Solutions for large bifold doors and hot interiors!

In the pursuit of open, light-filled living spaces, large bifolding doors have become a hallmark of modern architecture. Yet, with this expansive embrace of natural light comes a thermal challenge—excessive heat gain.

How to create shade over my bifold doors? In conversation with Ruth Marshall, CEO and Award Winning Garden Designer we explore the garden design challenge and how to provide homeowners who find that the gorgeous open plan living/dining/kitchen rooms they have created are almost unusable in hot weather.

patio cover for bifold doors

Client Challenge – it is too hot to use!

One of our recent clients posed their problem:

“The glazing is gorgeous but our kitchen/dining room was almost unusable in the hot summer of 2022. We also find the low winter sun an issue which made us reach for the window blinds too frequently. We needed to find a way to make it cooler and more usable without obscuring our lovely views which were why we put the bifolds in in the first place”

The glazing is designed to give fantastic views out over the garden or surrounding country, yet it seems as if the only solution is to add blinds which rather defeat the purpose. However, if you already have the building and the problem what can you do?

Enter aluminium pergolas, the silent heroes that not only complement the aesthetics but actively address and mitigate the thermal issues associated with large bifolding doors.

pergola with outdoor kitchen

The design approach – beautiful and practical!

Ruth says, “As garden designers, we are looking to maximise views from the house, encourage the residents to use the space as much as possible, and to create a beautiful and practical space. Increasingly, with a focus on indoor/outdoor living, this means adding covered outside space, and adapting the garden to fit the modern designs of the houses. Adding some shade and cover to the garden used to be a “niche” request but is now near the top of many clients’ wish lists”.

Positioned strategically above large bifolding doors, aluminium pergolas act as a shield against the relentless onslaught of sunlight. By reflecting a significant portion of the sunlight away, they curb the intensity of heat entering your living space, offering a more comfortable and temperate indoor environment.

The pergola can be powder-coated to a colour to work well with your garden scheme, and can include lighting, heating and even a sound system so that it acts as an extension to the house.

large pergola over back wall

Maximising the energy efficiency

The synergy between large bifolding doors and aluminium pergolas contributes to a more energy-efficient home. By managing thermal gain effectively, homeowners reduce the need for excessive air conditioning, leading to energy savings and a diminished environmental footprint. This not only aligns with sustainable living principles but also adds a practical dimension to the allure of modern design.

Large bifolding doors often mean varying sunlight angles throughout the day. With adjustable louvers, homeowners gain precise control over the amount of sunlight streaming through. This dynamic control not only optimizes natural light levels but allows for the strategic management of thermal gain.

The louvers can be closed to for a rain proof shelter, and screens can be added to the sides to give flexible wind, sun and weather protection, something that retractable blinds cannot offer.”

These structures can be created bespoke to fit your property – with spans of up to 7m, and crafted to fit your needs.

7m aluminium pergola

How much does an aluminium pergola cost?

Check out our other blog on the cost of aluminium pergolas. They are expensive structures ranging from £20-30k fully fitted. They do however last well and are very low maintenance, adding functionality and value to the property. Given the investment it is definitely worth designing it into your overall garden, ensuring that you make the space work well and the details are properly considered.


Aluminium pergola structures, when thoughtfully integrated, offer a sophisticated solution to thermal gain control, allowing homeowners to curate an outdoor haven that is as comfortable as it is stylish.

Compared with pull out automated blinds they offer greater flexibility and functionality and are lower maintenance and more contemporary in feel than traditional wooden structures.

Ruth is a convert and often suggests them to her clients “We find that the flexibility of these structures, the low maintenance and attractive finishes fit almost all building styles and when designed into the garden from the outset, they can enhance the outdoor space. Nice internal blinds can be things of beauty, but rarely the right solution to this problem!”

If you are looking at redesigning your garden to make the most of your outside space and enable your inside space to be usable 365 days of the year contact Ruth for a chat.