Shade Sail vs. Pergola – Make a Right Choice for Your Home!

Are you a homeowner trying to give your courtyard a good shade to relax under and relish as you watch days pass by? Worry less; you’re in the right place. By the time you’ll be reading the last syllable of this article, you’ll be able to choose the best shade that will give you the satisfaction and comfort you’re looking for.

If you’re looking for open side structures for your home consider installing shade sails or pergolas. However, I would suggest you consider shade sails as an alternative. Don’t get me wrong. Also, as per the Rainbow Shade (Suppliers of Shade Fabrics), you should consider shade sails over the permanent shade structures like pergola. Pergolas are great, but they come with some shortcomings, which we would discuss later in this article.

Shade Sail vs. Pergola- What’s the Difference?

Are you still finding it hard to choose between the two? Okay, please take a moment first to compare them.

Below is an unbiased view of both structures and how beneficial they can be to your backyard. Pass through them to know which of the two is right for your applications, budget, and, most importantly, your needs.

What Is a Pergola?


A pergola shade is an outdoor garden structure that forms a shaded sitting area, walkway, or passageway. It’s typically made of timber frames that support a roof that provides shade. Its roof is mostly made of solid materials.

If you’re looking for a more natural effect, then the pergola shade is for you as you can leave it open with a grid to have climbing plants intertwine the frames.

Pergola shades are mostly built separate from the house and are commonly used in larger yards for entertaining spaces or even around pools to have a place to relax.

Disadvantages of Pergola

Although pergolas are the most common shades you would find in India, they have the following downsides;

01. Pergola Requires Some Maintenance:

  • As pergolas are made of different types of wood, they need to be treated, repainted overtime, and cleaned to keep them from appearing weathered.
  • If you live in moist places, you have to ensure that you watch out for mildew since they can easily destroy your pergola.
  • If the pergola’s canopy has foliage on its side, you have to ensure that you trim it regularly to prevent the pergola from being weighed down.

02. Beware of Termites While Installing Pergola:

Mostly pergola is made of pressure-treated pine and cedar, which naturally repel termites. In most cases, you’ll find that your pergola is infested with them. Therefore, you should always ensure that you regularly treat the wood to prevent the termites from taking over.

03. Pergola Might Look Different Over Time:

If your pergola is made from cedar, the color of the wood will fade from light red-brown to a silvery gray, which is a natural occurrence. To preserve the original cedar shake, you’ve to seal it in. To keep up the appearance, you’ve to apply a new coat of wood stain every year.

Even so, Pergolas are practical and beautiful outdoor structure.

What is a Shade Sail?

Shade Sail

A shade sail is a structure used to create an outdoor shade. It is made of cloth sheet material or plastic that is attached to three or more posts or already existing elements nearby, like the deck railings or trees.

Shade sails help in providing a shaded area for guests and homeowners where they relish themselves under. They come in different sizes and shapes and can be mounted in almost every position at any angle to give a soothing shade even to those hard to reach areas.

Therefore, if you’re looking for a solution that offers rain and sun protection, then shade sails can go a long way.

Unlike pergolas, Shade sails can easily be removed during winter months and strong storms as they’re very flexible.

What are the Advantages of Shade Sails Over Pergolas?

As mentioned above, shade sails serve the same purpose as pergolas but have more advantages. Like;

01. Shade Sails are Cost-effective

Unlike pergolas, which are expensive and complicated, shade sails are cheaper and easier to install. To construct it, you only need a few mounting posts and a fabric, unlike pergolas, which you’ve to construct an additional structure that is complicated and expensive.

In case you want to purchase them from the market, they can be easily and cheaply put on for you without any hustle.

02. Shade Sails Add an Artistic Look to Your Residence

Shade sails come in various shapes, sizes, and colors, which would give your home an eye-catching look. So, they give a plus to your home’s aesthetic value. Their color variety makes you have wide choices that would help you choose shade sails that would perfectly fit your current fixtures.

Shade Sail

03. Shade Sails are Easy in Maintenance

When it comes to maintaining shade sails, you don’t need to worry yourself out. The fabrics that are mostly used for sail strips are resistant to hail. They’re also woven with mono polyethylene filaments, which can survive for more than ten years without being torn. They’re also amazingly durable as they’re not affected by termites, wood pests, or rotting.

04. Shade Sails have More Flexible Design Options

Shade sails are very handy compared to pergola shades. They have options of more flexible design which allows you to create structures that are modern looking which can be adjusted and altered as per your wish. With shade sail, you can easily tuck them in the corners to have good access to you as you need.

05. Shade Sails Offer Waterproof and UV Protection

Shade sails can protect your family against harmful UV rays of the sun. The fabrics used to make them are coated with protective elements of UV, which greatly work to break the harmful sun rays.

  • Sun Shade Sail:

If you’re looking for a durable shade sail to protect you and your family from the harsh sun, ensure that you get the one made of eXtreme 32 and z16 fabrics as they are made of commercial and quality grade.

Shade Sail with eXtreme 32 Fabric

Shade Sail with eXtreme 32 Fabric

Shade Sail with z16 Fabric

Shade Sail with z16 Fabric

  • Waterproof Shade Sail:

Another good thing about shade sails is that they offer waterproof protection, especially if you are lucky to get the one manufactured using Serge Ferrari and DRiZ fabrics- they’re incredibly waterproof and can last you years to come.

Shade Sail with Serge Ferrari Fabric

Shade Sail with Serge Ferrari Fabric

Shade Sail with DRiZ Fabric

Shade Sail with DRiZ Fabric


Now that you’ve almost everything you need to know about pergolas and shade sails, you can now make your choice in a better way. And if even you are convinced with the benefits of shade sail over pergolas, than the shade sail are proved to be most versatile and economical option for covering your outdoor area.

We hope that you are persuaded with benefits of shade sail vs. pergola, which can help you in deciding the right option for your outdoors. And before you take a leave, if you are landscape lover and if you are interested in creating beautiful outdoor living space for your family, we have a wonderful article on it:

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Author Bio

Jennifer Kiminza – Jennifer Kiminza is a content writer and content marketing professional at Hub Spot, an inbound marketing and sales platform that helps companies attract visitors, convert leads, and close customers. Previously, Jennifer worked as a marketing manager for a tech software startup. She graduated with honors from Nairobi University with a dual degree in Business Administration and Creative Writing.

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