“Splendor in the shade” might be the old-fashioned way to describe the elegant use of the pergola, but today’s designs add a bit of edge to this outdoor must-have.
Freestanding or an extension of one’s backyard patio, the pergola’s flexibility makes it an ideal addition to one’s home.
Landscape plays a huge role in the pergola’s layout, with everything from surrounding trees, flora & fauna, and even your own house providing the ideal canvas on which to incorporate the pergola. Erected under the shady branches of a beloved family tree or built as a stand-alone structure complete with a fireplace and built-in seating area, the pergola can be adapted to any greater household scheme, while providing years of in-style use and enjoyment.
Open-and-shut sides and latticework are ideal for the cottage inclined, while solid stucco and thick wooden beams leave a particularly dramatic impression. Columns and pillars lend a grand classical influence, while the simple accent pergola creates just as lovely an impression, without all the pomp or fuss.
Your outdoor space is something of an open-air living room, dining room, and personal venue all rolled into one. It is where you can relax, entertain, and make the very most out of your home’s surroundings. These pergola ideas are the finishing touch on the haven you’ve painstakingly created, and thanks to its endless catalogue of design options to choose from, your own piece of paradise is less than a season away.
This particular pergola design mimics window blinds complemented by dark wood and tall foliage producing a subtle green house effect. Nothing excessive, just simple and practical.
A social gathering in this setting is all about having a good meal, light music, easy conversation, and drinking a glass of chilled wine at the bar under the pergola.
Less-is-more are the perfect words to describe this straightforward pergola design. There’s a Zen like ambiance and healthy radiance to the atmosphere. An ideal space for writing in your journal.
You’re drinking a tall cool glass of lemonade, your pet dog is sitting at your side, while grandma bakes a fresh batch of cookies. This scenario perfectly wraps up this down-to-earth pergola setting.
Uhm…let’s have tea and biscuits shall we? What a beautiful oasis of posh and elegance.
This arched pergola design should be labeled as the ninth wonder of the world. It’s stunning!
Just think how it would be to have a Mediterranean style setting like this right outside your door, even if you live in the desert. How refreshing!
Take a photo right in your own backyard and tell them you were in Morocco. No one would be the wiser. This intricately designed pergola is simply amazing!
Wisteria plants and pergolas go hand-in-hand. The floral aroma must be amazing. It’s like the Garden of Eden all over again.
This is probably where you’ll be on cool summer evenings. Outside chillin under the Tuscany pergola and effervescent lights.
This gorgeous pergola designed with pearl white post and beams, elicits a pristine look. The organic elements and fireplace help create a relaxing gathering place.
What Do You Cover a Pergola With?
Essentially, a pergola is a straightforward backyard adornment structured from solid scaffolding and crossbeams in order to create a unique and sturdy framework. Homeowners enjoy the added entertainment pergolas bring to their backyard spaces.
Usually, decorated with hanging and/or vascular plants, pergolas are often used to shade walkways or decks. In a way, they resemble giant popsicle sticks beautifully arranged and propped up to enhance courtyards regardless of their size. A path or area covered by a pergola helps to create a sense of wonder and enchantment in your own backyard.
Different Pergola Building Materials
Before describing the various cover ideas for pergolas, it’s beneficial to know about the materials used to create this amazing edifice. This will help you to make a more informed decision when it comes to what type of cover you would prefer for your arbor. For example, climbing plants on a metal pergola won’t be as beautifying as the same plants on a pergola made from wood.
- Wooden pergolas have a more rustic appeal. Some even say they have a Mediterranean ambiance. Plants like clematis and wisteria are commonly used to cover the roof of this type of pergola.
- Metal pergolas are also striking, especially when combined with wooden boards. They do offer a more contemporary look so fabrics suit them best more so than vegetation. Then again, this will also depend on the pergola’s overall design.
Ways to Cover a Pergola
Pergolas are an interesting focal point for any outdoor space; however, distinct from more traditional porches, they won’t naturally protect you from rain or the sunlight’s UVA rays.
