The 45 Best Pergola Ideas

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The 45 Best Pergola Ideas

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Outdoor living spaces are one of the best places to spend your time when the spring and summer seasons roll around. The only detriment about such beautiful weather is that you run the risk of getting a sunburn or feeling lightheaded from too much exposure to the sun. At that point, you’ll probably feel so drained by the warm weather that taking a nap indoors will be the only thing on your mind. Instead of feeling tired and just letting it happen, you can save yourself from having to retreat inside and miss out on a sunny day. A pergola is the solution for the sunny days ahead. You’ll be able to relax under the structure and find an escape from the heat while still soaking up every moment of the beauty! Let’s talk about forty ideas for a pergola on your property.

1. Replace the Top of the Pergola with a Removable Canvas

To start things off, let’s talk about pergolas that are designed with removable canvases on top. The best part about pergolas of this nature is that they are still useful when the weather outside isn’t ideal. By envisioning the pergola above without a canvas woven through the upper bars of the pergola, you can tell that the structure is pretty open on all sides. That’s part of the beauty of pergolas as a concept, but if you want a pergola that can theoretically be used at any point during the year, then we recommend that you go with this pergola idea for your property. Even if you already have a pergola in place, you can add a canvas color to your existing piece of architecture.

2. Turn Your Outside Lounge Area into an Actual Nap Time Space

Is there anything more relaxing than lounging around outside under the warmth of the sunshine? We don’t think so, and if you agree with us, you’ll get an absolute kick out of pergolas that allow you to sleep comfortably under the blue skies. The particular style of this pergola matters very little, as long as there is adequate enough space for a couch to fit comfortably between the pillars. All pergolas can be transformed into napping areas, which is the beauty of this pergola idea. For an additional level of coziness, build your lounge area pergola in the corner of your yard or beneath tree branches to create extra shade.

3. Use a Pergola as the Outer Structure of an At-Home Outdoor Pizza Oven

Can you imagine just how incredible it would be to have a pizza oven in your own backyard? Just think about how many pizza toppings you could put together and the number of unique pizza ideas you could create! You don’t just have to daydream about a backyard pizza oven, though. You can bring it to life with the help of pergolas. Building thin pergolas that hover over the top of your outdoor countertops will keep leaves from falling or rain drops from trickling onto your pizza ingredients and toppings, all while adding a stylistic touch to the entire scene.

4. Channel Your Inner Carpenter and Build Seats into the Sides of Your Pergola

Now, we should preface this pergola idea with a disclaimer that this is not the best pergola for a beginner to attempt. Unless you have a lot of experience with at-home carpentry projects, we definitely urge you to seek professionals for the installment of a pergola with built-in seating. Of course, you are free to try tackling the project if you are confident in your abilities, but just know that the process is much harder than it sounds. No matter how you go about obtaining a pergola with seating included, you’ll be so glad you invested in this pergola idea, either with your time, money, or both.

5. Create the Perfect Evening Date Night Atmosphere by Draping Curtains along the Sides of the Pergola

With a fancy pergola right outside your home, you’ll never run out of date night ideas ever again. A simple wooden pergola can be instantly converted into a gorgeous location for well-cooked dinners, delicious desserts, and classy drinks with the one you love. The easiest way of transforming a basic pergola into something that’ll cause your jaw to drop is by draping white silk curtains along the sides of your pergola. In doing so, you’ll add a romantic element to the architecture of your backyard. The curtains don’t have to be white or silk, but you get the idea. Take it one step further by stringing lights throughout the columns and the rafters of your pergola.

6. Pergola for a Savvy Outdoor Dining Area

Pergolas that are situated above outdoor cooking areas are great for providing a cover for your furniture and any electronic features that you include in your outdoor dining area. Since you want to eat meals in a clean and well-cared-for dining area, you want to ensure that everything underneath the pergola is taken care of and protected. Since most outdoor dining areas are often very close in distance to the main home, you can even secure the pergola to the side of your house, if you wish.

7. Pergolas that Resemble Picnic Table Vibes

How neat would it be to have a pergola that looks similar to a picnic table? Why not bring the image of your favorite picnic bench to your own lawn? Perfect for lunch with a friend or spending some time with your loved one after a day of activities, a picnic table pergola is well-suited for just about any backyard or front lawn. If you go all out and mimic a picnic table in every possible way, then your pergola will most likely be of a light tan color. Using wood for your picnic table pergola is a wise idea because you give yourself the option of painting the material at some point down the road, if you are ever so inclined.

