Planning a Pergola for Your Backyard
An outdoor pergola is the perfect way to transform your backyard into an outdoor oasis. These classic four or six-column open structures create a beautiful covered gathering area. You can enjoy the warmth of a sunny day and still have a shaded retreat by adding a shade cover.
While you probably know that a beautiful wooden or metal pergola will enhance the aesthetic of your outdoor space, what you may not know is what to consider before purchasing one.
A few things to keep in mind include:
- Strength and Durability
- Power Source
What Size is Best?
Modern pergolas come in a variety of sizes, and the one you end up going for may depend on the size of your space, as well as what you want to use it for.
Large pergolas are great for vast, open spaces in your backyard. If you have the room, consider centering your outdoor area around a pergola designed to maximize the space underneath.
Gardening. Depending on the size of your garden, a large pergola could be a great fit. Pergolas have open roofs consisting of horizontal beams that form a lattice, so your garden will still get the necessary sunlight and rainfall needed for those plants and flowers to grow.
Al fresco dining. A large pergola provides a great centerpiece for outdoor dining. The structure brings your dining area together while still giving you the sunlight that makes eating outdoors special.
Parties and events. A large pergola is ideal for entertaining. Center some outdoor furniture underneath the pergola and enjoy a wonderful space for hosting family and friends.
Perhaps your outdoor space is a bit more confined, but you still have a desire to bring it together. A medium-sized pergola is a great choice for spaces that can’t hold a large pergola but still offer some functionality and style.
Poolside retreat. If you have a pool or hot tub, a patio pergola is a great space for you, your family or guests to be poolside. Grab a pool chair and enjoy the sun.
Relaxing. Put a few pieces of furniture under the pergola and take a break from life’s demands with a good book or a quick nap. Bask in the sunlight of the open roof, or add a soft canopy cover for some shade.
If you don’t have the space for a traditional pergola structure, perhaps a small cabana pergola is the better option. These pergolas are different from traditional pergolas in that they have two walls that are connected to form an angle.
Intimate and private. Cabana pergolas, because they have two walls, are a great option for you and your special someone to relax in an outdoor setting. With built-in or custom seating options, enjoy the privacy that the walls provide.
- Fits most spaces. Cabana pergolas are small enough that they’ll fit most spaces in your backyard. Small gardens, grass areas or patios are perfect for this small pergola option.
What About Strength and Durability?
A pergola is no small investment. As such, you’ll want to make sure your pergola is protected from the elements and can withstand harsh weather conditions.
When searching for the perfect pergola, finding one that can hold up against strong winds is crucial. Ideally, your pergola remains standing during wind gusts up to 100 mph.
A durable, long-lasting pergola is key to getting your money’s worth. If you get a wooden pergola, make sure the wood is strong and naturally resistant to rot or decay, such that sealing it once a year is all that’s needed. A metal pergola should not only be made of strong material, but also should be able to resist corrosion and require minimal maintenance.
What Material is Best?
A durable wood such as cedar, or a strong metal such as steel, are ideal materials for your pergola. Which one you choose is up to you.
If your style is warm and traditional, a cedar pergola matches the outdoor aesthetic nicely. Cedar is a strong, durable wood that is naturally resistant to rot, decay and warping. Cedar can be stained to match your style, a once-yearly sealant can keep your pergola lasting for decades.
A steel pergola might be better if your style is more modern and you’re looking for something virtually maintenance-free. Steel is up to 200 times as strong as aluminum and can be powder-coated to resist rust and corrosion. The right steel pergola is easy to clean and designed to be virtually maintenance free, so you can focus on enjoying it.
Can I Add Power?
Absolutely. A power source can easily be added to any column of a pergola. A PowerPort™ with outlets and USBs can transform your pergola from a simple structure to a center of entertainment.
Lights. Hang or string lights from the horizontal beams on the roof to create a functional space for nighttime enjoyment.
Speakers. Let the music flow by plugging in a speaker for those moments of entertainment.
Phones. No more low battery mode. With USB ports, charge your phone without having to go inside.
- Appliances. Mix up a quick smoothie or a salsa with a blender. Grab drinks from the mini fridge. The possibilities are endless.
Plan the Perfect Pergola for Your Outdoor Space
Planning a pergola for your backyard may seem like a daunting task, but considering size, strength, material and power should make the process easier.
A pergola can take your backyard from a 7 to a 10. It’ll transform your outdoor area into an ideal gathering space, elevate your garden or simply add style to the yard.