Shelter comes in many forms. What’s the best option for your needs? Ensure year-round comfort with these ideas to shade a patio.


This temporary shade solution offers limited protection for small areas, so you may need many when sheltering more than a few people. Cheap but flimsy, umbrellas are known for frequently flying off into the Denver sunset – and it’s no laughing matter. Thousands of umbrella-related injuries occur annually, causing minor to gruesome wounds. If you want safe, dependable patio shelter, leave flimsy umbrella designs for cocktails.

Shade Sails

Shade sails come in many colors and configurations. They function like a hanging sheet, attaching to nearby buildings and ground supports. Lifespan is about 5-10 years in prime conditions, making them a semi-permanent patio shade solution in some parts of the US. However, in the mountainous Denver region, where high winds are common, you’re best using them on a per diem basis to prevent your investment from being ripped away in a gust of wind.

Retractable Canopies and Awnings

Retractable canopies and awnings offer semi-permanent shade protection. Like shade sails, they come in many materials and patterns. They may be hand-crank or motorized. Properly maintained, they can last up to 10 years – but maintenance is no small feat. Most must be retracted in winds over 20mph to prevent severe frame and fabric damage. Many cannot handle rain or snow, which can collect and distort the fabric and frame. Prolonged exposure to UV light speeds up deterioration, and regular cleaning is required to prevent mold/mildew growth and staining from bird droppings. Fabric breaks down quickly, requiring frequent replacement at about two-thirds of the initial investment cost.


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Gazebos provide permanent shelter, often serving as an outdoor design centerpiece. They feature an octagonal or oval shape with multiple columns, railings, and a solid, dome-shaped fixed roof. Gazebos provide reliable sun and precipitation protection; however, space limitations, investment cost, upkeep, and lifespan often deter consumers from investing in gazebos. They typically last only about 5-10 years, depending on maintenance, which includes regular staining/sealing to prevent mildew, rot, and pest infestation. Wood costs remain high, and vinyl alternatives double or triple build costs, leading many consumers to invest in more versatile, lasting aluminum louvered pergola patio shelters.


Cabanas are favored by pool and spa owners and resorts and water parks for rentals. These semi-permanent shade structures vary greatly in construction, from fixed roof fabric structures you must disassemble in high winds and snow to the aluminum, louvered roof StruXure Cabana X, which offers lasting, all-weather protection. These plug-and-play, portable 10×10 aluminum units require no permit and feature adjustable footers for fast and easy installation. Use them alone or attach multiple units to quickly add versatile outdoor living space.


Pergolas come in many forms, including:

Slatted, open-roof pergola designs

A traditional, open pergola roof provides limited shade and no precipitation protection. Though aesthetically pleasing, open-roof pergolas offer limited function and suffer the same installation cost and maintenance woes as gazebos. Those looking for reliable shade and shelter will find them lacking.

Closed, fixed roof pergola designs

Fixed roof pergolas feature a less detailed design than gazebos and may be attached or detached. Like wood gazebos, they require substantial upkeep and a high initial investment for their relatively short lifespan.

Louvered roof pergola designs

Louvered patio roof systems provide versatile, permanent weather protection. They feature a series of horizontal slats called louvers that work like window blinds, rotating up to 170 degrees to give you the perfect amount of sun, shade, or ventilation. Louvers can also be fully closed to seal out rain. Luxury pergolas, like the StruXure Pivot 6, feature a low-maintenance, powder-coated, extruded aluminum design that withstands hurricane-force winds and heavy snow loads, providing a lifetime of use. Built-ins like LED lighting, fans, infrared heaters, motorized screens, and weather-sensing technology allow you to use your outdoor space year-round comfortably.


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Shade and Privacy Screens

Adding shade and privacy screens to your existing porch or pergola design provides improved shade protection as the sun’s angle changes throughout the day and from season to season. They also offer added protection from rain, winter snow, and winds. They’re ideal for west-facing patios and decks in the afternoon and evening.

Get Maximum Return On Your Outdoor Living Investment

Escape sun, rain, and snow while relaxing outdoors with versatile louvered roof patio shade. Use your outdoor living space year-round in comfort with motorized pergolas from StruXure Denver. Contact us at 303-500-6669 to learn more or to schedule an aluminum pergola design consultation today.


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