Wooden teak wood deck with sofa set covered with white bio climatic pergola.

Pergolas are all the rage in garden design.  A beautiful addition to any outside area, a pergola allows for a separated space dedicated to cool shade and attractive design.

The traditional pergola, whether fixed or free-standing, comes with slats and beams instead of a roof. This allows for dappled sunlight and cool breezes to grace you through the cleverly designed gaps. But when the sunlight is harsh, or even if there’s summer rain, you may find yourself wanting more protection from your pergola. 

As experts on garden buildings and pergola structures, we’ve compiled these fantastic pergola roof ideas, rounding up the best for you to get inspired to boost your structure’s design. Whether you’re looking for a modern pergola roof design, a purely waterproof design, or something completely flat, we’ve got you covered with these creative ideas for a pergola roof.

The Benefits of a Pergola Roof

Adding a roof to your pergola comes with a lot of benefits: 

  • Enhanced design: There are so many different design options for pergola roofs. You can really tailor your roof to your pergola to create a finishing touch that makes all the difference.
  • Shelter: Increased shelter from the elements means you get more usage out of your pergola, come rain or shine. 
  • Increased value: Adding a roof to your pergola will actually add value to your property as a whole as it’s such a sought-after garden structure.
  • Privacy: If your garden is quite open, or if it’s very near to your neighbours’, a roof can give an enhanced sense of privacy – especially over a hot tub. Read more hot tub pergola ideas for shelter and privacy.

Flat Roof Pergola Ideas

When looking at a flat roof for your pergola, it’s important to consider proper drainage. If a pergola roof is completely flat, rainwater will pour down the sides in an unappealing and impractical manner for the wrong kind of water feature! If you’re going for a flat roof, it needs to be slanted at a slight angle. Your pergola most likely already has this slanted design but if not, you need to add it by increasing one end of the pergola structure’s height. 

Fixed panels, whether wooden, metal, or plastic will work fantastically as flat pergola roof designs. It all depends on your personal style and budget. Keep reading for more ideas specifically for waterproofing your pergola and making additions to a modern pergola.

Waterproof Pergola Roof Ideas

Let’s be honest: when you’re living in the UK, weather conditions are often working against you. If you’ve got a beautiful pergola structure in your garden, you want to use it. So, here are some pergola cover ideas that ensure protection from the elements.

A Clear Plastic Top

Modern trendy design pergola arbor made of metal and plastic parts

This is the most budget-friendly way to install a waterproof cover for your pergola. Clear plastic roofing will provide protection from the rain while still allowing sunlight to shine through. This will leave your pergola feeling bright and airy, as it should be. Plastic is easy to clean and durable, too, especially corrugated sheets. You can easily install these kinds of sheets yourself, reducing costs even further.

Metal Roofing

Metal is a good choice for a waterproof pergola roof. Aluminium metal in particular is strong and lightweight, able to resist corrosion and extreme weather conditions. Metal roofing can pair well with a wooden pergola for a deft combination of traditional and contemporary, boasting a discerning design eye.

Wooden Roofing

If you love the look of your timber framed pergola, a wooden roof can be easily installed, too. The slats and beams already on the pergola are easy to build on and a solid roof can make the structure look complete. Oak is a wonderful material for its superior weatherproofing properties, making it ideal when you’re looking for outdoor pergola roof ideas.

Modern Pergola Roof Ideas

Modern trendy design pergola arbor made of metal and plastic parts

For those looking to bring a contemporary touch to their pergola design, here are the best ideas for modern pergolas:

Adjustable Louvres

A popular design for the modern pergola is a metal louvre, which consists of slats that can be open and closed. This is the best type of roofing for maximum versatility. With adjustable louvres, you can change whether your pergola is fully covered or open depending on the weather or your mood. These trendy louvres offer a chic roof design that looks contemporary and sleek while also being eminently practical. You can get louvred pergola roofing that’s automated or manually adjustable, making it suitable for different budgets. 

Shade Sail

pergola of metal galvanized construction with blue planks in the side

A shade sail is a visually appealing way to transform your pergola and provide beautiful shade. It’s like a parasol but needs no pole, and goes over your pergola with simple installation. Shade sails come in various sizes and designs so that you can pick the best one for your aesthetic and match the dimensions of your pergola. Selecting a waterproof fabric like PVC means UV protection and superb weatherproofing. 

Decorative Pergola Roof Ideas

If style is your main concern, there are a number of eye-catching ways to cover your pergola and enhance your outdoor living space: 

Garnish With a Flower Canopy

Purple flowers of the blue rain flowers (Wisteria sinensis) grow on a wooden pergola

Embellishing a wooden pergola with a canopy of climbing plants and flowers bursting with vibrant colours is one of the most exquisite ways to enhance your pergola’s design. If your plant covering is dense enough, you’ll have more protection from weather conditions with a gorgeous decorative flourish to boot. Imagine the rich fragrance drifting from your flower adornment after a light summer rain. Idyllic.

Go Tropical With Thatching

Evoke a tropical paradise with thatched roofing. Not only does this natural material look beautiful, but its thickness also provides a solid block of shade for those hot summer days.

Go Rustic With Bamboo 

Bamboo canes in a latticed fashion tied atop your pergola create an enticing natural charm. Add some foliage and climbing plants for a really exquisite finishing touch. 

How Much Does It Cost to Add a Roof to Your Pergola?

The cost of installing a pergola roof or pergola cover can vary depending on the materials used and how big your pergola is.  Adding a roof to your pergola doesn’t have to be a huge expense, though. If you’re looking for pergola roof ideas on the lower end of pricing, plastic panels are one of the best options. Natural roofing like plants and flowers will also be more affordable but do need a lot of upkeep.

On the other end of the spectrum, installing an automated metal louvre roof design will be expensive. However the practical benefits as well as the style it will bring means it’s often worth the money. 

Enhance Your Garden With a Bespoke Wooden Pergola

If you’re looking for a pergola you can customise to your unique wants and needs, look no further than The Porch Specialist. We are experts in timber construction and make high-quality wooden pergola kits that offer stunning additions to your outdoor living space. We deliver these kits to your UK home where you can easily assemble them.

Get in touch with us today to find out how you can make a pergola your own and get a free, no-obligation quote on a stunning kit.

And if you found these pergola roof design ideas helpful, get even more inspiration with our 7 stylish garden pergola ideas