shade sails
Scottb211 / Flickr (Creative Commons)

In the heat of the summer, pergolas protect you and your family from the sun. They also serve as a gathering place to host family and friends. And while pergolas are designed to add shade to your backyard, in some situations the open rooftop design just doesn’t cut it. If you’re finding that you like the breeziness of a pergola but aren’t too keen on the harsh light of day, adding a pergola canopy can change your whole backyard area.

A pergola canopy gives you versatility. Keep it on, and you’ve created a fully shady spot. Take it off, and more sun will shine through. Also, pergola canopies can be removed and washed, whereas gazebo tops are installed permanently.

If you decide to buy a pergola canopy, you’ll be faced with a few other choices:

  • How much light do I want the canopy to block?
  • Do I want a canopy that covers the entire pergola or just a portion?
  • Do I want the canopy to drape down the side of the structure?

We’ve found some of the best universal-fit pergola covers to protect you and your family from the sun.

UV Block Pergola Canopy

uv block pergola canopy

Available Sizes:

  • 8’ x 10’
  • 10’ x 10’
  • 10’ x 13’
  • 12’ x 16’
  • 16’ x 16’

Available Colors: Light beige/brown

This light beige pergola canopy fits all sorts of pergolas and can be cut to size. With 98% UV protection, this canopy isn’t waterproof, but the material will allow for water to flow through, preventing any pooling of water. The canopy itself has a concave shape which allows for the material to be pulled tighter, preventing dropping and encouraging a nice taut fit.

The canopy has a 5-year warranty against UV degradation and features stainless steel D-rings that are β€œmarine grade,” according to the manufacturer. If you’re looking for something that blocks out the sun entirely, though, you might want to consider a different canopy on the list. One reviewer mentions that the canopy still lets a bit of light in, but raves that it significantly reduced the temperature of their patio.

Find it at Amazon: UV Block Pergola Canopy


Sunshades Pergola Cover

sunshades pergola canopy

Available Sizes:

  • 8’ x 8’
  • 8’ x 10’
  • 12’ x 10’
  • 10 x 10’
  • More available

Available Colors: Beige, Blue, Brown, Canary Yellow, Red, Dark Green, Light Grey, Turquoise Green, Orange

As compared to the previous option, this pergola canopy has straight edges rather than concave ones. According to the manufacturer, this pergola canopy blocks up to 95% of UV rays. As with the previous options, this canopy allows light and water to come through, preventing pooling at the top.

Amazon reviewers mention that the size is a bit smaller than advertised, so consider buying a few feet more than you may need. It’s always better to have more than less!

Find it at Amazon: Sunshade Pergola Canopy


Waterproof Pergola Canopy

waterproof pergola canopy

Available Sizes: 9.5’ x 9.5’

Available Colors: Blue, Orange, Red, Yellow

Unlike the previous two options, this pergola canopy is waterproof, making it an option to consider if you don’t mind pooling on the top and would prefer more rain coverage. The manufacturer says the material has 100% blockage from water and UV rays. Amazon reviewers agree, mentioning that this is the best shade for blocking out harmful sun exposure. This canopy comes with a 4-year warranty.

The canopy is double-stitched and anchored with a D-ring, encouraging a tight and structurally sound fit. When it comes to the color of the material, multiple reviewers mention that the red canopy tends to reflect the color more so than the other available options.

Find it at Amazon: Waterproof Pergola Canopy


Beige Pergola Shade Cover

beige pergola shade canopy

Available Sizes:

  • 6’ x 8’
  • 8’ x 8’
  • 8’ x 12’
  • 10’ x 10’
  • 12’ x 12’
  • 12’ x 14’
  • More available

Available Colors: Beige

This beige pergola canopy blocks up to 85% of UV rays. Four grommets on each side of the canopy encourage a tight and strong fit to your pergola. Reviewers mention that this canopy works well as a sun, rain, and wind block and can hold its own against the elements.

Find it at Amazon: Beige Pergola Canopy


Knitted Pergola Canopy

knitted pergola canopy

Available Sizes:

  • 6’ x 15’ roll — buyer cuts to desired sizes

Available Colors:

  • Beige

If you have a more uniquely shaped pergola or need a lot of canopy material, check out this knitted pergola canopy. This material comes in a roll that is 6’ x 15’ and can be cut to size. Though it may take a bit more ingenuity to set up, the heavy duty Coolaroo fabric is knitted and blocks up to 90% of UV rays.

The manufacturer notes that the shade decreases temperatures underneath by 32% and resists mold and mildew. As with some of the first products, this canvas pergola canopy material is breathable and allows air and water to flow through easily.

Find it at Amazon: Knitted Pergola Canopy