What is a Pergola?

What is a Pergola: Cedar Pergola with Vines
courtesy of http://www.westernredcedarpergolas.com

So, what is a pergola? According to About.com Home, a pergola is “an outdoor structure consisting of columns that support a roofing grid of beams and rafters.”
You can leave the roof grid open to let in sunlight or you can cover it with a canopy for more shade and wind protection. Some people choose to grow climbing vines on them that produce scented flowers, such as honeysuckle, jasmine or clematis.

Attached for Freestanding Pergolas

Bocce Ball Court Underneath Pergola
courtesy of https://www.pinterest.com

Often, we see pergolas attached to a building. For example, they can work well over a deck or patio to extend the living space into the outdoors where you might find an outdoor kitchen or dining area.

Alternatively, these overhangs can stand alone as well, like a gazebo. They can stand in the middle of backyard, by a bocce ball court or next to a swimming pool.

Permanent vs Portable Pergola

You can construct a pergola as a permanent structure and customize it to the size and shape that you want for your home. However, these styles can cost several thousand dollars. Plus, price can vary widely depending on the materials used, size of the overhang and cost of installation.

Although custom built pergolas can definitely add value to a home by increasing the usability and functionality of a patio or deck, they can get expensive. In fact, they can sometimes cost more than the value that they add.

Steel or aluminum-framed pergolas provide an inexpensive alternative to homeowners. This “portable” option makes it easier and less time-consuming to create an outdoor room, add shade on the patio or simply make a backyard more welcoming.

The non-permanent pergolas are ideal for renters as well as events or parties where you might want a temporary structure. That said, some portable pergolas have aluminum or steel frames with pre-drilled holes that you can attach to a deck with screws.

How Do Pergolas Differ from Arbors and Trellises?

Arbor, courtesy of http://www.arboria.com
Arbor, courtesy of http://www.arboria.com

Arbors are other garden structures that are similar to and sometimes mistaken for pergolas. The main difference is that arbors are typically smaller and designed to be used over pathways or an entryway at a gate.

Trellises, on the other hand, are mainly used as support structures for vining plants and trees. They are often seen secured to walls or fences.

Decorating Pergolas

One of the major attractions of pergolas is the ability to decorate them in a variety of different ways. The simple sturcture gives you a basic template from which to add decor and furnishings to create your own look and style.

Check out some of these examples:

Pergola Dining Room on Deck
courtesy of http://decor10blog.com
There are many ways you can add style to a backyard pergola or gazebo. Some of the most popular accessories include outdoor curtains, hanging lanterns and string lights.

These outdoor furnishings can cost very little. Plus, they don’t require a lot of work to set up. Not only do they make a simple outdoor structure look cool, but they add more function to it (ie light in the evening and privacy).

Decorating a pergola doesn’t take much work. Usually, people have an outdoor room idea in mind before they buy their structure.

They can use their deck or patio furniture to help decide which shape and size pergola they want to get. That said, all of your backyard furniture doesn’t have to fit under the rooftop.

Pergola Decorating Idea with CurtainsAs you can see, you can arrange a dining area under the pergola with a nearby living room with fireplace.

The look and feel of the outdoor overhang actually carries over to the other backyard areas. You can do this without having to cover the entire space.

Take a look at the outdoor rug that these people used, and how they laid it diagonally.

Implementing professional design strategies such as these will enhance the look of your outdoor space without having to buy multiple pergolas.