Can You Put A Tent Over A Pergola? (Find OUT)

Tents are an easy way to add shade and protection from the elements to your patio or deck. If you have a pergola in place, you can use it as part of the frame for your tent. 

In this article we’ll give you tips on choosing and setting up a canopy on top of a pergola so that you can enjoy both areas together!

What is the Difference between a Canopy, Pergola
Building a tent over a pergola is possible and can provide additional shade and protection.
Consider the size and structure of the pergola when determining if it can support the weight of a tent.
Securing the tent properly is essential to ensure stability and prevent damage to both the tent and the pergola.
Using a waterproof tent can help protect against rain and other elements.
Ventilation is important when placing a tent over a pergola to prevent heat buildup.
Regular maintenance and inspections are necessary to ensure the safety and durability of the tent and pergola.

Inspect the Pergola and Choose a Tent

Now that you’ve decided to put a tent over your pergola, it’s time to inspect the structure and choose a tent.

Consider the size of your pergola. If you have a large pergola, make sure that you can fit a tent over it. If not, maybe it’s time for an upgrade!

Make sure that your pergola is strong enough to support the weight of a tent. Don’t ask us how we learned this lesson—just take our word for it: avoid putting any kind of pressure on your wooden structures unless they’re designed specifically for that purpose (like this one).

Check for rot and mold on the wood beams or posts supporting your pergola before placing tension on them by hanging something heavy like a tent from them. This will help ensure they won’t collapse under pressure later down the line when you’re not paying attention like we did when we were kids trying out new things at campgrounds without supervision.”

If you’re wondering about the possibility of putting a plastic roof on a pergola, our comprehensive guide can provide the answers you seek. Discover the benefits, considerations, and steps involved in this process by visiting our article on can you put plastic roof on pergola.

Choose The Right Fabric and Color

You want your tent to last, so you need to choose a fabric that can withstand the elements. Most fabrics are UV-resistant, but some are better than others.

Some fabrics also have special properties that make them ideal for certain situations. For example, you may want something fire-retardant if you’re going camping and don’t want your tent to catch on fire when someone throws out a lit cigarette butt or sparks from a campfire fly into it.

Other fabrics have mildew resistance or rot resistance built in so they won’t break down if they get wet or stay damp for long periods of time. You might also look for waterproof materials or water resistant ones if you plan on having your pergola covered by rain and snow often.

Make Sure to Measure Your Pergola Before Buying a Canopy

Before you purchase a canopy to fit your pergola, make sure to measure it.

Using a tape measure and keeping in mind that there are usually two or three columns on a pergola, measure the width of your canopy.

Also measure the length of your canopy as well as its height when fully extended. If it’s not adjustable, you’ll want to take note of this measurement so that you can figure out how much clearance there will be between the bottom of your tent and ground level when set up.

Measure the distance between columns as well—you’ll want this information because no matter how sturdy they look, most pergolas aren’t designed to hold up large amounts of weight without breaking under pressure (it’s really just meant for shade).

Are you curious whether grass can grow under a pergola? Find out the answer and learn about the factors that affect vegetation beneath a pergola in our informative post on can grass grow under a pergola.

Consider Netting or Screens To Keep Insects Out

If insects are a problem, you can use netting or screens to keep them out of your tent. Netting and screens are available at most hardware stores in a variety of sizes, so if you’re looking for something specific (like the right size netting to cover your pergola), check out these options first.

If you’d rather not deal with attaching anything to the top of your tent, mosquito nets will also work well for keeping bugs out of your space. 

The smaller size makes it easier for them to overlap each other without falling in through the sides of the tent—and as an added bonus, they’ll help keep any water from dripping down into your sleeping area!

Mosquito NetFine mesh netting to prevent mosquito bites.
No-See-Um NetSmall mesh size to keep out tiny insects.
Screen PanelsSturdy screens for larger openings and durability.
Bug MeshLightweight mesh fabric to keep bugs at bay.

Make Sure to Purchase a Tall Enough Tent

While it’s common to put a large tent over a pergola, you may not have the room or budget for that. Before you purchase a tent, make sure it is tall enough so all of your guests can fit under it. 

If the tent is too short, you’ll have to purchase and set up another one in order to cover your pergola and keep out rain while still allowing people inside the structure itself. 

The easiest way to determine if a tent will work with your pergola is by measuring its height and width before buying anything!

Choose The Right Style of Canopy For Your Needs

Choosing the right type of canopy for your needs is all about matching up the size of your pergola with the size of your tent. 

This will ensure that you can get a good fit on both sides, and that there won’t be any problems with rain or wind getting in between them.

Tents come in many shapes and sizes. In some cases, a smaller tent may be enough to cover your pergola; but if you’ve got a large pergola or one made out of wood, then you’ll want something larger like an A-frame structure or even an entire pavilion made from steel tubing. 

These are ideal because they give plenty of room underneath them while still being strong enough not collapse under heavy winds or heavy snowfall (if applicable).

Have you ever wondered about the difference between a pergola and a gazebo? Our detailed explanation in the article is a pergola the same as a gazebo will shed light on the distinctive features and uses of these two structures.

Buy High Quality Accessories and Fasteners

Make sure the fasteners are strong enough to hold your tent’s weight. This is one of the most important things you need to consider when buying your accessories and fasteners. You want them to be strong enough to support the entire weight of your tent, not just part of it.

