If we could offer one piece of advice for anyone considering a new patio in SW Houston, it would be this: Don’t overlook the importance of shade! Too often, shade is addressed as an afterthought. For us to create the most effective design for your outdoor living space, it’s a good idea to include a shade solution in the initial design. This is true whether you want a paver patio, a flagstone patio or a concrete stamp and stain patio. It’s also true if your patio design will include an outdoor kitchen, or outdoor fire feature.
When the sun is beating down on us here in Southwest Houston, we crave shade, which shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. When we first sit down with you to talk about what you have in mind for your outdoor living space, we’ll ask you how you want to plan for shade.
One of the most popular shade structures in Texas is the pergola, and Archadeck of SW Houston is your Houston pergola builder. We can show you many options for using a pergola as a design element in your outdoor living structure, but even more important, you can use it to create shade outdoors for your family.
YOUR SW HOUSTON SHADE SOLUTION
We’ll talk about the design aspect in a moment, but first, let’s focus on creating shade. If you’re familiar with the basic pergola, you know that it has vertical elements (columns) and horizontal elements (lintels, purlins and slats). Because the horizontal elements are overhead, people generally perceive them as creating shade, but there are some holes in that perception. Yes, literally, holes. Because of the spacing between purlins, and the spacing between slats, sunlight continues to shine through a pergola.
It’s true we can work with the angle of the sun’s rays to maximize shade during much of the day. The way we do that is to orient the pergola so that the rafters run from north to south. (This is why we prefer to design the pergola at the same time we design the overall project.) Around the middle of the day when the sun is directly overhead, the north-south orientation of the pergola does not matter. At that time, a pergola simply cannot provide much protection from sun’s heat and UV rays.
We have a solution! We can cover the pergola with a sturdy but flexible sheet of plastic to block the sun’s direct heat and UV rays while still allowing light to come through. The covering we use is called Polygal, and it comes in several thicknesses and colors, giving you options for the amount of light you let in. Regardless of the color you select (including clear) and the amount of light you let in, the Polygal covering will block UV rays, protecting you from the sun’s most damaging effects.
When your pergola provides shade all day long, it truly does become your refuge. Even better, we can install a ceiling fan under the pergola! Archadeck of SW Houston has your comfort in mind. The more comfortable you are in your outdoor living space, the more you’ll enjoy it. That’s the point, right?
BONUS: PROTECTION FROM THE RAIN
An added benefit of a covered pergola is protection from rain. You’ll love the ability to plan outdoor parties and not have to worry about rain driving you and your guests indoors. Rain can be so unpredictable!
A STUNNING DESIGN ELEMENT
Now for the fun part. Pergolas are attractive and add visual impact to any outdoor living space. We’ve seen pergolas that look almost lacy and some that are beefy beyond belief. There’s a wide range in between, and what makes the difference is the size of your posts, beams, rafters and slats. The larger your building materials, the beefier your pergola.
Speaking of materials, when we design your Southwest Houston pergola, we’ll go over the various materials we can use to build it so you can decide which you will give you the look you desire. The low-maintenance choice would be either composite decking materials or PVC. Low-maintenance decking boards come in a wide variety of colors, so we can match or contrast your patio colors, whichever you prefer. PVC is great because it takes paint very well, so you can have an even broader array of color options. Many of our clients prefer a wood pergola, and cedar is a very popular choice. Cedar will weather to a soft, silvery gray color, so keep that in mind. If you’re thinking of the rusty brown color of cedar, you’ll need to stain and seal your pergola periodically to keep that color intact.
Pergolas offer more than shade, too. We’ve already mentioned hanging a ceiling fan from the pergola. Outdoor lighting works especially well in a covered pergola and doubles the amount of time you can enjoy your outdoor living structure without being left in the dark. We’ve also seen homeowners hang colorful scarves or curtains from a pergola, which seems wonderfully mysterious. The neighbors will never know whether you chose that décor for privacy or for a deliciously exotic ambiance.
When you design your patio with a pergola in mind, you have the opportunity to include other design elements under the pergola such as stone benches, a dining table and chairs or a hot tub or spa. Whatever you choose, with a covered pergola, your activities under the pergola will not be hampered by rain or the sun’s harmful UV rays.
Are you ready to talk about building your new pergola—and an amazing patio to go along with it? If you’re thinking about adding an outdoor living space to your home in Southwest Houston or the surrounding area, please call me, David Herbert, at (281) 761-2800 or email me to set up your free design consultation.
David Herbert, Owner, Archadeck of Southwest Houston