What are cladded pergolas?
Traditionally speaking (and according to the dictionary) a pergola is defined as a structure with an open roof designed to support trellises or vines. Over time and through common usage this term has come to mean many different things to many different people though, and the variations on the stock standard pergola design are plentiful.
Cladded or roofed pergolas break the definition in favour of practicality. Having a roof over your pergola can offer a number of benefits, particularly in the harsh summers of Australia. One or more sides of your pergola may also be cladded to screen out the wind, provide shade or act as a privacy barrier.
There are a number of different options when it comes to choosing cladding; shade cloth, wooden latticework or trellises, acrylic or steel panels, sails or even thatch. Each will provide its own benefits so consider carefully what you want from your space.
What are the benefits of cladded pergolas?
Having a roof on your pergola means that it will be a lot more versatile in terms of how you can use the space. Depending on the cladding material, it may:
- offer protection from the sun and rain
- shade the area underneath
- reduce the amount of noise
- help regulate the temperature underneath by trapping heat during the day and releasing it at night.
The material you choose will determine what benefits you get from it – shade cloth will offer shade for instance, but won’t be particularly effective against rain.
How are cladded pergolas constructed?
Depending on the roofing material you’ve chosen, you may need to make some adjustments to your design. Thatched roofs, for example, require a great deal of pitch to ensure that they're properly drained, and sails will require extremely secure fastenings to avoid being blown away when the wind picks up. It is best to consult with your local council for information on any applicable regulations.
What are the shortcomings of cladded pergolas?
Different cladding materials will demand different levels of commitment in terms of maintenance. An area with a great deal of leaf debris will always have problems where a roof is concerned, and this is definitely something to consider if you're planning a roof without a significant pitch, an acrylic roof, or in particular a shadecloth roof. Pergolas with roofs made of stronger materials and with steeper pitches will have fewer issues.