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More substantial than an arbor but less confining than a gazebo, a pergola may be as simple as an overhead structure attached to the back of your house to cover a deck. Or it might be a grand, freestanding structure that's the main focal point of a yard.
Pergolas are especially effective over paved areas, such as paths, courtyards, and patios. This simple white structure helps designate a casual seating area punctuated by colorful plantings.
Placing a pergola just outside a home helps ensure that your restful retreat gets frequent use. This one has screens on the sides that enclose the structure, adding a contemporary element to contrast with the classic columns.
To partly shade a large gathering space, design a pergola that spans the space's dimensions. Gently arched beams topped with 2x2s form the roof over this freestanding 8x8-foot deck. Lattice panels enclose the lower sides.
When building a pergola, consider how the width, height, and depth will work in your overall landscape. This tall pergola in a narrow side yard is in perfect scale with the home and adds an impressive shady resting spot along the path.
If you'd like to add a swing that hangs from the upper beams of a pergola like this one, make sure the structure is sturdy enough to support the weight. The rafters shade this swing, and vines covering the structure eventually will provide even more natural protection from the elements.
Pergolas endow a style with Mediterranean origins, especially of Italy. This traditional structure covered in vines is a prime example. The romantic, charming space is hard to resist.
Even a bare-bones structure like this one can make a big impact on your landscape. Its versatile shape and function helps create a livable outdoor space at a fraction of the cost of an enclosed structure.
Pergola posts are often anchored to low concrete footings. Sometimes they're just embedded into the ground, but that should be done only with pressure-treated lumber).
Simple support methods are fine for small outdoor structures, but with more substantial pergolas you'll need something sturdier--such as brick or stone pedestals. These pedestals have concrete centers faced with brick that repeats in the fireplace.
A major advantage of freestanding structures over attached pergolas is that you can choose the best site for enjoying the landscape rather than being limited by areas near the house.
Close proximity to the building on the left would have made this pergola easy to attach, but standing alone gives it more visual importance.
Even freestanding pergolas that don't form a complete canopy can create a convincing sense of enclosure. Sometimes less is more.
Using salvaged materials in a pergola design results in an authentically aged look. The balustrade on this structure is a porch railing salvaged from the house during a renovation.
It's the next best thing to a boat: a dovecote pergola over the water. The deck is the perfect place to watch wildlife and enjoy the pond scenery.
A pergola can be the perfect way to blend old and new elements. Here, a classical post-and-beam pergola masterfully marries old and new wings of a Colonial house, enriching the facade with a wealth of architectural detail. The arched entrance welcomes visitors.
Create a grand entry to an outdoor space using a pergola. This gray-stained structure marks the entrance to a garden from the driveway.