It’s easy to get excited about gorgeous outdoor patios and porches, but what do you do if all you have is a concrete slab out in the backyard?
That’s what we’re looking at currently in our house here in Oklahoma City, and it’s not exactly pretty. I’ve done a little fluffing and accessorizing to help things out, but it still doesn’t help us out with the lack of shelter. And in our crazy Oklahoma extremes (I’m looking at you, 100-degree weather) we need a way to stay in the shade.
I’ve been pinning ideas like crazy, and it’s probably most feasible for our home to do a pretty pergola of some kind. But there’s several things to consider when choosing one, so let’s take a little tour of some pretty amazing patios with pergolas and get some ideas to beautify your space.
VISUAL APPEAL + FUNCTION
Pergolas are fairly simple – posts on each corner and a criss-cross lattice design on the top. But the aesthetic can extend so much further, and it’s important to consider the overall architecture of your home. Many pergolas are designed with columns or simple posts. The overhead tail of the pergola can also take on a multitude of different designs.
I love the contrast of this pretty pergola’s gently swooping white frame and natural wood overhead beams. It could easily be modern or traditional – a perfect in-between.
For a more modern spin, why not angle the roofline and build in a sectional to maximize your seating space?
I’m particularly in love with this Victorian’s pergola. It honors the original and striking architecture of the home beautifully with turned posts and quatrefoil trim around the top. Look how the light filters through it too. Sigh.
I’m also partial to this contemporary freestanding cedar pergola that offers shade and privacy. I’d love to see this in all white for a beach house.
Speaking of privacy, if you want to create a little hideaway in your yard (especially if you have neighbors close by), consider enclosing one end of the pergola. This is also a great way to create a focal point with a mirror, interesting piece of artwork or a light fixture.
Caribbean style doesn’t get any better than this: an all-white pergola is surrounded by Bahamian-style shutters that not only provide shade but also privacy.
Celerie Kemble’s Playa Grande Beach Club in the Dominican Republic is on my must-visit list. A series of 13 dreamy little bungalows, there are loads of beautiful little nooks and crannies to escape to. This pergola with rocky floor and grass growing all around features a hanging daybed and is one of my most favorite pergolas that I’ve pinned thus far. Maybe it’s because I’m obsessed with my porch swing at the lake, but I’d love to recreate this at our home in Oklahoma City.
DECOR & LIGHTING
Now that you’ve got your structure’s style nailed down, it’s time to accessorize. Don’t overlook the all-too-important elements of seating, lighting, and accessories. Lanterns, stringing lights, and built-in sconces all make for dreamy and mood-setting options.
Why not try a series of vintage chandeliers? If you’re of the DIY persuasion, grab a can or two of spray paint and track down some inexpensive finds at a local antique shop or Craigslist.
You can also get creative with your seating. Low-lying walls can provide flexible seating as a built-in banquette and are perfect for loads of fluffy outdoor pillows.
And if you live in a place without a ton of gusty breezes, I love a set of dramatic outdoor drapes to provide shade, texture, and visual interest.