Pros & Cons of Popular Types of Backyard Shade Structures

Pergolas as Shade Structure for Backyards

Everyone loves the beauty of clear skies, sunshine, and outdoor living, BUT – not everyone loves the heat or the harmful UV rays that come with it. Whether you’re prioritizing your health, seeking some well-deserved comfort, or just want to keep things stylish, there are plenty of reasons to crave a little bit of cool coverage in your backyard!

In today’s blog, you’ll discover beautiful backyard shade structures along with a few tips to enhance their functionality! Keep reading to learn more or shop outdoor pergola shade options from Garbrella now.

Permanent Outdoor Shade Structures

When investing in something for your home or property, you want items that you know will stand the test of time AND be worth their money. While there are dozens of cheap backyard shade structures on the market, the best, in terms of longevity, affordability, aesthetics, and value tend to be the permanent outdoor shade structure options.

Pavilion as Backyard Shade Structure on Patio

Pavilions: If complete shelter from the elements is a priority for you, a pavilion might be the perfect permanent outdoor shade structure. Pavilions feature solid roofs that provide maximum protection from rain and sunlight, allowing you to enjoy your outdoor space regardless of the weather. With this type of backyard shade structure, you can host outdoor gatherings or create a cozy outdoor living space in almost any weather.

Keep in mind that pavilions generally come with a higher price tag compared to pergolas due to the additional materials and construction required. Learn more about the differences between pergolas vs pavilions here!


  • Offers complete shade because of its solid roof
  • Looks beautiful in any environment
  • Can last decades if cared for properly



  • Can be expensive
  • Can take several weeks to have your design constructed
  • Requires professional installation
  • Regular maintenance is required for certain materials
  • Limited customization abilities


Outdoor Shade Structures with Privacy

Pergolas: Pergolas are a type of permanent outdoor shade structure known for their versatile and visually appealing ability to create a shaded outdoor oasis. With customizable designs and sizes, they can fit any backyard and complement various styles. While a pergola’s shade is optimal, additional accessories like shade curtains can enhance its capabilities. Pergolas are durable backyard shade structures that create a defined outdoor living space and add value to your home, making them a fantastic choice for transforming your backyard into a haven of comfort and style!


  • Provides partial shade coverage through slatted roof
  • Comes in many different styles, colors, sizes, and price points
  • Can be installed yourself or with the help of a professional contractor
  • Privacy features like curtains or canopies can be added
  • Extremely low maintenance



  • Cost on average $3,000 – $6,000
  • Can gain additional shade, but must be purchased

See more pros and cons of the most common pergola types here!


Shade Sail Structure

Shade Sails: For those seeking a contemporary and visually striking backyard shade option, shade sails offer a modern design aesthetic. These triangular or rectangular fabric structures are tensioned between anchor points, creating an eye-catching canopy that provides substantial shade coverage.


  • Easy to install
  • Very affordable backyard shade option



  • Tends to have a shorter lifespan than other backyard shade structures
  • Holes and frays may occur due to regular wear and tear
  • May be a fire hazard

Getting More Outdoor Pergola Shade

At Garbrella Pergolas, we’re experts in all things pergolas – including, how to optimize their design to get even more shade (when desired)!

While pergolas are famous for striking the perfect balance between shade and sun, there may be days when you want total protection from those warm rays. When you’re looking to gain a bit more outdoor pergola shade, consider these additional accessories…

How to get more outdoor pergola shade
  • Shade Curtains: Hang curtains made of outdoor fabric along the sides of your pergola. These curtains can be drawn for additional shade or privacy when needed!
  • Outdoor-Friendly Fabric Panels: Attach fabric panels to the top of your pergola to create a shaded roof. Opt for outdoor-grade fabrics that are resistant to UV rays and weather conditions.
  • Climbing Plants: Plant climbing vines or flowering plants around your pergola. As they grow, they will create natural shade and add a touch of greenery and beauty to your outdoor space!

Looking for even more ideas on how to add pergola shade? Check out our blog for help completing your backyard oasis.


Shop Backyard Shade Options from Garbrella Pergolas

When it comes to creating a cool and shaded outdoor space, Garbrella Pergolas has got you covered!

Our wide range of attached and free-standing pergolas for sale make the perfect permanent outdoor shade structure that is maintenance-free, affordable, and elegant. The expert craftsmanship, high-quality materials, and attention to detail means that your backyard shade structure from Garbrella will not only provide relief from the sun – but also be a stunning focal point in your backyard.

Get started today by requesting a sample kit or browsing our beautiful selection of pergolas!

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