A few summers ago Jason and I built a simple pergola out of 4x4s and 2x4s for our back patio. We used “bamboo” reed screens to create shade over the top for the first 2 years but they gradually disintegrated. After a year with no shade over our patio dining area, we decided on a new solution this year.
It’s called black shade cloth and it supposedly creates 70% shade. We knew we didn’t want anything solid enough to keep rain out (though that would be nice) because our pergola isn’t heavy enough to withstand high speed winds that we have occasionally when storm fronts move through.
Our pergola is 12×12 so we had a shade cloth custom cut to our dimensions from MyTarp.com. I think it cost around $79. We were concerned that it was too big when we first opened it up but it ended up being just perfect and we installed it using J-hooks on the top of the pergola. (The shade cloth comes with metal grommets every 1.5′ or so.)
We’re loving this new shady spot to eat!