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When a Pergola Needs a Helping Hand to Deliver Shade and Comfort

Oasis Patio shade on pergola structure

Love outdoor living? Have a pergola, and love it? Okay, almost love it? Maybe it gets a little too hot or bright riiiiight when you want to use it? Oasis Patio Shades can help you fall back in love with your covered patio. Pergolas are HOT in exterior design today, and why not? They are gorgeous, help to define a space, and add architectural interest and detail. There’s no denying that they can vastly improve the appearance of an outdoor space. But why didn’t someone tell us that they were vulnerable?

What is a pergola?

A decade ago, most people weren’t even sure what a pergola was. We had a vague idea that it was an outdoor thing, but if asked to describe it, we’d quickly start reaching for words. According to, “A pergola is a backyard shade structure with an open-lattice roof supported by columns or posts. Pergolas are not designed to completely block the sun, but to provide relief from direct sunlight, while allowing air to circulate freely.” The “lattice” cover is made of  beams over the top that may or may not be louvered. A specific type of pergola known as a ramada boasts a completely enclosed roof with open sides. Is a pergola only for the back yard or patio? No! Decks and even porches are often covered by pergolas to take advantage of the beautiful open-air design of the structure. 

The beams at the top do provide sun protection at the right time of day, but will fall short when the sun’s angle doesn’t work with the flat surface or the angle of the louvers. Also, the times of day that people most want to sit under a pergola are exactly when harsh, low-angled sun will be strongest. Depending on the time of year, the location of the home, and the surroundings, this may mean uncomfortable glare and heat.

Oasis 2600 Patio Sun Shade

Oasis® Patio Shades By Insolroll Make All the Difference

Insolroll developed the Oasis brand in 1986 to solve problems like these. Woven to precise specifications to block sun, exterior solar screen fabric is designed to withstand the elements while taking a solar beating. Oasis Patio Shades are available in 4 distinct models to meet the various needs of outdoor living applications.

Glare Protection

Much like sunglasses for your windows, technical solar screen fabrics block the sun’s glare. Even brutal afternoon sun through the front or side of the pergola is no match for solar screen shades. Again like sunglasses, darker colors control glare better and make the space visually comfortable. Every fabric is woven with a precise amount of openness which also affects glare control as well as the view through the fabric. More open fabrics allow more of the sun’s visible light to get through, and less open fabrics control glare better. You’d be surprised at how little fabric openness it takes to still be able to see through it! Reducing the glare also sharpens the picture, so don’t be afraid of a lower openness like 3% or 5%. Talk over your needs and the characteristics of your patio with your Insolroll dealer to select the most effective fabric for your space.

Damaging UV Protection

Openness also affects the percentage of UV rays that come through the fabric. You can’t see UV, but it causes damage like a sunburn, faded wood floor, or cataracts and other eye problems. As long as the shade is down, it blocks UV to protect patio furnishings and people. It’s simple to understand how much protection a fabric offers, too. A 10% open fabric blocks 90% of UV, a 3% open fabric blocks 97% of UV, and a 1% open fabric blocks 99%. 

Heat Protection

Too hot? Insolroll patio shades provide shade and relief to increase the comfort level of outdoor spaces. The most common fabric selections are generally dark colors (black, brown, gray) that absorb the majority of the heat before it hits the table or chairs. The heat is then dissipated into the outdoor air, which works great for most open patio areas. Because they can have a lot less air flow, enclosed patio rooms and ramadas will benefit from using a lighter colored shade fabric to reflect more heat away from the patio. Or consider detailing patio shades so that they stop 24”-30” above the floor area to improve ventilation and add get heat out of the space.

Oasis 2900 Retractable Insect Scdreen zipper track & bottom rail
Oasis 2900 features zipper-captured edges, a soft pile top seal, and a flexible insert at the bottom rail that allows a seal on uneven surfaces like concrete.

Insect Protection

For homes around lakes or other bodies of water, outdoor insects can stop you from enjoying your patio. The Oasis 2900 Retractable Insect Screen offers a 4-sided seal to keep bugs OUT. Mosquitoes, gnats, moths, biting midges, you name it. (This will only work if your pergola has an enclosed roof, like a ramada.) During late afternoon and early evening, when insects are at their worst, lower the retractable screen to sit in comfort. Better yet, lower the screen before the bugs come out so that you don’t trap any inside. When bugs aren’t a problem, raise the screens and enjoy your open air patio again!

Oasis patio shade blocks golf ball

Got Golf Balls?

Those who live on a golf course know that wayward balls can be a patio problem, and even dangerous. Oasis patio shades and insect screens block golf balls, harmlessly dissipating the force when a ball strikes to keep everyone inside safe. See it happen here. It’s also worth noting that solar screen exterior window shades provide this protection for your windows as well.

Need more privacy?

Solar patio shades of any color will enhance daytime privacy. Outdoor spaces very close to neighbors, homes that back to urban trails, and hot tub areas can be so  much more livable with a privacy fabric shade. If you’d like to block someone else’s view, consider a light-colored solar fabric. Light colors obscure view into the patio better than a dark colors. Really serious about privacy? Consider one of Insolroll’s translucent or even blackout exterior fabrics. Problem solved!

Oasis Patio Shades Look Great on a Pergola

Worried that shades will spoil the look of your pergola? Insolroll’s Oasis Patio Shades offer hardware color and fabric choices that enhance the appearance of any pergola. 3 of the 4 models feature a fully enclosed aluminum head box to protect fabric and complement the architecture. Building a brand new patio structure? Oasis shades can be built into a pocket above the ceiling so they rise up and out of view when retracted. Insolroll’s fabric retention systems are designed to provide options for any patio construction material, from wood to stone masonry. No matter how your covered patio is designed, there’s an Oasis detailing solution.

Motorized Oasis Shades

Whether you prefer manual or motorized operation, Oasis shades have got you covered. But choosing motorized Oasis Patio Shades or Insect Screens means you can lower or raise your shades simply by pressing a button! That might be a button on a handheld remote, or an icon on your smart phone screen. It might not be a button at all, but your own voice using your Amazon Echo and just asking Alexa to do it! Maybe you forgot to put the shades up before you went to work after enjoying coffee and the morning paper on your deck– no worries! Open your smart phone app and close the shades from work! Maybe you want the shades to work as part of your home automation system – all are achievable with Insolroll’s various control options. 

It’s All About Lifestyle, Baby!

You know you want to use your outdoor living space more- that’s why you have a pergola, right? It doesn’t have to just be about weekends, or entertaining. It’s the little things in life that make it worth living… Picture it… coming home after work, heading out with a beverage, and relaxing. You might pick up a good book and sit in your comfy chair while the birds sing and soft breezes blow. You might watch a game on your outdoor TV, or maybe just simply BE

Ready to take your pergola to the next level? Call or email Insolroll today to find a dealer near you!