What Is A Pergola?

pergola designsAn outdoor pergola is a functional addition to the outdoor space of any home. They are rather easy-to-assemble and can be built as part of DIY home based projects. Pergolas are used for decorating the outdoors and creating a shaded seating space. You can use a pergola for a more specific purpose. Pergolas act as the focal point in the outdoor space to a large extent. It is important to have a basic understanding of how to design outdoor pergolas to ensure that your outdoor space is used in the best and aesthetically-pleasing manner. You can use the following tips to understand and choose a pergola design:

1. Freestanding Pergola Designs

Freestanding pergolas are the most flexible in terms of placement. They can be installed in any part of the yard, part of the patio space or around the pool. Wooden posts are usually used for freestanding pergolas. This involves a bit more woodworking skills to balance the pergola.

Rectangular freestanding pergolas are the conventional option but slightly curved edges can also be built. Choose the space for a freestanding pergola with care. It is useless to build this kind of pergola in close proximity of the walls because it can render the space between the posts and the wall.

2. Attached Pergola Designs

Attached pergolas are common in residential pergola designs. This type is easier to make since they use an existing structure of the house as support. One end is anchored by the supporting structure and the other is secured with posts.

Attached pergolas should match its surrounding/supporting surfaces. For example, if a pergola is in the vicinity of brick or stone surfaces, unfinished wooden posts aren’t the best option. You would need to paint or stain the pergola posts to ensure that they appear complementary to the surrounding landscape.

3. Tips for Embellishing Outdoor Pergolas

Even the most humble-looking pergola can be enhanced by adding some climbing plants like vines. The presence of flowering plants also softens the look of bigger pergolas that sometimes appear to be very rigid.

You can also add hanging baskets of flowering plants from the top of the pergola along with directing the climbing plants along the pergola’s body. The posts can also be covered with drapes to neutralize their functional look.

4. Pergola Design Basics: Materials & Basic Designing Precautions:

  • Hardwoods are the best option for pergolas. Woods like redwood and cedar combine durability with a visual appeal. Hardwoods like cedar usually don’t warp, needing minimal care.
  • The pergola’s height shouldn’t exceed that of the windows as this can block the natural daylight entering the home’s interiors. If establishing a taller pergola is inevitable, use widely-spaced planks of wood to create the roof. This ensures enough daylight along with creating semblance of a pergola roof. This is often referred to as a lattice-like structure for the pergola roof.
  • Be sure to choose climbing plants like vines with care since they have different growing needs. Heavy vines like wisteria should be used only among sturdy pergolas made of heavy woods due to their additional weight while morning glories need minimal support to grow as they are light plants.