Garden pergolas are shady structures with beginnings date back to ancient Egypt, Rome and Greece, and were common features in Renaissance gardens throughout Europe. Their main purpose was to shade walkways, pools and terraces. The earlier versions were usually made from stone pillars with wooden cross-beams with a lattice roof.
Today, they are often made from pressure-treated wood or cedar. The many varieties of maintenance-free lumber products are also widely used. They provide the look of wood, but never need painting and resist rot, peeling and fading. They are also available in various colors.
Benefits of Garden Pergolas
Many homes do not have pergolas, and this might be because many homeowners do not actually know what a pergola can do them. However, pergolas offer so many benefits for your and your home, including:
- Defined space. Along with the wall and roof beams, pergolas include some type of deck floor or concrete flooring. In a yard filled with grass and living landscaping, a pergola helps define an outdoor living space. It creates a definitely area for eating, entertaining or lounging around.
- Shade. Some pergolas have simple beams across the top, giving a roof-like structure; others have fabric or lattice that creates an even more defined top cover. While they do not provide total shade, the beams and latticework provide some relief from the sun.
- Space for growing. You can also grow vines or other plants that need support on pergolas. Not only will climbing plants be an attractive addition to the pergola, but they will also provide you with even more shade and privacy.
- Value. Building or buying a pergola is not necessarily cheap, but the money you invest will come back to you when you sell your home. Adding a defined and attractive outdoor space makes your property more attractive, adding as much as 20% value to your home.
Ideas for a Garden Pergola
Depending on their size, pergolas often become an extension of your main home, and may be used for entertaining, dining, or as a gateway or quiet oasis for reading or enjoying morning coffee.
- Get your pergola painted or stained, and accented with lighting, plants and other accessories.
- Install your pergola along the entire length of the house, similar to an awning. It can extend out farther at different points to create interest and seating areas underneath.
- Use it to cover a hot tub. Get something large to cover your whole tub like the Sonoma 1216 and 16 Pergola - Redwood by Outdoor Greatroom Company.
- Put it in a random area of the yard to create a shady spot to escape from the afternoon sun. Add a nice little bench, and plant climbing roses or other scented vines nearby. Cover it with tin or shingles to create extra coverage.
- Create road appeal by arranging your pergola over a front porch in place of a standard room. Paint or stain it the same color as your shutters or house trim.
- Instead of the standard lattice look on the roof, use strips of bamboo placed side by side. This creates additional shade and gives the structure a twig furniture look.
- Grow vines on your pergola like hops, jade, wisteria, cypress, morning glory, and other varieties of climbing roses. They are also a great place to grow vegetables like peas and Scarlett Runner Beans.
- Give your pergola added style by adding architectural accents like a curved top, cylindrical wooden column supports or design a top that flows with the roof lines of your home.
- Dress up the open sides with outdoor bamboo shades, fabric curtains, or a manicured Boxwood hedge.
- Use it to create a garden filled with shade-loving plants, such as hostas, yellow corydalis, bleeding hearts, lungwort, monkshood and bigroot geranium.
- Give your pergola a rustic look by using rough logs and unstained beams. Weave alder or willow twigs in the roof and display your twig furniture below.
- Get a pergola with a hanging swing like the Western Red Cedar Pergola with a Swing Set by All Things Cedar. Add a small table, a good book and a cool drink and you have the perfect recipe for a lazy afternoon.