A pergola is a garden structure that provides shade and often supports growing vines or other climbing plants that help in providing protection from the sun. There are numerous forms of pergola design to choose from and it is important to pick the design that will best fit your garden or outdoor space. Pergolas can be freestanding or they can be attached to another structure, such as your home, to provide seamless shelter form the elements.
These garden features have been popular in both Italian and English gardens of the past and remain as beautiful and functional garden additions. Some pergola designs are more simplistic while others incorporate beautiful latticework and custom designs. Whichever style of pergola you choose, you will be amazed with the structure’s beauty and functional aspects.
Pergola Design Basics
The basic pergola design includes columns or pillars that are anchored to the ground or dug into the earth, similar to a fence post. Rafters or cross beams are then used to connect the anchored columns. Depending on the pergola design, additional panels will be added for shade and support. Pergolas traditionally have an open roof design and are not built to fully protect from rain and sun, but to provide partial shade instead.
Pergola design has traditionally called for wood construction, however, with recent advances, the modern construction materials commonly used now include vinyl and aluminum among others. Pergolas constructed with natural wood can give your garden or outdoor space a wonderful, rustic look and if the wood is properly treated, it can last through many harsh winters without any problems.
There are some advantages to using aluminum or vinyl to construct a pergola. These materials are generally lighter while maintaining structural strength and can therefore be installed much more easily. Both aluminum and vinyl are quite durable and will maintain their paint jobs through harsh winters and will not be susceptible to rotting or splitting.
Pergola Design Options
Available pergola designs are numerous and can match the existing style of your outdoor space with no problem. A pergola can have a simple square or rectangular shape or be designed in a number of other styles, including an Asian style, an octagonal style or to fit a specific shape or corner in your backyard. A pergola can also be attached to the side of your home to provide a sheltered space for grilling or seating.
If you want to increase the amount of shade provided by your pergola or if you simply want to make the structure look more beautiful and interesting, consider planting ivy or other climbing plants at its base. It might take a season or two of growing to cover the structure, but once it has, you will be impressed with the natural look provided by the growing plants. You can increase the growing area by attaching a lattice to the sides of your structure.
However you choose to customize your pergola design, you will be happy with the look of your garden structure. Pergolas are perfect for escaping the hot summer sun and relaxing. These garden features can provide your outdoor space with that classic look that has been popular in gardens for centuries.