Types of retractable pergolas

By April 26, 2022 No Comments

You decided that you want a pergola to utilise and enjoy your outdoor space. Whether it is for personal use in your garden or for business purposes, a pergola is a great shading solution for any setting.

The next step is to think about what type of pergola you are looking for. Do you want a wooden pergola with a retractable roof? Are you searching for a retractable roof and sides so that you are fully protected from the British weather?

Pergola by material.

The variety of materials and styles can make choosing the right pergola for you hard and time-consuming. Make an informed decision by seeing the advantages and disadvantages of some of the pergola materials available.

Wooden Pergolas

Wooden pergolas are a very popular choice. These boast a more natural and rustic look suitable for small residential spaces and commercial establishments. A wooden pergola is very versatile and can be customised to meet your requirements.

Whether you want a pergola with an open roof, a wooden pergola with a retractable roof, or even a pergola with a canopy that covers parts of the pergola, a wooden pergola is a great choice.


  • Cost-effective. They are cost-effective with timber being a relatively in-expensive material
  • Withstand weather conditions. Wood is quite a robust material which can withstand poor weather conditions.
  • Flexible designs. The aesthetic designs possible with wood are more flexible due to the material.
  • Can be repainted. Repainting is possible to freshen up the pergola and give a new look to the design.


  • Require regular maintenance. A wooden pergola will require sealing or painting every two to three years in order to protect it from the weather and maintain its aesthetics. If it isn’t maintained the wood could warp, crack and rot which would need to be replaced thus adding even more costs to the pergola.

Aluminium Pergolas

An aluminium pergola is also a very popular choice due to its high levels of durability and low maintenance. It is a great choice for a more modern property, such as a high-end hotel or luxury restaurant.

Aluminium pergolas, such as pergolas with retractable fabric roofs, can be paired with soft materials, such as fabric roofs, for a visually stunning aesthetic balance of materials.


  • Durability. Aluminium is a strong and durable material, capable of withstanding the elements.
  • Low maintenance. Less maintenance is needed for aluminium pergolas plus, there are long-lasting.
  • Customisable. Aluminium pergolas can be fully customisable to fit the design you want.


  • More expensive than wooden pergolas. The main drawback to an aluminium pergola is the cost. The initial cost of material is higher in comparison to a wooden pergola. This can be seen as a drawback but for the advantage of less maintenance and stronger materials, it could be the more viable option for you.

Glass Pergolas

Having a pergola with a retractable roof and sides made of glass will allow you to fully make the most out of your panoramic outdoor views. Glass pergolas allow you to enjoy the outdoors with full protection from any adverse weather conditions.

Retractable glass roofs are a step ahead of simple pergolas. These feature a retractable glass roof that can open and close, offering increased flexibility and functionality. These are the perfect all-weather solution for an entertainment space or a dining area.


  • Increased natural light. With a glass roof pergola, you will be able to fully enjoy as much natural light as possible.
  • Protection from the elements. Glass pergolas that feature a retractable roof will shelter you from the weather conditions.
  • Energy-efficient.


  • More maintenance. In order to keep the nice and clean aesthetic, the glass must be cleaned often to remove any stains and markings.
  • Less shade. Glass roof pergolas will not offer as much shade as other types of pergolas. However, retractable fabric awnings can be installed on top of the roof to ensure you have shade on sunny days.

Pergola by type of roof.

Once you have picked the right material for your pergola, it is essential to consider the correct type of roof. Depending on the area you live in, you might have specific roof requirements.

Traditional pergolas.

Traditionally, pergolas feature a static lattice-style roof that only offers shade. Even though traditional pergolas look beautiful in all outdoor spaces, these lack functionality. If you want to experience your outdoor area all year round, it is vital to choose a pergola with roof.

Pergolas with Fabric Roofs.

A fabric roof is a great option to act as a canopy for your pergola providing shade and some levels of protection against rain and wind. A fabric roof for your pergola is a simple and cost-effective option to have some form of roofing on your pergola without compromising your outdoors experience.

Low-quality fabric roofs can be damaged by strong winds and heavy snowfall. These will need to be removed or stored away if adverse weather conditions are inbound. However, this will not be a problem with a retractable fabric roof. Retractable fabric roofs can be automatically stored during bad weather conditions, keeping them in great condition for many years to come.

Pergolas with Retractable Roofs.

Retractable roof pergolas allow you to enjoy the outdoors in all weather conditions. If it’s a nice summer day and you are looking to enjoy the sun, you can full retract your roof and let the sun in. However, if the weather takes a sudden turn for the worse, which is not surprising for British weather, then you can close the roof and still be able to comfortably enjoy your outdoor space from the inside of your pergola.

Retractable and tilting roof pergolas also feature slabs that can be tilted to offer shade. These are available as frameless retractable and tilting louvre roofs, retractable and tilting roofs with frame and pitched retractable roof systems. These are incredibly flexible pergolas that are suited for both businesses and residential spaces, such as outdoor dining areas or outdoor kitchens. We have recently installed a retractable rolling louvred roof with glass ends and lighting at a residential area in Woodford Green.

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