Attached pergola pictures with pergola parts identification and detailed descriptions of the design features. All pergolas pictured are very easy to build in one weekend.
The pergola has been used as a stylish and practical addition to yards for centuries. Pergolas were first used in Mediterranean gardens on lavish estate grounds to provide support for olive and grape vines. They were considered a sign of luxury. Smaller, narrow variations were used to cover cobble-stoned pathways in small towns for shade and again, to support flowering or fruit bearing vines. Flash forward to present day and here are some innovative ideas for pergola design and use in the modern yard.
A patio cover is the most common
Attaching a pergola to the back of house so that it provides cover over a concrete patio is typically what you see. That is because this is a very practical use and is also a nice visual addition to a backyard. It makes it seem more complete and creates the appearance of an outdoor room. When the pergola style and color is matched or blended with the overall architecture of the house, you have an addition that adds value and enjoyment to the property.
Kitchen pergolas are inviting and entertaining
If you have a large yard and have decided to install an outdoor kitchen with stone counters and a built in bbq, then the perfect way to partially shelter the area is to cover it with a pergola. Often the pergola posts are set in stone pillars that match the kitchen counters. The roof line can be more tightly laid together to create more effective shelter and shade. Lights are also strung up to make it an inviting space day and night.
Imagine a romantic swing pergola
A very fun addition to a free standing back yard pergola could be a bench swing. There would simply need to be some extra center roof beams placed for additional support to safely hold up the swing. If you set the pergola in a spot of the yard where the swing faces the nicest views, then this lovely spot becomes your favorite place to relax outside. A swing pergola would be a lovely surprise for the next person who buys your house.
Consider the old world use
There is a reason pergolas were originally built as support for vines – they are perfect for that task. Place the pergola in the best spot for growing some wisteria for instance. Place the plants right near the posts and secure the new growth shoots to them. Fairly soon you will have the beautiful purple flowers dangling from the rooftop of the pergola. It is one of the most inviting and romantic garden seating areas you can create.
Imagine a pergola in your front yard
For houses with a front entrance gate, the addition of a pergola is another excellent idea. The pergola posts can be secured to the top of the wall or fence on either side of the gate create a covered entrance. It is a fairly cheap and easy to build addition creating a more finished and formal look to the entryway. If you have a long walkway from the gate to the front door, consider building a pergola that covers the walkway – again harkening back to the old world use. Seeing a pergola at the front of the house always catches the eye.
No matter the use, a pergola is a fantastic addition to any yard. Big or small, attached or detached, covering a gate, patio seating or an outdoor kitchen. Sometimes they are even used as carports. Pergolas are versatile and practical and most of all, elegant and stylish structures which add value to your property. You can’t go wrong building a pergola.
Curved roof pergolas are a luxurious design edition to any yard or patio. The elegant lines are truly no more difficult to build than a regular straight edge. There are many beautiful kits you can find such as the one in the photo above from Forever Redwood. They come complete with step by step instructions on how to build it along with all the attachment hardware needed. Boards are cut and stained according to the design you want and marked so that you are pretty much just putting slot A into tab B.
However, if you want to build the pergola yourself, a curved roof design is also an option and you shouldn’t be deterred from working with the roof pieces cut with a curve. From the example above you can see that redwood is an excellent choice for a pergola and will bend very nicely. Don’t worry! You don’t need to do any bending. A good lumberyard will be able to provide you with the curved pieces according to your required dimensions.
Notice that the ends of the curved rafters are kept with a straight cut. This is also true of other kits we’ve found as well. Once you have pieces curved and measured out for the correct arc, you really don’t want to mess with cutting fancy edges at that point. Some designers think any fancy edges are overkill and it certainly does keep the focus on the graceful lines if you keep it simple. But the example above also looks beautiful with the fancy edges reserved for the straight beams and top level of rafters.
The curved roof might be a little bit more cost, but we promise it will not add extra work to your building project. In the end, it would be something that will provide an even more unique look to your pergola design.
When looking around at pergola designs it is important to keep in mind that you can really create just about anything you want even if you have a smaller or oddly shaped yard. The picture above shows an example of a 3 post triangle pergola design that fits perfectly in a smaller, narrow yard. It adds character and style and shade to the patio area without overtaking the yard or making it look too small.
The key to planning this yard started at the beginning with proper site preparation before choosing which pergola they wanted to build. It just takes a little imagination to picture potential placement and design. The posts are actually secured in the ground with concrete footings dug in since the flagstone would not be strong enough to hold the pergola in place.