If you’re in search of ways to cover your outdoor arbor, but not identical to an outdoor porch, there are plenty of choices. Whether you’re seeking a permanent or seasonal solution, there are a variety of materials to choose from and one works just as well as the other. It simply depends on your taste, how you plan to use your pergola, and how you want your backyard structure to look.
Here are various pergola cover solutions that will work with any outdoor landscape.
For a temporary cover or if you’re on a tight budget, tarp is a practical option. To make it secure, use fabric bands or rubber hooks at the corners, after that fasten the other sides to a beam on your pergola – doesn’t matter if the beam is vertical or horizontal. This may not be a permanent option; however, it will last a couple of seasons or so absent of any strong gusts of wind or severe storms.
One of the more expensive options to use is canvas for covering the top of your pergola. It’s not that the canvas itself is expensive. It’s the retractable system that must be installed in order for the canvas to slide over the top of the pergola when needed, and to roll back up properly when retracting. You will definitely need a professional to complete the job for you.
3. Drop Cloths
Drop cloths are a strong material and frequently used by painters. However, they also work as a cover for pergolas. Use eyelets to affix the drop cloths to the pergola. Set-up the drop cloths by a standard weaving method to secure the fabric.
4. Furrowed Fiberglass
A unique and creative option to use as a pergola cover are furrowed fiberglass roofing panels placed on the horizontal beams at the top of the edifice’s framework. Fantastic for pergola lovers on a tight budget, this type of material allows light to shine through depending upon whether you choose clear or pastel hued panels.
The only drawback is having the panels removed. So be sure before installing them if you prefer changing your pergola cover from season to season, as they can become bothersome and increase in cost.
5. Roller Shades
Attach shade fabric for an easy pergola covering or roller shades by using a staple gun to affix the shade to your structure. Thick fabric normally used for windows is the best roller shade fabric for pergolas. In order to determine how much fabric you need to cover your pergola, measure the space carefully to make sure the cover fits perfectly.
6. Retractable Canopies
Retractable canopies are the most charming, reliable, and practical option and can last 10 years with proper care. In addition, they allow you to control the effect of the elements on your exterior space. With the flick of a switch, you can protect your backyard relaxation space from sun and rain.
An alternative multiple track system uses an aluminum four-sided frame which is much better than the standard retractable mechanisms. The advantage is the width because it covers a larger area securing better protection from the elements. The only issue is that aluminum is not that attractive as a frame, it’s difficult to install, and unreliable if and when the frame begins to fidget and slide.
Louvers are a more upmarket choice and you will need the services of a contractor to install them on top of your pergola. Material choices include durable plastic, fiberglass, and wood. Louvers are adjustable making it easy to allow the sunshine in and keep the rain out.
Mesh is inexpensive and more tolerable during hot weather. It’s usually available in an assortment of hues like avocado green, chestnut, and indigo. Balance the shade of your pergola with your choice of mesh to enhance the natural environment.
9. Organic Materials
Plants add an organic feel to pergolas. Climbing plants like grapevines, passion flowers, and honeysuckle are very popular. However, there are a number of fantastic plants to choose from that will give your pergola an enchanting look. In addition, if arranged properly, your plants can provide excellent shade cover.
Another natural option is bamboo, straw, or branches. They are low maintenance and very pretty. Use a super strength string or cord to tie the foliage to the pergola’s slats. Another cool low-cost idea is using straw as a roof cover. Make sure that your organic roof is secured so that nothing blows away during strong winds.
10. Static Panels
These panel systems are constructed from tinted, shaded, semi-clear, and clear plastics like acrylic, plexiglass, polycarbonate, and Lexan and available in a variety of thicknesses. The panels are laid on top of the rafters and provides protection from the elements. A drawback is that any debris or dirt will be difficult to conceal. Static panels are an inexpensive option but do not provide the allure associated with some other pergola coverings.
Why Have a Pergola?
There are many reasons for having a pergola in your backyard. One of the more obvious reasons is that during the spring and summer seasons, you have a definitive outdoor place to entertain family and friends.