8. Give Your Pergola Some Added Shade with Fabric

Enclose your outdoor pergola with fabric of your choosing to create some privacy. Pergolas do not have walls. Instead of solid partitions, a pergola makes use of columns. This can be beyond lovely when you desire to have nothing standing in the way of you and the air outside. However, privacy is something humans crave every now and again, so draping a giant piece of fabric over top of your pergola will result in a pergola that provides as much solitude as a pergola possibly can. You can pull the fabric back and secure it to the columns of the pergola, like you would a curtain against your windows, so the option to open up your pergola still stands with this design.

9. Create a Living Room Outdoors Under the Pergola

The main difference between a living room in your house and a replica of one that you build under your pergola is that a pergola exposes you to the outdoors. You’ll expand your memory bank and fill it with moments that include nights spent beneath the stars, and maybe even a comet or two shooting across the dark sky. It’s almost as though you’ve taken the roof off of your living room and replaced the ceiling with a view of the universe. Pergolas with living room furniture are the perfect middle point between the open air and an enclosed space.

10. Loop as Many Vines as Possible through Your Pergola

This pergola idea is essential for anyone with more vines than any other plants in their gardens. Is your yard being taken over by how many twisting and turning vines you have all over the place? Or are you considering adding vines to your lawn but you don’t know how to do it in a way where it doesn’t look messy or overgrown? A pergola is the solution you’ve been looking for because the columns of the structure will give the vines something to wrap themselves around. When vines are left alone to twist and turn as they please, they can cause the surrounding area to look rather messy. With a pergola in place, your garden will look incredible.

11. Cube-Shaped Pergolas for a More Enclosed Feel

The most common shape of a pergola is a series of columns that form an open rectangle. Pergolas tend to be three-sided, though they occasionally have four sides if a bottom flooring has been installed, too. The two longer sides of the pergola — where the columns are located — will either be completely solid, or they will be lined with evenly spaced columns. The shorter sides of the pergola are usually completely open, except for in the case of cube-shaped pergolas. These pergolas are designed for more privacy. They have a completely solid back, like the image pictured above. Cube-shaped pergolas are for people who want to enjoy their backyard but not be completely visible to neighbors or people passing by their home.

12. Use Thatch for the Roofing of Your Pergola

Not all pergolas need to be made out of wood or covering with fabric made from linen or cotton. Instead, you can select from any materials that you trust will hold up no matter, the weather. After all, there’s nothing more daunting than enjoying a nice evening under a pergola only to have it collapse on you mid-conversation. Thatch makes for a great pergola roofing material. You won’t even be able to tell the difference between your pergola and a hut on a tropical island. Who doesn’t want a little taste of Fiji in their backyard?

13. Place a Pergola at the Entry of Your Garden

Entryway pergolas are the sweetest addition to any garden out there. They are especially charming when placed at the entrance of long, winding pathways that snake around a dense garden. If you happen to have a garden that you allow the general public to visit, like a community garden or a botanical garden that you cultivate, then starting everyone’s experience off with an entryway pergola is one of the smartest moves you can make.

14. Fill the Spaces Between the Pergola’s Legs with Glass Windows

A gorgeous rendition of the pergola is to install windows in between the various columns. There are many reasons why you might incorporate windows. Some people use this pergola idea to keep the look of a pergola while also keeping air out and protecting whatever is within the pergola, like small herb gardens, for instance. This is especially helpful if you’re growing edible plants because the glass windows will deter wild animals from getting into your pergola area and eating the vegetation that you’re growing. Another reason for this pergola idea is that the glass reflects the sunlight in beautiful ways and your pergola will look even more stunning than before.

15. Have a Pergola Right Outside Your Front, Side, or Back Doors

Something unique about pergolas is that they can easily be implemented as an extension of your house. Since they are not actually contained or considered a building on their own, they make perfect additions to the front, side, and back of houses. For instance, if your front door opens to a patio, but there isn’t already a cover over your patio, you can build a pergola to extend off the front of your house and arch over the patio. Pergolas are a great add-on to any entrance of your home.