Since they were digging into the ground they had to avoid any water or utility lines which most likely influenced the placement of the pergola. At the point they could have tried to squeeze in a more traditional sized four post design, but since the space is small meaning the beam spans wouldn’t be that long anyway, there is no issue eliminating one post creating a triangle instead. With two layers of rafters there is still plenty of shade provided.
It is always a great idea to spend some time at a site like this one to learn everything you would need in order build your own pergola that will last for years.
When looking for information to help make a decision about pergola designs and material selection, it is most common to see and learn about different wood products. Wood is readily available in local home improvement centers and lumberyards making it the most inexpensive option initially. Whether you are looking for parts to build your own pergola from a set of plans, or even checking out pergola kits, from the start you can see that wood will not break your budget. However, you probably also find many examples of vinyl pergolas, particularly when you are looking at kits. So why should you consider vinyl?
The huge advantage to vinyl is in how well and long it lasts with literally no ongoing maintenance. If you have any sort of wood product in your yard – a fence, a gate, or patio furniture for instance – you have already learned that you cannot just leave it alone and expect to look beautiful without assistance. Even when properly pressure treated and stained, over the years the rain, snow, rain and hail will wear it down. Insects can attack it threatening the structural integrity of the structure. You need to restrain and treat the wood every few years in order to prevent any of that damage. Wood is certainly desirable for the look it provides, but there is a reason it is cheaper and you do need to be prepared for ongoing care. Vinyl simply needs to be hosed off now and then to keep it clean. That’s it! So you might pay more up front, but then your done. No more effort or cost.
Vinyl is a synthetic material that is impervious to weather and insect damage. It is also not always a solid piece. Typically the vinyl is covering either a composite wood or, as in the examples shown above, an aluminum core. And yes, you can buy parts to build your own. Look for plastic suppliers vs lumberyards. Vinyl fencing and decks are very common and it is quite easy to purchase individual pergola parts from those types of vendors. Aluminum core materials are more expensive than wood composite core but both are available.
The best possible solution that we have found is this Liberty Vinyl Pergola Kit. The list price starts are just under $1,100 and that is really quite a good price for a pergola kit and complete building instructions. You will just need one day and two people and incredibly basic tools to put it together. No cutting or measuring required.
You’ve decided it is time to spruce up your yard and have wisely determined that a pergola would be the fastest and easiest way to do that. So which pergola design will you choose?
Now, if you already have a concrete patio area you will most likely choose to build your pergola over it. An attached pergola is a great option especially on a budget since it eliminates the need for two posts. In fact, a basic 8 x 8 or 10×10 attached pergola with one a roof comprised of one layer each of rafters and purlins (or slats), is less than 30 pieces of material depending on how much shade you want. The tighter the shade patter, the more roof slats you would need. Luckily though, that second layer of a pergola roof is generally made up of much smaller and thinner pieces of material in order to keep the load light. That translates to a lower price per piece.
Of course material selection also drives pricing. Treated pine tends to be the cheapest with cedar and redwood also excellent, though often more expensive options. Price and availability are influenced heavily by your location so it is difficult to give exact information on that topic. Check your local home improvement centers, but an even better option could be a lumber center if there is one near you since they can often get the best prices and will cut pieces ahead to meet the needs of your pergola plan.
As you can see from the images above, detached pergolas are also excellent design options and really do not take that much more time or budget. Don’t think you need to be limited to four posts either. There are some wonderfully unique designs with 3, 5, 6, 7, or 8 posts too. If your budget will allow it, there are some great, larger pergola designs that also are not that complicated to build. In fact, the video below shows a six post rectangular pergola being put together in just one day – after the posts had been set in place – by just three guys:
The posts for the pergola in the video were set in place the day before. Which means that this is a great example of how to build a pergola in one weekend. Especially if you choose a simpler pergola design. Hopefully this has shown you that building your own pergola is an excellent way to start your yard improvement project.
A 1 minute video showing all the tools you will need. You probably already have these and if not, how much fun is it to shop for power tools, right?
A quick overview of the possible designs and uses for your pergola. What exactly do you want out of your pergola?
Now you know you want to build a pergola and you’ve made the all
important decision on basic placement and purpose, but before you go any
further you cannot skip these 5 steps. Seriously. Skipping these will
increase expenses and create significant time delays!
What things should you consider when choosing the perfect spot in your yard for your pergola?