Make sure the fasteners reach down far enough into the ground so that they don’t come loose during high winds or storms.

Make sure they’re rust resistant, because if they aren’t, they could damage your fabric over time (and this can cost you a lot of money).

Finally, make sure that these products are durable—you want something that will last for years without breaking down under pressure!

Purchase A Flexible Fabric For Ease Of Use

The first thing to keep in mind is that you’ll want to buy a tent that’s designed for use over a pergola. It’s also important to make sure the tent is flexible, so it can be easily set up and taken down.

NylonLightweight and flexible material.
PolyesterDurable and versatile fabric.
SpandexStretchable fabric for enhanced flexibility.
RipstopResistant to tears and suitable for outdoor use.

Consider Purchasing Two Sets Of Tarp Clips – One for Each Corner

When you’re installing a tent over a pergola, you will likely need to use tarp clips to secure the canopy. Tarp clips have a hook on one end and a loop on the other. 

The hook is used to secure the tarp to the frame while the loop is used for hanging items from it like lanterns or lights. 

You’ll need one set of these clips for each corner; if your pergola has eight corners (four sides), then you’ll need eight sets of tarp clips – four for each side. You can get them at most hardware stores or online retailers like Amazon

When considering the addition of a tent to a pergola, it’s important to prioritize safety. Explore our article on are pergolas safe – 12 facts to know to gain valuable insights and tips for ensuring a secure and enjoyable outdoor experience.

Consider Picking A Tent That Is Waterproof, UV Resistant, Rot Resistant, And Mildew Resistant

When you’re picking a tent, consider looking for one that is waterproof and UV resistant. When you’re shopping for your pergola canopy, look for fabrics that are rot resistant, mildew resistant and waterproof. 

There are several types of fabric that can be used to make a tent:

Canvas is the most durable but it’s also the most expensive. It can be cleaned with soap and water as well as other household cleaners.

Vinyl is less expensive than canvas but it’s not as durable; however vinyl is easier to clean because there’s no need to use harsh chemicals on it like when cleaning canvas tents would require. Vinyl can also be used in conjunction with mesh or mesh liners so there’s plenty of ventilation inside even during rainy days!

Tent FeatureDescription
WaterproofProvides protection against rain and keeps the interior dry.
UV ResistantOffers resistance to harmful UV rays, preventing sun damage.
Rot ResistantResists rotting, prolonging the lifespan of the tent.
Mildew ResistantPrevents the growth of mildew, keeping the tent clean and fresh.

Always Check to Make Sure That Your Tent Is Flame Retardant and Fireproof

You should always check to make sure that your tent is flame retardant and fireproof. This is a safety precaution, as the last thing you want is for your pergola to catch on fire while you are trying to enjoy a nice night outside. 

If the tent itself has been treated properly, it will be able to withstand high temperatures and flames without causing any damage or harm.

To check that your tent is flame retardant and fireproof:

Make sure that all fabric in contact with the ground is double-stitched at least 0.5 inches wide in some places along its seams; this prevents heat from traveling through them into the rest of the structure of your tent!

If there’s even one place where fabric meets another piece of material (like when two pieces meet at an edge), they need reinforced stitching there as well! Make sure this happens before purchasing so no accidents happen after purchase date due back home with family members 🙂

Looking to enhance the waterproofing of your pergola, especially if it’s a solar pergola? Our in-depth resource on are solar pergolas waterproof provides valuable information and practical solutions to help you keep your pergola dry and protected.


We hope that this article has helped you to learn more about how to choose the right type of canopy for your needs. 

Remember that it is important to pick something that will last a long time and can stand up against all kinds of weather conditions, including high winds and heavy rainstorms.


Further Reading

Here are some additional resources for further reading on related topics:

DIY Waterproof Pergola Cover Ideas: Explore creative ideas and techniques for waterproofing your pergola to protect it from the elements.

Difference Between Tent, Canopy, and Pergola: Understand the distinctions between tents, canopies, and pergolas to make informed decisions about outdoor structures.

Pergola Shade Solutions: Discover various shade options and solutions for pergolas to create a comfortable and cool outdoor space.


Here are some frequently asked questions about pergolas:

What materials are commonly used to build a pergola?

Pergolas are typically constructed using materials such as wood, vinyl, or metal. The choice of material depends on factors such as desired aesthetics, durability, and maintenance requirements.

Can a pergola be attached to an existing structure, like a house?

Yes, pergolas can be attached to an existing structure, such as a house or a building. This provides a seamless extension of living spaces and can offer additional shade and outdoor comfort.

Do pergolas provide enough shade?

Pergolas offer partial shade depending on the design and the amount of coverage provided by the slats or roof. Additional shade options like fabric canopies or retractable awnings can be added to enhance the level of shade provided.

Can a pergola be customized to fit specific design preferences?

Yes, pergolas can be customized to fit specific design preferences. From choosing different styles and materials to adding decorative elements and accessories, pergolas can be personalized to match individual tastes and complement outdoor spaces.

Do pergolas require maintenance?

Pergolas may require regular maintenance depending on the material used. Wood pergolas may need staining or sealing to protect against weathering, while vinyl or metal pergolas may require occasional cleaning or repairs. Regular inspection and maintenance help ensure the longevity of the structure.