16. Situate Your Pergola Next to the Pool for an Escape from the Sunshine

Have you ever been swimming in your backyard pool and felt like you needed a break but you didn’t exactly want to go inside? A pergola is an excellent idea for those moments where you need an escape from the sun. You can either keep your pergola completely exposed or you can minimize your heat exposure by securing a canvas over top the pergola for an added layer of protection.

17. Illuminate a Pergola with Nightlights for Cozy Evenings Spent Outdoors

Pergolas surrounded by soft nightlights and lanterns makes for such a relaxing ambiance. Paired with a cool evening breeze and wool blankets, a pergola with various light sources surrounding the relative vicinity is one of the most calming pergola ideas of all time. The experience of hanging out beneath a pergola while the sun sets, or relaxing poolside in your own pergola, cannot be beat.

18. Borrow from Greek Architecture with Large White Columns

The architecture that originated in Greece has been one of total envy for centuries. Many modern-day furniture emulates Greek infrastructure with the use of white paint and columns. You can bring some of the Greek culture to your own house by adding a white column pergola to your property. Painting the columns an off-white color will bring the entire look together and make your pergola as distinctive as possible.

19. Build a Pergola to the Side of Your House for an Additional Deck Space

Decks are a great place to lounge around and unwind at the end of the day, but not every house comes with a deck. On top of that, not everyone wants to have a deck for many reasons, like the fact that a deck takes up a lot of space and detracts from the size of your garden. Instead of building a deck, you can compromise and keep your garden space while also adding onto your house. Since pergolas do not take up a lot of room on the ground, a pergola that extends from the back of your house will provide a space where you can relax without limiting your landscaping options.

20. Use Pergolas as Part of Your Cozy Backyard Patio

In the last pergola idea example, we touched on how to get the feeling of a patio without actually having one. On the other hand, maybe you already have a back deck but you want to take it to the next level. A pergola that arches over your patio is the best way to elevate your patio to an impressionable place. Your family and friends will love what you’ve done to your deck, especially on days where the sky is cloudless and the sun is beating down on everyone below. You can still barbeque and enjoy your outdoor gatherings all thanks to a pergola over your deck.

21. Attach a Slim Pergola Over Top of Your Garage Doors

Pergolas come in all shapes and sizes, including miniature versions. Placing thin pergolas above the opening of your garage doors is more of a decorative move than a functional one, but nonetheless, it’s one of our best pergola ideas. Make use of a pergola to turn an otherwise mediocre garage into one with character.

22. Combine Stone with Wood for a Rustic Pergola

If your house already has a rustic design, building a wooden pergola with stone columns will take your personal style even further. Brown wood plays off of grey stones in a gorgeous manner. Whether your pergola will be used for outdoor meals, late-night campfires, or casual evenings, a rustic pergola cannot be beat.

23. Use Climbing Flowers of Your Choosing on Top of a Pergola

This pergola idea is similar to the suggestion of coiling vines around the lattices and columns of a pergola. For those of you who adore climbing plants, this pergola idea is well-suited for you. Plants that grow outward and reach great lengths can be intentionally planted near a pergola so that they eventually settle on top of the structure, like a floral rooftop. Flowers like roses and morning glories will wrap themselves around the pergola as if the pergola is made of nothing but flowers.

24. Use a Pergola as the Base of a Swing 

We don’t need to convince you that, as a child, swing sets were one of the most exciting parts of the playground. As you grow older, you naturally forget about swings as other things begin to take priority in your life. But what if we told you that you could rediscover the fun that swings bring in a mature way? Pergolas with swings are such an amusing addition to a garden or open space in your backyard. There’s nothing more enjoyable than kicking back in a pergola swing and reading your favorite book.

25. Paint a Pergola a Fun Color to Stand Out and Add Some Flair

You can customize your pergola in many ways. From designing your pergola in a unique shape to using a building material that few pergolas are made out of, many options are available when it comes to helping your pergola stand out from the rest. However, few options are as fun and personable as choosing a color that pops. You can even paint your pergola every color of the rainbow.

26. Combine Multiple Pergolas on One Platform

By implementing two or three pergolas in one place, you can transform an open deck into a space with actual structures that can be used for various purposes. Add tables, chairs, and other furniture and you’ll have a perfect spot for celebrating occasions. A bunch of pergolas in one place is beneficial for special events, like having a birthday party for more than one person at a time or hosting a family reunion.

