If you are looking for a perfect transition between the indoors and outdoors, a pergola can be the ideal solution. It allows you to spend time outside, whether it’s a sweltering summer’s day or a cold winter’s day. Pergolas can be right next to your home or in the garden, or backyard. These structures are a part of classic architecture which once covered the walkways in Italian renaissance gardens. When you choose the right one, it will become one place you’ll simply not want to leave.
While deciding on a pergola, think about which side of your home would you want to spend the most time on. Your spot needs to have a good landscape view, and be sheltered from the wind. You should also keep in mind what time of the day you want to spend under the pergola, and how hot or cool the area will be during that time.
Another decisive factor in your pergola plans will be the question of whether it will be attached to your home, or a free standing structure. Now, if you live in an extreme climate with heavy rains or soil shifts, a free standing structure can be a good option. But if you want to save costs on additional beams then keep it attached to your home. The size of the pergola in this case will be proportional to your home roof. There are plenty of pergola ideas in terms of design which can be implemented based on the space available and the materials you use. Let's take a closer look…
If your home has a more contemporary look and feel, you can go for a covering of wooden slats for your pergola. This will involve building your pergola with a lattice-like covering that is thin and comes in simple shapes.
In tropical climates, a backyard patio with a pergola of wooden slats makes for a great place to relax and unwind in almost all seasons. The slats lend a covered feel, but at the same time let you admire the fleecy blue sky during the day and the twinkling stars at night.
A wooden pergola is a perfect way to keep you close to nature. Wood is structurally strong, and can provide a perfect finish for a pergola outside your room or in the garden.
If you are a DIY person, then a wooden pergola can give you a great variety of ideas to work with. Some pergola specialists tend to this by providing you with a kit with pre-cut and pre-drilled pieces of wood for standard designs. It eliminates the hassles of measuring, and gives you the pleasure in building one on your own. Cengal wood is one of the most suitable local woods you can select for a pergola. It has a high resistance to rot and insect damage, but don’t forget to treat it with a water-repellent sealer.
Clear roof pergolas make for quite a clean look, and these are generally used with wooden or metallic frames. They may provide a little rain cover, but otherwise may not be of much use against the elements unless you choose to use a glass cover for the sides. This gives the pergola a fairly open feel while keeping you protected inside. So you sit under it, and watch the rain falling from the skies! Use plexiglass, acrylic, lexan or polycarbonate for transparent pergola roofing.
Climbing plants and vines can greatly enhance the appearance and ambiance of a garden pergola, and make you feel as if you are sitting in the lap of nature. Best plants for a pergola are the ones that will grow quickly to cover the structure and require little maintenance.
You can also choose flowering creepers for your pergola which can add a new level of beauty to the space. Try the creeping fig or climbing fig, an evergreen vine popular in Malaysia. It can climb a height of 100 feet, and can aggressively attach itself to any surface.
Besides wood, bamboo is also a great choice for going organic. Bamboo pergolas can add a quaint and rustic charm to any garden or patio. These can be customized in shape and size, and are often mentioned in exotic pergola plans of various world cultures. With bamboo pergolas, you can also recreate traditional Malay architectural styles.
Among the different types of pergola material options, metal pergolas and coordinating furniture is often used to accent a modern residence with a minimalist appeal. Stainless steel or wrought iron pergolas can be cleverly rendered to create an ambience from a bygone era.
Take a cue from the vibrant, metallic pergola attached with the home shown above. It is sturdy, durable, offers protection from the weather and is a visual delight. It was designed by Solisysteme, builders of decks, patios and outdoor enclosures from Avanton.
You can think of many interesting pergola ideas with lined wood or metal roofing. Lined pergolas use pre-finished lining boards and trims on the ceiling or walls to create an elegant outdoor area. This area can also be used as your living room or a place to entertain guests. Generally, straight grained wood is used for effect and it is treated to be resistant to rot and insects.
It might interest you to know that pergolas are often interchangeably used with patio covers. The difference between a pergola and a gazebo is that the latter is an octagonal (usually) free standing structure with a solid roof and open view.
Irrespective of what material the pergola is made of, you’ll have to take time for its upkeep. Hose it in the downward direction with a high-pressure hose to remove the dirt and grime. Use a bristle brush to dust away visible peel offs, and use oxygen bleach with water to remove mildew and stains from a wooden pergola. Repair the pergola as soon as you see any sign of damage, and give it a fresh coat of paint every other year to keep it as good as new.
Want to whip up a pergola right now? Check out How to build a pergola: a step-by-step guide.