Style and finish could just about sum up all you need to think about when choosing a pergola and shade. Where do you start?
Transforming your outdoors
It is such a personal choice but here are some pointers on what we feel are important; we hope it gets you thinking.
Do I need a pergola?
When we created our new patio area, we always had in mind an area for relaxing and entertaining. Due to the dimensions of a family-size patio set we had considered a large square cantilever parasol or umbrella to provide the right level of shade and rain protection.
Cantilever Parasol or Umbrella – There are a lot of choices in size and shape but each design incurred limitations. At 4m2 the parasol was big enough but without going to a big commercial solution the fabric was only water-resistant and designed to be collapsed during heavy rain or high winds as it was generally suspended from an arm.
Not an ideal way to look after the investment of a modern patio set or to relax outdoors whatever the weather.
Roller Awnings – These extend out from a building wall but are designed to be retracted in high winds or heavy rain and are generally affixed to the house.
The outcome was a journey to consider a pergola frame and shade solution. We looked at several available mail-order wood and aluminium pergola designs and were not overawed at some of the construction or designs. There was little information on the specification regarding the durability class or use class for wood and only general information about the coating type/thickness/durability on aluminium frames.
We also needed to find the best shade design for a pergola.
We looked at the traditional wire and fabric designs but even with neat pulley arrangements for opening and closing the shade, they had a design flaw for use in the UK that made them unusable. Due to the inherent design, any rainwater on the fabric pools on the surface causing it to sag and then collect more water. The weight of this could damage the fabric, wire rope eyelets or the fixings into the pergola. The solution was to put holes in the fabric to allow the water to safely drain.
Next, we looked at louvre-style shade openings, which looked neat and modern. They were truly waterproof and, putting surface finishes aside looked like a good solution. However, the position and orientation of the shade become more important as the louvres only open 90 degrees (straight up) and the sun moves across the sky during the day. Meaning at times the louvres could be open but the area underneath is still shaded. That might suit some but we wanted a full open view of the sky and to feel the sun at points during the day. We could also see how the louvres might be prevented from closing fully due to fallen debris, a problem when it is raining. It was noisy underneath when it was raining and even more so when it was hard.
So what did we do?….
Unique, Elegant, Innovative
We set about to create a company to design and manufacture a pergola frame and shade that solved all the problems with the UK weather. A unique design that is easy to operate, weatherproof, elegant as well as innovative in the UK. In addition, all bespoke and built-in in our Hampshire workshop.
So if you find yourself asking the same questions in finding the best solution to transform your outdoor area, why not have a chat with us and see if a pergola and shade solution works for you.