27. Pergola with Rope Swing by Pool

As if having a pool in your backyard isn’t incredible enough, you can improve your outdoor aquatic amenities by adding a rope swing to your pool. If you have a professional install a pergola and position it in perfect alignment with your pool, you can fasten a rope swing to the pergola. As always, prioritize safety by making sure the rope is securely attached to the pergola before trying it out.

28. Use a Two-Column Pergola as Part of an Outdoor Kitchen Island

Take your dinner routine outside with an outdoor kitchen underneath an arching pergola. This specific pergola idea is best for people who live in areas where the weather stays decent for the majority of the year, but if you have a way of storing or protecting your outdoor kitchenware during the cooler months, then don’t hesitate to try this pergola idea for yourself! The pergola will define your outdoor kitchen and make the boundaries of your kitchen space that much more obvious.

29. Use a Pergola for Seating Around a Campfire

Campfire activities are usually limited to the summer because other seasons don’t have the weather that an outdoor fire requires. Even if it isn’t raining outside, anything other than clear blue skies and some sunshine will sabotage your plans to make s’mores and get cozy next to a crackling fire. But you don’t have to live your life in accordance with the weather, all thanks to pergolas. You can install a pergola that surrounds your at-home campfire and enjoy fireside chats any day of the year.

30. Keep it Casual with a Light Grey Wood Pergola

Both functional and attractive, pergolas that are grey in color are usually constructed out of aluminum-reinforced vinyl. The greatest benefit of this building material is that it is durable and resistant to all types of weather. Aesthetically speaking, grey pergolas are a unique spin off of wooden pergolas that you see everywhere.

31. Pergolas and Treehouses Combined

If you have children, they’ll thank you for the rest of their lives with this pergola idea. Even if you are just a child at heart, this pergola idea is where treehouses meet pergolas. You can use pergolas to elevate your treehouse above ground, especially if you want to build out your treehouse but the tree itself doesn’t allow for it. Pergolas help make your treehouse dreams come true.

32. Create an Endearing Ambience with Paper Lamps in a Pergola

Incorporating a string of paper lamps is a fantastic way of adding simple decor to your pergola. There are two main ways to achieve this look. You can DIY this pergola idea and turn it into a fun project. You’ll need to head to a local arts and crafts store to buy stock paper and durable string, as well as battery-operated candles with fake flames. The second option is to purchase pre-strung paper lamps, but make sure you have access to an outlet so they can be plugged in with ease. Either way, this paper lamp pergola idea is very safe because you don’t have to use real fire to bring light inside your pergola.

33. Connect a Pergola to the Side of Your Home

Some houses have little side entrances that allow access to various parts of the house, aside from the front and back doors and the garage. These points of entrance are usually just a door and nothing more, but if you want to make a side door more pronounced, consider this pergola idea. Design a pergola that runs down the side of your house, beginning at the side door and continuing until you reach the end of the house. Create a pathway beneath the pergola using rocks, pebbles, or concrete, and you’ll have a completely renovated side entrance in no time at all.

34. Pergola with Roof for Coverage on a Rainy Day

In reality, there will be a handful of rainy days where you might not want to sit outside under your pergola. But what if your pergola had a roof that kept you from getting soaked by the raindrops? It’s rare to find a pergola designed with a rooftop, but it’s very simple to modify a pre-existing pergola with a roof. Don’t let rain stop you from enjoying such an amazing piece of architecture.

35. Pergola with Shutter Roof

Instead of using a removable cover as the roof of your pergola, you can have shutters installed between the rafters or lattices of the pergola on your property. They often come with either a string, like the ones that raise and lower the blinds against your window, or a remote control that moves the shutters. You have the freedom to open the shutters and allow more light in, as well as close the shutters if wind or rain come along. There’s absolutely zero maintenance involved, too! What could be better?

36. Use a Pergola to Structure Your Greenhouse

For the serious gardeners, a pergola-turned-greenhouse is an environmentally friendly and simplistic way of growing as many plants as you want. By using a pergola for the structure of your greenhouse, your garden will feel more close to your heart. The pergola eliminates the separation between your house and your garden. Pergolas as greenhouses connect your garden to your home, which makes a pergola greenhouse ideal for people who love plants like they love themselves.

