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Pergola Designs - Choosing the Best Design for Your Pergola Plans

Updated on January 28, 2017

A pergola can make a dramatic improvement in your backyard landscaping, but it can represent a major investment so you want to make sure you pick the right pergola design for your yard. Here are some things to consider as you choose the right pergola for your landscaping design.

Types of Pergolas

There are several types of popular pergolas. You may want to simply feature one as a destination in your yard. These stand alone garden pergolas set off an area that can be used like a patio, or may even separate the patio from the rest of your yard. Like a gazebo, you can furnish it, but with a pergola you can choose to have more or less shade in the area, and you can situate it near the a flower garden or landscaped part of the yard for a visual treat.

Entryway Pergolas - These may look like a huge arbor, they help make a visual transition from one part of your yard to another, for example - from the front to the back of the house. This is much more attractive than a simple fence gate, and can be supplemented with climbing plants like roses, clematis, or ivy to integrate it fully into the landscape itself.

Walkways - Similar to an entryway, these can be much longer and follow the path of a sidewalk or a path in the yard. A long walkway with a covered pergola can be dramatic, and can serve as a functional covering for a garage walk, the garden, or pool.

Pergola Design Features

Here's a few things to consider in your pergola design.

Size - FIrst thing to consider is the area of your yard that you want to dedicate to the pergola. Of course, as the size increases, so does the cost, as well as the difficulty of building one. But you do want it to be large enough to handle the seating or furniture that you want to cover.

Shade - Unlike a gazebo, with the slatted tops of many pergola designs, you can choose to have a great deal of shade or just a little. You can increase the shading with vining vegetation, which would have the advantage of providing more shade in the summer months and less in the cooler months.

Materials - Next to size, this will have the biggest impact on the cost. Wood works well in many applications, and cedar is one of the more popular wood species as it weathers well. Vinyl can be a good compromise and comes in a variety of colors. Some metal designs, like aluminum are used for smaller pergolas.

Shape - While a square design is easy, the space you have available will dictate the shape. There are extensions available for some pergola kits that make it possible to vary the shape somewhat and tailor it to your yard.

Cost - All these factors come into play to drive the cost. Size, materials, and shape will make a difference, as well as the amount of individual labor that you want to invest in your pergola plans.


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