Adding shade/cover for poolside pergola


Well-known member
Sep 9, 2016
Southeast Louisiana
We have a pergola, approximately 8’x16’, at one end of our pool. It is where we keep our grill and outdoor dining table/chairs.

We really like how it looks, but it provides very little shade, as we live in the Deep South and get a lot of direct overhead sunlight. Also, we live on a heavily-wooded lot with 100’ pines all around. The pool skimmer and cleaner easily handle the debris that falls into the pool, but we get tons of pine needles and a lot of pine cones that fall on/through the pergola. As such, I am constantly sweeping debris off my grill, dining table and deck.

I’d like to provide some more shade under the pergola, as well as some kind of barrier to limit the debris that falls though the top. However, I don’t want a roof or a piece of sailcloth, as I’d like to leave it kind of airy, kind of open, kind of organic.

I was thinking either a.) add more beams across the top to block more sunlight and catch more debris; or b.) hanging plants (ferns?) from the beams. I don’t want to spend money on either plan only to realize later that it was a bad idea for some reason or another.

I’d be grateful for any observations or suggestions you might have. Please and thank you!


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Mar 25, 2018
Chandler Arizona
Yeah pics will greatly help.
Keep in mind that “stuff” will still be falling from above, and will just gather above your pergola waiting for a strong breeze to dump it all at once.


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Jul 16, 2012
Central MD
I have a 12' x 24' pergola on my wooden deck away from the pool. It has Trex 2x2's for the cross pieces on top (which are 2" x 2", versus nominal size) above the 2 x 10's. I originally had wisteria on the pergola for 10+ years. It was beautiful but created a mess much of the time so it came down.

After removing it I wanted part of the deck to have more shade than the other so I installed some brand of composite 5/4 x 6" deck board in between the 2 x 2's. It looks quite natural and provides a great balance of shade on that half. The other half remains more open.

Here's a picture to show it. Mind you, it would help close to zero with debris, as it would just blow through the next available opening.

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