Blunting the sun's rays adds beauty and function to a backyard patio

A unique curved pergola along the side of the house was supplemented a few years later with a complementary outdoor living area shaded with a new pergola. Both pergolas were designed by Hanson Carlen Architecture and Construction. - HANSON CARLEN PHOTO
Hanson Carlen photo
A unique curved pergola along the side of the house was supplemented a few years later with a complementary outdoor living area shaded with a new pergola. Both pergolas were designed by Hanson Carlen Architecture and Construction.

When it comes to sunshine, it's easy to think "The more the better!" after a cold dreary winter. But with long summer days, all that sunshine can become problematic.

That was the issue facing North Spokane homeowners when they contacted Hanson Carlen Architecture and Construction to help build in some shade around their back patio. "In this particular project they get a lot of heat gain on that part of the house," says architect Janette Hruban. "They had an existing deck there, and it was so hot in the summertime in the afternoons that they couldn't really use it."

HANSON CARLEN PHOTO
Hanson Carlen photo

So Hruban designed an 840-square-foot deck topped with a pergola to filter the sunshine and create a transitional outdoor room between the house and a backyard pool. A previous project for the family included a unique curved-top pergola on the side of the house, designed in part to add shade but also to mitigate problems with snow. Hruban designed the new outdoor room's pergola and arched gateway to the pool to integrate with the previous project. "We've got the curved beam that reflects the other one, that is kind of the entrance into the pool area," she says. The clever connection helped garner the project a 2021 Chrysalis national award in the Outdoor Living Under $75,000 category.

HANSON CARLEN PHOTO
Hanson Carlen photo

The decking was laid to minimize issues with the material contracting and expanding, which occurs despite the partial shade from the pergola. "It has concealed hinges," explains Hruban. And rather than using random joints, "We ran the boards straight and then put another board in the opposite direction so that the expansion and contraction comes all at the same spots so you don't notice it like when you do random boards."

click to enlarge HANSON CARLEN PHOTO
Hanson Carlen photo

To help the outdoor room's usefulness stretch into the evening hours, Hruban added lighting, including dimmable lights on the beams of the pergola and small lights along the edge of the deck. "We also have some bollards that are also on the deck, so they have a variety of lighting options," Hruban adds. The homeowners completed the design by adding local art from their collection as well as outdoor furniture and an assortment of colorful plantings.

The project was completed in about six months in late 2020, though now Hruban says similar projects would now take about 18 months from design to completion.

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About The Author

Anne McGregor

Anne McGregor is a contributor to the Inlander and the editor of InHealth. She is married to Inlander editor/publisher Ted S. McGregor, Jr.