Shade or shelter?

We often get asked, when choosing an indoor outdoor solution, what is the difference between shade and shelter when it comes to choosing a covering?



A shelter is an all weather solution, so it allows you to enjoy the outside whatever the weather.

We provide pergolas and glass roofs all with fully fitted sides – be they fabric or glass – in order for you to enjoy an alfresco way of life.  You can add LED lighting and infrared heaters to make sure your structure can be used all year around.

Glass roof

A glass roof is another way of completely sheltering yourself from the elements.   If some shade is also required, glass roofs can be fitting with an under or over awning, ensuring both sun protection and also complete shelter.

Glass roofs are built as freestanding structures or lean to and can also be fitted with either glass sides or fabric screens.  Once again, optional heaters, lighting and robust drainage systems are available.

Pergola with louvred roof

Pergolas can be constructed with a louvred roof.  These are typically freestanding but can be lean-to if needed.  A louvred roof has slats which can rotated; angling them towards the sun for maximum sunlight beneath the structure, angling them for ventilation if needed, and away from the sun for cooling shade.  If it rains, the louvres can be closed for complete protection under the pergola. See some examples here…

Pergola with fabric roof

Some pergolas – such as the weinor collection – are fabric based pergolas.  These can still provide shelter as the canopy is waterproof.  They are more often than not a wall attached system – so the fabric is attached via a cassette to an external wall of your house, and there are two posts at the front, giving the structure stability.   Tarasola also provide retractable fabric roofs, and their designs  are more often than not freestanding options.

Pergolas can be fitted with a valances or fabric sides to provide extra shelter, just let us know your requirements.


Most customers who just want some shade choose either an awning or a pergola with a louvred roof.


An awning will provide shade throughout the day, and is ideal for customers who wish to enjoy some outdoor living, whilst being shaded from the sun.  We regularly fit awnings to the back and sides of houses, and also over the top of wooden pergolas so they can be used to provide shade in the day.

An additional valance at the front, can create more privacy, and may also help protect you from the less clement weather elements!  We have a wide variety of awnings – click here [awnings] for more information.

awning with valance fitted in Bicester - shade


Either freestanding or lean to, pergolas with louvred roofs provide shade – without the need for sides, pergolas are great shaders.  The louvred roofs allow the slats to be angled in such a way that as the sun moves around, the slats are able to continually shade you underneath.  The Caribbean Blinds louvred roof can be partly or completely retracted too, allowing even more options.

You can also choose from our waterproof fabric-based pergolas, such as markilux, weinor and Tarasola which also provide welcome shade.

Remote controlled and with rain sensors, these are also a great option for shading.

pergola with fabric roof (shelter)

Glass roof with underawning

A glass roof, whilst traditionally built to provide shelter, can also be used for shade if an under or over awning is fitted.  The awning can be partly extended or completely, depending on where the sun is in the sky, and if the weather turns quickly, you are still protected underneath.

A glass roof is often chosen when a client wants a structure to blend in with their outdoor living space. For our glass roof options, please click here [glass roofs] and please get in touch here to discuss the awning you would like to provide some shade.