37. Pergola with Slanted Roof

A pergola with a slanted roof is an alternative to the classic style of pergolas, which are often completely flat on top. By installing a slanted rooftop for your pergola, you’ll thank yourself in the future whenever a rainstorm rolls by and starts to pour. A slanted roof is incredibly beneficial in these situations because the rainwater can trickle down much easier with a slanted roof, rather than accumulating on a flat rooftop.

38. Attach a Shower Head to a Pergola for a Place to Rinse Off Outdoors

Did you know you can transform a pergola into an outdoor shower? That’s right. With a simple attachment, you can stop worrying about tracking sand from the beach or dirt from the grass into your home by rinsing off outside. You may have seen shower heads attached to the sides of public restrooms on popular beaches, and now you can bring that idea to the comfort of your home!

39. Protect Your Skin from Overexposure to the Sun with a Pergola Over Your Hot Tub

Outdoor hot tubs are less common than pools, but like any type of water activity that you do outside, hot tubs reflect a lot of light when the sun shines on the water. When that happens, the light is absorbed by your skin and makes you feel really warm. On top of already feeling warmer than usual due to the nature of a hot tub, the added warmth from the sun’s rays might make a hot tub less desirable in the daytime. However, you don’t have to wait for the sun to go down before you enjoy your personal hot tub. Instead, solve the issue by designing a pergola that surrounds your hot tub and doesn’t allow as much sun exposure within the walls of your hot tub area.

40. Situate a Pergola in the Corner of Your Backyard for a Quiet Reading Nook

Here’s a pergola idea for the bookworms out there. If you don’t have a lot going on in your yard, you should definitely think about placing a pergola in one of the corners, especially if you can situate it up against a gate or the side of something else, like a garage or a shed. Pergolas have this way of making you feel tucked away, and that’s the best environment to read a book in, so a pergola is perfect for anyone who loves reading outside.

41. Illuminate a Backyard with Low-Hanging Lights

We’ve talked about putting night lights and free-standing lamps around your yard to bring light to a pergola at nighttime. But that’s not the only solution to a pergola without adequate lighting. If you’d prefer a bolder display of light, consider adding low-hanging lights to your pergola. The process of setting everything up is really easy, too. All you need is a ladder to help you reach the top of the columns, and then just start looping the string of lights over and under the structure of the pergola. Unless you can find lights that are battery-operated, you’ll need to have access to an electrical outlet as well.

42. You Can’t Go Wrong with a Patio Pergola

Do you have a spacious patio in your backyard? The fun part about having a lot of room in your yard is that you can do so many things with the space. Pergolas that extend over patios are genius. In the case of a patio pergola, you will find that it’s easiest to attach the pergola to the side of your house as well. It acts like an extension of your home, but with the added bonus of natural light and fresh air!

43. Pergolas over Top Swimming Pools  

A personal pool on your property is such a perk, especially when you live in a part of the world with a lot of sunny days. Even though lounging around poolside and going to a dip in the water can be a lot of fun, you run the risk of sunburns and heat exhaustion if you stay outside in direct sunshine for too long. Sunscreen can only do so much. Instead of cutting your pool time short, why not install a pergola over your pool? That way, you’ll still be able to swim and get tan while staying protected.

44. Pergolas are Perfect for Breaking Up Landscaping

Planning a garden can be difficult, and it gets even harder if your landscaping tastes change and you start adding to the flowers and plants you already have. The more seeds you plant, the more work you’ll have to do in order to maintain the garden’s appearance. If you have various different types of plants and flowers in your yard, a pergola would work wonders for you. Pergolas that are placed among a diversity of shrubs, flowers, and trees really helps to break up all the greenery and add something different to the mix.

45. Candle-Lit Chandelier for an Elegant Pergola


Do you have a pergola in your yard but you find it to be too dim to spend time in when it’s later in the day? The idea of hanging out in the comfort of your pergola in the evening sounds incredible, but it can be a little too eerie to do that when there’s little to no lighting to comfort you. You don’t necessarily have to be scared of the dark to feel a slight sense of fear when lounging in your yard in pitch blackness. So, why not add a mesmerizing chandelier to the center rafter and lintels of your pergola? Then you’ll have a brilliant source of light to keep you company at any hour. On top of that, your casual and modest pergola will be elevated to a place of elegance and sophistication.