There are only two types of shade roofs, no matter when it sits on your property or what style you select; solid, and trellised or slatted. These are broad categories, but it is this that determines the kind of shade possible in your outdoor living space. Scottsdale and Phoenix landscaping clients tend to select a trellised roof shade structure for a variety of reasons.


A shade structure designed to hold the weight of a solid roof naturally must be built to hold the weight, which means that such a patio cover costs more before we even get to the roofing material itself. The clay tile roof is very heavy, calling for extras like bigger footers beneath the support posts, which must be pillars instead of simple wood posts. The roof structure is also completely different requiring a lot more wood and engineering. The solid roof style is more commonly attached to the house like an over-sized porch than it is installed free-standing.

But this is the traditional solid roofed shade structure. The recent trend of shade covers with corrugated steel roofing and cloth roofing allows for combining the lighter weight less expensive under-structure for a more budget-friendly solution to total shade on the patio or pool deck.


It used to be that a tight budget meant that your only choice in shade structures was the simplest trellis-roof ramada or rustic pergola style. Naturally, this could be finished in a to best compliment your home and patio pavers. With a bit more to invest in this portion of the landscaping project adding post support pillars, and some style to the ends of the roof beams and slats is possible. This gives your shade roof some style, but does little to increase the amount of shade you can enjoy.


Shade created with a open slatted roof is broken. Getting the look without breaking the budget means sacrificing shade by spacing the trellising boards farther apart. This causes less shadow to be cast, but some relief from the Phoenix sun is definitely better than none at all! Now you can have solid shade added to the more budget-friendly shade structure with a Sunbrella fabric roof that comes in a variety of colors and has an excellent life. Corrugated steel roofing can be installed in it’s natural rustic gray and allowed to weather, or you can have it painted to flow with the surrounding elements.


The traditional rounded pillar is quite at home with the architecture seen in the north and east, but here in the southwest, a square pillar looks much better. You can get a variety of finishes from simple stucco to stone or brick, and even a combination. It all depends on the flavor you’re after. Full length shade roof pillars can also be topped with capitals – that fancy part beneath the roof that came over from the Old World. There are styles of pillar caps that blend very nicely with the more rustic architecture we have here in Phoenix and Scottsdale.

The weight of the wood posts used as the roof support also changes the appearance of your shade roof. You have options that are also connected to cost from 4″ posts to 8″ posts. If you like the full log post look, which is very rustic, it is possible to have shade structure support posts 12″ wide or more, but bear in mind that until it is milled a tree is not a uniform width from the top to the bottom of the harvested trunk.


You can add a modern, traditional, or rustic look to almost any patio cover design. Smooth texture is rarely rustic, though it can be traditional, but most often it is modern. Uniform brick used in the columns or pillar supports will look traditional or modern depending on the brick itself you select, but to have brick here that looks rustic only the more irregular clay bricks will do. Stone can fit into any one of these decorating styles, but it depends on the face finish chosen. Stucco can have a surface that is quite smooth to one that is very rustic.

And naturally the roof itself will have it’s affect on the style your new shade roof ends up fitting into. Clay tiles are very traditional, but can work well in both modern or rustic designs. The open slat trellised roof also will fit into anyone’s decor preference as it is influenced by the size of the lumber used, the finish applied to the wood, and also the treatment to the ends of the boards themselves. Sunbrella fabric roofs are definitely a contemporary look. Corrugated steel can be super modern, transitional, and even very rustic depending on the rest of the structure and the finish applied to the metal. For a really rustic look consider reclaimed corrugated steel from old agricultural buildings that offer instant age patina.

5 Phoenix Shade Roof Design Tips was last modified: by