drained through a system of integrated side gutters and outflows aesthetically hidden inside the construction of this covered pergola design.

It is worth noting that, as you can see in the image below, there will be some shadowing from the rotating metal louvres as the sun moves around. It’s completely down to personal preference, but if you would prefer more solid shade, you might want to consider one of our fully retractable fabric pergola canopies..

4 – Enhanced covered pergolas

If you have a larger budget, there really is no limit to your options. We’ve seen pergola designs which have integrated lighting, heating, sensors to automatically detect rain and activate the roof, sound systems and complete home cinema systems!

If this is more within your budget, you’ll likely be looking at a project of £15,000 up depending upon quality, materials used and additional features. It’s a good idea to check if the foundations are included in the price and invest in a good quality structure. You can also head to our FAQ page to check if it’s likely you’ll need planning permission.

covered pergola with enhancements
Traditional pergola with retractable waterproof shade closed

5 – Rustic charm

Wooden pergolas

Wooden covered pergolas tend to be a popular choice due to their versatility and natural aesthetics. They blend seamlessly with various outdoor settings, and wood is a lot easier to customise in terms of design and colour finishes. Care should be taken to select good quality materials to ensure longevity.

Our frames are constructed from quality cedar, which looks lovely oiled or painted from a range of colours so everything does not have to be just white or grey (as is often the case with aluminium structures). The surface is planed and sanded for a beautiful look and feel regardless of finish and if left to weather naturally it will go a silver-grey colour.

stone pergola

Stone pergolas

On the other hand, stone pergolas are a timeless addition to any luxury garden, creating an enduring focal point in any grand design. Crafted from durable natural stone, these pergolas exude an aura of sophistication, and their weathered appearance and earthy hues lend a sense of age-old elegance to the outdoor space. The columns can be combined with sturdy wooden beams to offer some cover and respite from the sun.

Whether nestled amidst lush greenery or standing proudly in a meticulously landscaped garden, stone pergolas become real showstoppers. If this appeals to you, check out Haddonstone, based in Northampton, UK.

See our retractable pergola canopies and transform your outdoor space with a covered pergola – whatever the weather!
mix and match covered pergola

6 - Mix and match materials

Some of the DIY covered pergola styles occasionally have a mixture of materials. In this example, we can see one which has stone columns, wooden roof slats and then waterproofing is provided via what appears to be polycarbonate roofing sheets.

From experience, the downside to using polycarbonate as a pergola roof is that it won’t stop the heat, in fact, it can intensify it! The tubing can also get very dirty if the ends are not protected, and when it rains it can become very loud when sitting under it. Perfectly practical but not the best design.

Traditional pergola with retractable waterproof shade closed with BBQ

7 - Covered Pergola with BBQ

If you’re a fan of barbecuing, you might also want to consider a similar design to this bespoke custom covered pergola with BBQ hood and vent we made for one of our clients.

We worked with them to design and manufacture a custom pergola with a retractable waterproof canopy, along with the hood, which sits under the canopy, so they can BBQ all year round come rain or shine! We’ve not seen a solution like this anywhere else.

Covered pergolas - conclusion

From manicured green pergolas wrapped in vines to modern metal designs which can transform at the touch of a button – there’s a covered pergola style to suit every taste and setting.

These versatile structures not only offer shade and shelter but also provide a space where you can can relax, entertain, and connect with nature. Plus, not having to keep dragging the patio cushions in and out of the house is an added bonus!

We hope that by exploring these designs, you feel inspired to find your own personal style, and make the most of your outdoor space. Contact Hampshire Shades on 01489 290 025 or ‘Book a Discovery Call’ for a bespoke, luxury, covered pergola with a retractable waterproof roof.

We are a member of Made in Britain, and our timber pergolas and bespoke shades are designed and made in the UK.
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