Sun exposure plays a major role in the comfort and usability of a porch or patio addition. How much is too much sun for you? Mapping your yard and familiarizing yourself with your property’s microclimates can prevent backyard shade cover placement mistakes from making you sweat. In this blog, the outdoor space design experts at Denver Pergolas will point you in the right direction.
How Geographic Location Impacts the Outdoor Living Microclimate
Creating a sketch of your property and observing your landscape at different times of the day can help you identify the microclimates surrounding your home and find the perfect setting for your pergola shade and rain cover. You can get your bearings by paying attention to where the sun rises on your property and sets. Consider which way you’ll be facing when in your outdoor kitchen, while dining outside, while seated and especially if you plan on having a tv. As a general rule, you’ll find the following climate effects in these geographic locations surrounding your home:
- Up North – The Coolest Spot in the Yard to Integrate Your Custom Pergola Design
North-facing landscapes receive the least direct sunlight. They are the last place the snow melts in the spring and the coolest spot in your yard year-round. North-facing locations are often exposed to fierce winter winds, impacting comfort through the cold weather season. If you place your motorized louvered pergola here, pergola accessories like built-in patio heaters for warmth and pergola screens for wind control are a must.
- Down South – Where Louvered Roof Pergola Placement is Crucial
South-facing landscapes get lots of loads of sun, making outdoor shelter crucial. A smart pergola programmed to close louvers during periods of intense afternoon sunlight can keep patio and deck spaces in south-facing locations more comfortable and protect furnishings from damage due to UV exposure.
- Going East – Striking the Perfect Climate Balance
East-facing landscapes get six hours of morning sun. In the late afternoon, closing the louvers of your pergola system and sliding a pergola screen into place offers all the protection you need, ensuring a comfortable space.
- Headed West – An Intense Experience Without Adequate Outdoor Shelter
Western-facing landscapes build heat throughout the day, suffering the most intense temperatures in the late afternoon when trapped heat can radiate back, creating a heat island effect on your porch or patio. Designing your outdoor living space for cooling is essential if you’ve no other location to place your louvered roof pergola. Be sure to include built-in ceiling fans and motorized screens for protection against afternoon sun into your pergola design. Light-colored, heat-reflective hardscaping and furnishings are also a must.
How Terrain Even Impacts Backyard Shade Cover Placement
Terrain impacts sun exposure and airflow in positive and negative ways:
- On the Slope – Where You’re Inclined to Weather ExtremesSteep north-facing slopes rarely get sun and suffer intense winds, making for a miserable winter environment. On the flipside, the rapidly draining soil of west-facing slopes, combined with intense afternoon sunlight, produces a dry, stifling summer setting.
- Down in the Valley – A Buffer or a Stuffer
Depending on the geographic location of your aluminum pergola, a valley location can serve as a great wind buffer - or trap moisture, limiting air circulation to create a stuffy environment.
What’s In Your Way? Trees, Structures, and Other Comfort Influencing Factors
Vegetation and structures surrounding your outdoor living area can also impact your microclimate:
- Hardscaping and pavement handle the heat in different ways. Dark surfaces retain and radiate heat, creating a warmer environment. Light-colored surfaces reflect light, helping control heat gain.
- Shade trees could offer cooling and sun protection in the summer while removing them could provide warmth in the winter.
- Dense bushes could guard against sun and wind exposure or impart warmth and improve air circulation if removed.
What If There Is No Clear Placement For Outdoor Shade?
Some homes really don’t have a great location for any shade protection. For these situations, we recommend adding motorized shades that can be lowered or raised to any height needed to protect you from the uncomfortable heat. These are easily installed with a pergola.
Feel like you need a roadmap to find the right location for your custom home pergola design? We’ve got you covered. The right outdoor living location and pergola accessories make all the difference in year-round comfort and use. The design pros at Denver Pergola Systems can set you up for success, ensuring lasting enjoyment and maximum return on your residential pergola investment. Contact us at 303-529-7819 to schedule a complimentary pergola design consultation today.