Pergola Curtains: Your Complete Measuring Guide

The growing trend of fully equipped outdoor rooms has inspired the use of pergola curtains to manage low hanging sunlight, wind breezes, and privacy from the neighbors. Regardless of how you decide to add curtains to your pergola, there are some fundamental measuring guidelines that will ensure you achieve your desired outcomes.

Mounting Options: Track vs. Rod

First, determine what type of hardware you will be using. There are two options to consider: track or rod. Tracks are almost flush against the surface they mount to, while rods typically stand off the surface. If coordinating fit and finish with a pergola canopy is involved, tracks are the better option (ShadeFX now offers a track system from Shade Voila).

Measuring Height

The most important and fundamental dimension is the ‘hung height’. This is the distance from the point that the curtain is actually hung (a sliding hook or a hole which the curtain rod runs through) to the ground or deck (minus clearance from ground).


Look at your pergola and decide at what level you want to have the rods mounted. Measure from the center of the rod (or the hanger hook land, the lowest point of the hook, if your rod uses hangers) to the ground and take off one inch for clearance of the bottom edge of the curtain from the ground. This is the hung height. Add the amount of fabric you want above the rod to your hung height to get the total fabric height. You now have the hung height and the total fabric height.


If you are using a track like the one made by Shade Voila (our pergola curtain kit supplier), the bottom of the track will usually line up with the bottom of the pergola beam or rafter. Locating the track above the bottom edge of the beam or rafter changes the folding ability of the curtain. Please consider this before deciding where you want to locate the tracks. Refer to the drawing below and note that if the bottom of the track is above the bottom of the beam or rafter, the fabric can only fold inward.

Measuring Width

Measuring the pergola curtain width is done the same way for both rods and tracks. When measuring width, look at the space available on the pergola frame to make sure there is room for the rod or track. You may want to go 10’ wide, but there may be posts or corner braces that limit that to 9’8”. Therefore, make sure there is room for the track or rod you will be mounting. Then simply order the curtains to be the same width or less as you see fit. This will eliminate the chances of you ordering curtains wider than the track or rod you can mount.

Difference Between Indoor Curtain and Outdoor Curtain Width

Indoor curtains usually still have folds in them when they are closed. This is done with a formula of making the actual fabric the width of opening times 1-1/2 or two. In outdoor curtains, to prevent fabric flapping around in the breeze, we recommend the fabric be the actual width of the opening you are covering. When zipped closed, there will be minimal flapping in the breeze. Also, consider wind anchors which are available with our Shade Voila pergola curtain kits. They are snaps that anchor the lower edge of the curtain to the ground which will facilitate the use of the curtain as a minor wind break.

By following these steps, the curtains you install will operate smoothly without brushing on the ground, and will close in the middle with a minimum of slack to best manage the breezes. Now you can experience an extra dimension of privacy and protection from the elements, blocking out the low afternoon sun as well as the view of the neighbours. It’s time to get a book, and relax.

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