The basic backyard pergola is always a nice spot to relax in the shade. Start with four posts, then simply add horizontal slats. Placing the posts closer or farther apart can control the amount of shade the area gets. With so many pergola options available, we’ve compiled several common pergola designs so that you can elevate your garden retreat. Adding or modifying the basic pergola is easy. To create a more sheltered space, add a sidewall. A wall can give you more privacy and protection from the elements.
A pergola can become part of a gardened area, an extension of your home, or perfect poolside. Extending the pergola over a pathway with flowers and fauna presents an interesting landscaping feature.
Many pergolas retain a square or rectangular shape, but don’t be afraid to get creative. Explore your space and come up with the design that’s right for you.
While most pergolas are free-standing, adding one to the side of your house can extend your living space. It also makes getting started much easier, as you already have one surface leveled.
Most pergolas are made of wood, but they don’t have to be. Many manufacturers employ PVC or vinyl pieces in pergola kits.
Your pergola doesn’t need to be confined to one area of your backyard either. Surrounding your pool with an extended pergola can give it a secluded, private feel, while giving all your guests a spot where they can get out of the sun.
To create an outdoor living space you’ll want to spend time in, construct your pergola to allow an outdoor fan to be mounted on the underside of the top layer.
Having a flattop surface doesn’t lend itself well to solid roofs on pergolas. However, you can add total sun coverage to the top and sides of your pergola by introducing retractable fabric awnings. When a little shade is necessary, pull the awning across the top and down the sides, and when not in use simply retract the awning.
Another way to bring the best of inside outside is mounting some outdoor TVs to your pergola. Imagine watching the big game poolside with the grill cooking some good eats.
Your backyard pergola can be as structured as you want it to be. For instance, bringing a deconstructed roof design to your pergola can give your backyard a touch of class. Construct the top as you would a regular roof, with trusses and exposed rafters.
Pergolas over hot tubs can add a secluded, private feel while soaking away the day’s stress. The posts can serve double duty as towel or robe hangers with a couple hooks installed.
Introduce trellised sides to your pergola, and you’ve got a great area to let your greenery stretch out and grow. The trellises allow your garden to grow upward, where the leaves and branches can accentuate the shade provided.
Editor’s note: Originally published 3/2016.