Stay Warm Outdoors: How to Enclose Your Pergola for Winter

panels to enclose pergola for winter comfort

We’re all about getting our outdoor space as cozy as possible, and  adding a pergola is a simple way to  add a touch of elegance and charm to any backyard or garden and allows you to enjoy it fully. It provides a shaded area to relax, eat, chat and enjoy the outdoors while protecting you from the sun (or rain or wind). However, during the winter season, it can be challenging to enjoy the pergola due to the cold weather. In this article, we will discuss how to enclose a pergola for winter, the types of pergolas, materials used for pergolas, and last but not least, how to enclose a pergola.

Types of Pergolas

To start at the beginning, what is a pergola? There are several types of pergolas that are available on the market and that you can choose from. Each has its unique style, design, features, perks and downs that make it stand out. Below are some of the most common types of pergolas.

Enclosed Pergola Attached To House 

It is built against the side of a house or structure. That’s probably the most common type you’ll see around. It provides a perfect extension to your home’s outdoor space and is ideal for patios, decks or for backyards.

Freestanding Pergola 

A freestanding pergola is not attached to any structure and can be placed anywhere in your backyard or garden. It is perfect for larger outdoor spaces and provides more shade than an attached pergola. It’s similar to a gazebo but has a more durable and solid feeling to it.

Floating Pergola 

A floating (or awning) pergola is a unique design that appears to float above the ground. It is perfect for gardens or small outdoor spaces. It’s attached to the house but does not rely on pillars to stand, it’s rather attached straight to the house and possibly secure via wires or poles attached to a higher point in the wall. It’s ideal for balconies or smaller outside areas and it will leave the down space completely free.

Arched Pergola 

An arched pergola has a curved design that adds a touch of elegance to any backyard. It is perfect for gardens or outdoor spaces that require a unique design. It has its own unique charm but it can be more challenging to winterise this type of pergola.

Modular Pergola 

A modular, or louvred, pergola is built with rafters that are adjustable and can be moved to your liking. For some high end models, there is an electrical remote or button that allows you to change the direction of the rafters or close them up as needed.

Shaded Pergola 

A shaded pergola is a type of pergola that is covered with a canopy or fabric. It provides more shade than an open-top pergola and is perfect for hot summer days. 

Materials Used for Pergolas

There are a variety of materials that are used, each with its unique benefits and drawbacks. Below are some of the most common materials used for pergolas.


It’s a popular material for pergolas because it is durable, sturdy, and adds a natural aesthetic to any backyard or garden. However, it does require regular maintenance to prevent mould and potential attacks from insects.


Aluminium is a lightweight material that is perfect for pergolas because it is durable and does not rust. It requires little maintenance and is easy to clean. It’s also relatively cheap, which is always a nice perk.


Concrete is a sturdy material that is perfect for large pergolas. It is durable and requires little maintenance. However, it is not a flexible material and can be difficult to modify once installed. It might also not match the vibe or aesthetic of most gardens, hence, it’s quite a rare choice in residential grounds.


Steel is a durable material that is perfect for large pergolas. It is strong and can withstand harsh weather conditions. Again, not so popular.

Enclosing a Pergola Ideas

Enclosing a pergola for winter requires some creativity and planning. It can be, though, your best bet and investment to get the most out of your pergola and outdoor space during the winter and difficult weather conditions. Below are some ideas on how to enclose a pergola for winter.

Add Insulated Curtains 

Installing insulated curtains or drapes is an effective and easy way to enclose your pergola for winter. They are the cousins of your regular pergola curtain with heavier outdoor fabric, and it can help keep the cold air out while creating a warm ambiance. Insulated curtains are especially useful in areas with high winds and low temperatures.

Clear Vinyl Sidings

Clear vinyl sidings are a great (and cheap) way to enclose your pergola while still allowing natural light to filter through. They provide excellent protection against wind, rain, and snow, while keeping your outdoor space bright and inviting. Clear vinyl sidings can be customized to fit any pergola size and shape. This is a very popular option and suitable for DIY.

Install Shade Screens 

Shade screens are a practical and stylish way to enclose your pergola for winter. They can be made of different materials, such as mesh or fabric, and can be easily installed or removed. Shade screens can help protect against the wind and cold, while also providing privacy and sun protection in the summer. But because the fabrics can often be light, it’s a practical solution for places where the winters are not too harsh.

Install a Roof 

Installing a roof over your pergola is another effective way to enclose your space for winter for pergolas that only have fixed rafters. A roof provides excellent protection against the elements, and can also add an architectural element to your outdoor space. You can choose from different materials, such as wood or metal, and different styles, such as a pitched or flat roof. Though, again, it’s best to consider the local weather: adding a roof will shelter you from rain for example, but not from strong winds, so it might be a nice add on if you’re looking to grill something on the go and want to protect yourself from the rain but probably it’s not going to be optimal if you’re looking to hang there while the weather is too cold.

Enclosed Pergola Kits 

If you want a hassle-free way to enclose your pergola for winter, pre-made patio enclosure kits are a great option. These kits come with all the materials you need to winterize your pergola. They are easy to install and come in a variety of styles to suit your taste and budget.


How to enclose a pergola for winter? As we saw, with the right materials and design, you can create a cozy and inviting space that allows you to enjoy your outdoor space during the colder season. Most of the solutions are suitable for DIY but you can always consult with a pergola/patio specialist if you’re not too handy or wish to have the job done by an expert. The next step, to perfect the experience, would be to add a heat source. With some creativity and planning, you can create the perfect winter oasis in your backyard or garden.

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