If you’re spending time out on your deck wondering how to cover it in a cost effective and aesthetically pleasing way, then a hybrid pergola is a fantastic solution for covering your deck. While you can install a hybrid pergola on decks and patios that come off just one side of your home, the biggest strength of the hybrid pergola is it can even curl around the corners of your home. It makes the most of both attached and freestanding pergola design, starting off with an attachment to the corner of the house, and then using free standing pillars to support the long corner to create a farmer’s porch kind of effect. By starting at the corners, typically the weakest section of any covered porch design, you get additional strength in the design process, and the ability to make a continuous pergola along two or more sides of your home.
The difference between a hybrid pergola and a standard pergola design is that it has solid panels between the beams which makes it feel more like a canopy than a pergola. However, it maintains that classic pergola feel through the thick posts supporting the framework of beams laid out in a crisscross pattern. The tricky part of this deck covering project is working out how to where to build your hybrid pergola to give you the maximum amount of shade as the sun swings around your home.
Like with the classic pergola concept, there are many different styles of hybrid pergolas. The biggest difference is the way in which you choose to cover the hybrid pergola. These are some of the most popular ways of covering your hybrid pergola:
- Permanent panels – When people think about roof coverings for their hybrid pergola, they typically think of glass as a way of letting light in while still being protected. However, glass is fragile, especially in the Calgary winter with heavy snow and plenty of debris causing potential damage. Choosing Lexan panels to fit between the beams of your pergola will provide shade from direct, overhead sunshine. Lexan is a polycarbonate form of plastic, and while it’s not completely see through, it’s 250 times stronger than glass and allows plenty of light in. You can also choose aluminum panels for a cheaper option; they provide much cooler shade as they don’t let any light in and the sound of snow and rain on metal will encourage you to sit out on the deck in a storm. The permanent versions of these act like a roof, protecting you from sun and rain alike. They will also stop debris from nearby trees from falling on your hybrid pergola space. The benefit of a hybrid cover pergola canopy is that once they’re installed, you don’t have to worry about them until you decide to replace them in 20 more years’ time.
- Retractable pergola canopies – retractable pergola canopies are ones where you can pull a string and retract the small sections of roof, much like a blind system on a window. This allows you to control the amount of sunshine coming in as the sun moves across the sky. The downfall is that it’s easy to forget to put the canopies back in place at the end of a long evening, leaving your entertaining space open in the case of overnight rainfall. They are also made of lightweight and flexible materials such as fabric, making them much weaker than their permanent counterparts. These often get broken by extreme wind and weather conditions, which can be frustrating, but the cheapness of the materials makes them inexpensive and easy to replace and repair. You can also use this opportunity to change colour and patterns to spice up your outdoor living space.
- Pergola sunshades – unlike the canopies, pergola sunshades attach to the side of your hybrid pergola to create walls and block out low sunshine and wind. These are ideal if the corner of your home sits in a windy location or if your house is up high and gets a lot of sunshine in the morning and evenings. Sunshades almost always come as retractable models, as there’s little point in creating outdoor living space if you’re going to cover up the view. You can, of course, mix and match and have both sunshades on the side and a hybrid pergola canopy on the top to give you the maximum amount of flexibility over the shade.
It is, of course, possible to install both canopies and sunshades that you can extend to match the position of the sun and the needs of your guests. For additional ease, you can buy hybrid pergolas covers that have electronic controls, and even ones that are solar sensitive, so you can set them to extend and retract automatically at different light levels.
Finally, you’ll also need to think carefully about the fabric that you use for your hybrid pergola cover. You’ll definitely want to make sure that they are breathable so if you have a fire pit or barbecue on your deck, the smoke will be able escape upwards instead of outwards. You’ll also want to buy a waterproof coating to preserve your canopy for longer. Lastly, in the case of retractable covers, you’ll want to make sure that the fabric is flexible as nothing will look worse than folds and creases when the canopy is fully extended.