How much "shade area" is created by a 12x12 foot canopy that probably will be about 20 feet high. Also, is there a formula for figuring this out? Thank you.

by Mary Montgomery
(Lapine, AL)

Don't have a big tree in my front yard, so I am trying

to get some decent looking shade structures up to knock
off the afternoon sun. My house faces west.

I feel your pain. My house faces west too. For me, the hardest thing about a west facing house is that it's in complete shade all morning and then gets blasted by the hot afternoon sun. Plants burn easily.
Unfortunately, I don't know a formula for determining the amount of shade a structure will cast. When more shade is needed, I double or triple up on the layers on the top. This makes it harder for the sun to come through. You can also use a solid roof instead of an open one. The angle of the sun throughout the year is going to slightly shift where the shade is and how much.
FYI-When I design a pergola, the height is between 7-9 feet tall. If if gets too tall, it will look top heavy. If you are attaching it to a house, building it at a point on the house that looks architecturally correct is important. For example tying it in with the existing roof line, windows, and trim.
Hope this information helps. Thanks for your question.

Nancy

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