Depending on your location, you can enjoy your pergola even during cooler temperatures, especially if there’s a fire pit to help keep you warm and your pergola is decked out with a secure protective cover. There’s nothing like having use of your arbor throughout the year!
The simple structure of a pergola is unique in itself. It’s much more than a bunch of vertical beams formed into a square shape. A pergola can turn your backyard into a second living room.
Sure, some people dismiss the idea of a pergola altogether. This is primarily because they believe that pergolas are high maintenance, expensive, and have no purpose. Having a pergola is full of benefits and will transform any outdoor area into a more beautiful setting your family and friends can enjoy.
What’s the point of owning a pergola? Here are 9 reasons to have one:
1. Can Increase Your Home’s Value
Adding a long-lasting, superior made pergola to your backyard area, creates a fabulous focal point and can increase your home’s value. Just make sure to choose a professional builder who will build your pergola properly and give you tips on proper maintenance. Keep in mind, that your pergola can also decrease your home’s value if it is of poor design and stands out like an eyesore.
2. Adds Shade and Privacy
Pergola’s are not designed with walls or a roof; however, they’re still quite useful and a great way of adding shade and privacy to your outdoor space if they are embellished with the right accouterments.
It’s easy to enhance the beauty of your pergola by dressing it up with vertical plants and complementary roofing while also keeping in mind the practical reasons for doing so. Adjustable canopies that can open and close depending on the weather are a must-have addition
3. A Great Place for Outdoor Entertainment
Refashion the environment of your pergola into a dynamic entertainment hub. Organize comfortable seating, accent tables, outdoor rug, and any other accessories that will make your pergola an attraction for chilling out with family and friends. Whether barbecuing or having a chilled glass of wine on a hot summer evening, with a pergola it’s easy to set the mood.
4. A DIY Project You Can Be Proud Of
A pergola can be a DIY project that you can be proud of. There’s an excellent choice of pergolas on the market today that come pre-cut with all the necessary hardware to make it sturdy and secure. The installation process is uncomplicated, as long as you are good with directions and have the right tools on hand. Nevertheless, you will still need someone to help with getting the posts and rafters up. If you still think it’s too much to handle, hire a professional who can do the job for you.
5. Pergolas Complement Other Backyard Structures
One of the best points about placing a pergola outside is that it will complement surrounding structures like gazebos, trellises, and other outdoor installations. If you are purchasing a pergola to balance and round-off your background décor, you’ve made a wise decision. In fact, arbors are even more captivating when placed with other backyard structures.
6. Protects Against the Elements
For staying outside on a rainy day or during the warmness of the sun’s rays, a pergola with a retractable canopy is the ideal solution. You can either shield yourself completely from the elements or slightly retract your canopy to enjoy the drizzle of the rain. With a pergola, your outdoor living space is no longer limited to the weather. It’s functional in nearly any climate, giving you the opportunity to enjoy your outside space more days out of the year.
7. Improves Your Home’s Landscape
One of the many benefits of having a pergola is that it improves the landscape of your home. This is because pergolas are designed to support climbing and hanging plants, resulting in an oasis of stunning flora that’s hard to ignore. What’s more, pergolas can be customized to fit your backyard scenery, which will further enhance your surroundings
8. Upgrades Your Current Garden
If you currently have a backyard garden that you’re proud of, a pergola with an open-top lattice roof will let in beams of sunlight to allow your garden vegetation to thrive even more. Add vertical plants for more impact.
9. Pergolas Are Simply Intriguing
Let’s face it, pergolas are simply beautiful. You can enhance their attractiveness by adding lovely outdoor accessories like sash curtains and special lighting. Design your outdoor space the way you want it to look and make your pergola the centerpiece of it all.
Pergolas are simple, yet stunning structures that can turn a backyard into an amazing place for eating, relaxing, and entertaining family and friends. This is probably the most important point for having a pergola, it’s an outdoor area that you can turn into an intimate setting at will with just a few bits and pieces and a lot of love.