By Clarita Lucero

Pergola design and construction is probably one of the most difficult shades to get right. Unlike other shades, it is not attached to the house, and instead of using fabric, is mainly made of wooden columns and crossbeams. In this sense, it is an unconventional shade because it does not block all light. Many people like the open feeling of a pergola.

A pergola is a somewhat simple shade made of wood that stands on four or more posts in a square configuration. Rather than support shade cloth, it carries wooden beams that supply partial shading and partial sunlight. Pergolas are found over patios and occasionally in gardens. People consider them classical porch shades. A smaller subtype of a pergola is sometimes known as an arbor. Arbors are used as entry ways to foot trails of the backyard grounds.

Pergolas require a lot of labor and effort. First the wooden columns must be sunk into the ground to secure them. Then crossbeams over the top must be attached in some fashion. Pergola design is a much sought after skill of small scale architects. It almost certainly will require the labor of at least two people if not more to be able to maneuver the beams.

When the pergola design is finished and constructed, the home owner usually takes the step of personalizing it. Fabric may nevertheless be attached to the sides or top to increase the shade effect. Special outdoor roller shades are sold for this purpose. Yet others like to hang decorations or even BBQ utensils on all the wood surfaces.

Pergolas are often compared to canopies. Canopies are tent-like shades. The layout of a canopy can be simplified down into the shade fabric and the steel skeleton that supports the cloth. It is important to block out light shining from the top so there is always a fabric roof. On the other hand, putting up shade material for the side-walls is not vital, according to whether the canopy owner is more worried about privacy or more circulation in the canopy.

Pergola design is very different from awning design. An outdoor awning is often regarded as as a fixed structure shade, the location of installation mainly being at the backyard entrance of a house. In contrast to store front awnings, the units for houses are made for pleasure and relaxation of homeowners. The most recent type is the retractable awning. The low end awnings come with retraction mechanism in a hand-powered set-up, manipulated by a lever or lateral-arm set-up. Pricier awnings are configured with electrically powered retraction.

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