Shading of pergolas and terraces: are external blinds suitable for them?
We do not recommend external blinds for shading pergolas or terraces. The maximum width of the blind and the wind resistance of the slats are the limiting factors. Whether you have a wooden or aluminium pergola, you should go for another type of shading, preferably screen roller shutters. You will be able to see out of the pergola and the roller shutters will better resist wind and UV rays.
External blinds are not very suitable for pergolas
The dimensions of the blinds are limited in production, they can be no more than 5 metres wide. One blind will not cover a 6 metre wide pergola. If you would like to install two external blinds side by side, you would have to connect them with a post, which would of course interfere with the clean look of the pergola.
“The larger the surface area of external blinds, the less they resist the wind. In addition, if they are not covered by a window on one side and the wind can hit them from both sides, the risk of damage increases. They are also noisier when the wind gusts — which can spoil sitting under the pergola,” says Lukáš Musil, Sales Manager at NEVA.
Aluminium, especially in dark shades, also heats up in the sun , so it won’t be pleasant to touch the slats as you walk by on hot summer days.
If you have a pergola made of a wooden structure or if you are matching your terrace to a rural and natural style, you may like wooden blinds. While these may look more solid than aluminium ones, their durability also drops off sharply as the width of the blind increases. Wood also requires regular care, otherwise it will deteriorate quickly in the sun and rain.
Preferably choose screen roller shutters for your pergola
Screen roller shutters are ideal for shading larger areas. The fabric is tightly tensioned (on the side in the guide rails and on the underside it is weighted with a profile) and the wind does not blow it about as much. Both the ZIPscreen variant and the classic screen in guide rails have good properties. You can see out through screen roller shutters, unlike blinds, so you won’t feel isolated from your surroundings in the pergola.
The fabrics are PVC coated and are designed for long-term exposure to rain and UV. The fabrics may fade slightly over the years but will not perish or crack.
Textile screens are also more suitable for most pergolas because of their design — they are not as robust as blind slats. The fabric neatly fits into the cover box, so when you don’t need the shading, there’s nothing obstructing your view or passage. When sitting in the pergola in the evening, the screen also partially protects you from insects.
“Screens are anchored between the vertical supports of the pergola. The box does reduce the clearance of the opening slightly, but nothing sticks out into the space,” says Musil.
If you are only at the planning stage of your pergola, think about the direction it faces. A west-facing terrace will get sunlight long into the evening. On the other hand, a north-facing one gets the least sunlight.
Other ways to shade a pergola
Roof and side awnings
Roof awnings are the simplest form of shading, typically used in southern countries. They also cover the pergola, so they protect you from the rain. Like screen roller shutters, side awnings can be made from PVC fibre, but you can also find cheaper options made from polyester or polyurethane.
Canopies — shading under the glass roof of the terrace
If you already have a covered pergola, you can choose fabric canopies, which are very elegant in appearance. The canopies are typically moved mechanically with a rod. But you can also get motorised ones.
Design and functional solution: sunshade
Some people confuse sunshades with blinds. It is a set of slats that can be either static or movable. However, the slats are thicker and larger than those of blinds, so the sunshade is overall more durable and more suitable for a pergola. Sunshades are available in both horizontal and vertical versions, so you can use it on the sides and roof of your pergola. However, unlike blinds, the sunshade slats cannot slide up and down, only tilt .
A pergola can also be shaded by greenery
A large tree planted next to the pergola will provide pleasant shade. The pergola structure can be planted with creeping ivy or Virginia creeper. However, natural shading will not protect you from rain or insects and requires more care.