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Pretty, Inspiring Pergola Ideas

From shade to structure, pergolas are a great way to add beauty and function to your yard. These pergola ideas and yard solutions offer helpful tips and tricks for you to find your own pergola designs, pergola plans, and inspiration and bring character to your outdoor room.

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    Everything in this slideshow

    • Working with the Landscape

      Oftentimes there's a natural spot for a pergola, but there are landscape elements that are essential, too. Luckily, the flexibility of pergola designs allow tweaks to best fit needs and wishes. Here, a tree supplies shade, so the pergola's roof was built around it. A solid back wall -- with a cute oval window accent -- offers privacy, too.

    • Pergolas as Transitions

      Some pergola designs are more decorative than they are functional. This seaside home -- which mixes a little bit of Cape Cod and a little bit of Shaker styles -- offers a pretty lesson in how to use a pergola to accent a home. Textural materials on the exterior repeat in the pergola, and the structure offers a welcoming, softening transition between home and deck areas.

    • Fast & Simple Outdoor Tips

      Try these done-in-minutes outdoor decorating tips for a stylish space beneath your pergola.

    • Integrate with a Patio or Deck

      A pergola can stand on its own, but it can also work well with another outdoor structure such as a patio or deck. Its placement can help delineate traffic or use zones, such as a seating area. This pergola design designates a lounge area and incorporates a built-in bench.

    • Hardscape Uses

      Pergolas are a natural fit in expansive landscapes, particularly when integrated well with other outdoor living amenities. Here, the massive beams on this pergola fit in with the bulky structure of the stucco fireplace. A casual bench serves as both a defining edge for the pergola and extra seating spot, too.

    • Open and Shut Sides

      Although many pergolas have four open sides, there are options to increase seclusion on one or multiple sides. This pergola uses three trellises on one side, detailing which maintains the pergola’s connection and openness to the landscape.

    • Easy Patio Landscaping Ideas

      Add greenery around your patio and pergola design with these gorgeous landscaping ideas.

    • Hardscape Transitions

      Pergolas are a good way to ease transition from house to other hardscape amenities -- here, both pool and outdoor kitchen (in the background) received a shading structure. Space the pergola's roof boards as needed to shield the sun (this one relies on closeness to offer more shade).

    • Pergolas as Accents

      Space constraints may limit how much of a pergola you can include in an exterior space. But even a smaller pergola design such as this can help to accent a home's patio, providing an interesting backdrop to an otherwise boring exterior facade. Here, a trellis offers a pretty and secluded backdrop for the seating space.

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      Glam-up Outdoor Rooms

      Give your outdoor spaces and pergola a bit of luxe style with these tips. 

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      Material Magic

      Fabric can be a useful accessory in pergola designs, especially to shield the space from sunlight or unwanted views. To provide flexibility in the enclosures, consider fabric -- here, with pull backs -- that's outdoor safe.

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      Pergola + Roof

      While most pergolas are designed to be at least semi open to the sky, they can be integrated into the roof structure of the house. Here, the shingles on the pergola offers shade to the narrower porch structure, while colors pick up on detailing in the pretty home’s windows.

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      Pergola Meets Arbor

      A little bit pergola, a little bit trellis, a little bit arbor, this charming structure blends in the best of those three hardscape items to create a lovely entrance to this cottage garden's side space. Narrow seating nooks offer restful spots, while the pergola-arbor's overhead spacing offers room enough for a flowering vine.

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      Pergola as a Focal Point

      A pergola is adaptable enough that it can be used in a range of structures -- for example, this charming and cheerful seating structure. Used in this way, a pergola adds a focal point to a garden. A few containers help to soften and disguise the structure's base.

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      Contrast in Colors

      Different hues can be a good way to use a pergola for visual impact. Here, the vertical columns establish a bright and light boundary for a seating area, while the stained wood roof offers a more naturalistic complement to the landscape.

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      Architecture at Play

      Space and budget are two possible constraints with a pergola, but in general, the "rules" of pergola design are flexible. Here, multiple heights of the pergola's ceiling add visual interest, while columns lend formality that's in tune with the detailing on the rails of the patio space.

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      A Contemporary Pergola

      The outlines of this contemporary pergola idea offer structure and boundary between the paved exterior space and the rest of the landscape. Using a pergola in this way offers a simple way to define large landscapes in particular. Here, additional elements such as the fire pit accent the clean detailing of the pergola design.

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      Varying Roof Structures

      There’s no set width for the ceiling elements in pergola designs. In fact, landscaping may help determine final detailing. Here, full-grown shade trees offer shelter from the sun, so the pergola roof beams are space further apart.

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      A Deck-Ready Pergola

      A pergola can offer shade to a large gathering space, even if it's not next to a house. Here, gently arched beams topped with 2x2s form the roof over this freestanding 8x8-foot deck. Lattice offers a partial enclosure and increases the sense of intimacy.

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      Pergolas as a Passage

      Although pergolas are often stopping points in a landscape, they can also be used as transitions. Here, a tall structure offers a waypoint between front and backyard. Vines that ramble up the pergola repeat in the trellis accents against the home’s exterior wall.

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      Corner-Perfect Pergola

      A pergola needn't be large or ornate to function as a design element. Relatively small in scale, this pergola design adds a decorative element—perfect for vines and hanging baskets— to a corner of the deck.

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      Next Slideshow Trellis Design Ideas: Trellises with Fences or Screens

      Trellis Design Ideas: Trellises with Fences or Screens

      A trellis fence or screen is the perfect way to turn your backyard into a private escape. Whether wood or metal, a garden trellis creates the perfect backdrop for outdoor living spaces. Browse these trellis plans to find beautiful design and DIY ideas.
      Begin Slideshow »

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