pergola ideas

17 Pergola Ideas and Images for Your Backyard

There are numerous benefits of a pergola in your outdoor space. From having a spot to nap in the afternoons, catching up with some friends, hosting dinners to catching up with your latest reads, there is so much you can do in your backyard. Looking to create a place of relaxation in your home?

I built my wood pergola some three years ago and it is the best decision ever. My kids and I look forward to summer. And to help you make your outdoor living space comfy, we’ll explore some cool ideas below.

Pergola Outdoor Living Space Ideas

What is a pergola? This structure comes in different designs, is made of different materials, and its main purpose is to provide shade and spot for relaxation. The main materials used are:

Wooden pergola: Most wood pergolas are made of cedar. The dark wood gives your garden a rustic look and feel.

Vinyl pergola: Made of PVC material, these types of pergolas are more affordable, portable, and easy to install.

Metal Pergolas: Crafted from sturdy steel, these patio structures are perfect for windy places. 

Pergola Designs

Freestanding pergolas: These types of patio structures are portable and easy to install anywhere in your house. I especially like how they look by a pool. The sleek design creates a stylish place for relaxation.

Attached structure: If you have a small patio, chances are you’ll have to build a small pergola. An attached pergola is a structure whose roof is attached to the wall of your house. When you open your back door you step into your structure. Set up is easy and straightforward. You’ll need to fasten the slats to the wall and add a roof to protect you against the sun. Smart design, unique architectural style, this type of pergola extends from your house to the backyard. 

How to style your outdoor space

There are a few ways to make your seating area look sophisticated and comfortable. Here are a few things I’ve added to my patio pergola.

  • Outdoor dining table

When hosting a garden party, a dining table is a must-have. If you have a wood pergola, I recommend you go for a natural wood table to complete the rustic. For the other types of pergolas, a metal or plastic dining table will do.

  • Fire Pit

Can you put a fireplace under a pergola? Yes, most pergolas have enough clearance for a pit. I opted for a rectangular propane pit that also serves as a coffee table when not in use.

  • Pergola lighting ideas

If you’ll be spending your evenings on your patio, you’ll need to have the space well lit. Some pergola lighting ideas include using string lights, pendant light, or chandelier.

  • Hot Tub

A soak at the end of the day will do you good. . If you have a large pergola, you can set aside some space for one. There are a number of pergola hot tubs on the market to choose from depending on the number of people who will be using it.

  • Climbing plants

If you have a white pergola, your space could benefit from a pop of color. Climbing vines and potted plants will not only add style to your pergola but also offer more shade. Most homeowners plant grape vines, rambling roses, wisteria, and crimson glory vine. For potted plants, you can use hanging baskets of different colors to create the perfect backdrop.

  • Coffee Table

Need somewhere to put your cuppa joe or laptop? From folding coffee tables to rustic trunk tables, there is something for everyone. If you don’t have kids around, a glass table will be a great focal point and make your space more functional.

  • Canopy

Summer can get pretty hot. To protect against the hot sun, it is wise to add a canopy or shade sail to your pergola’s roof. Pick a shade depending on the style of your outdoor structure; attached or freestanding. Also, go for a retractable canopy that is rain resistant to keep your pergola furniture covered.

  • Kitchen

Depending on your pergola design, you can create a cooking corner and add an outdoor grill. Pergola creates the perfect place for bbq and friends during summer.

  • Sofa

Last but not least you’ll need a good outdoor sectional. The perfect outdoor sectional should be stylish, waterproof and easy to move around. Wicker sofas are the best for your outdoor space. Or, you could go for an outdoor bed, more style and space.

Modern pergola design ideas: How to create the ideal private retreat space

Here are a few ideas from other outdoor enthusiasts to help you put everything together.

1. Pergola ideas for a farmhouse home

pergola ideas

Source: @havenbuilders

White exteriors look awesome with contrasting rustic natural wood pergola. Attached to the wall of the house, this pergola takes sophistication to a whole new level. Simple and beautiful. The wide slats ensure there is plenty of light and sun, so you can enjoy your latest reads as you soak up the sun.

A few lights have been added to light up the space at night. A pergola fire pit comes in handy to keep you warm while the kitchen makes it easy to warm meals or bbq. If you love colors, you can fill the vertical space with a few potted Calibrachoa.

2. Small pergola for Small backyard

patio pergola

Source: @101kvm

Small garden? You can still build a pergola and enjoy the outdoors. Tiny but practical, this small pergola can hold a few people. And, to maximize the number of people who can use this wooden pergola we recommend you get some plastic patio chairs. And because we know how crazy hot summer months can get, we recommend you get some pergola curtains.

3. Add a swing chair for maximum comfort

outdoor pergola

Source: @guiadearquitetura 

The pergola is incomplete without a customized relaxation point. An outdoor swing will come in handy. There are different types of pergola swings to consider. And to choose the right one, we recommend you check the stability of your backyard structure, how easy it is to set up, and the number of people that can use it comfortably. You can check some pergola swing ideas here.

4. Rustic pergola with metal roof

Source: @cordonneriedereau

Gorgeous shiplap wall provides a great background for this small pergola. And, if you’ve been looking for pergola decor ideas, there is so much to borrow from here.

From a rustic coffee table to a metal outdoor sectional, there are plenty of ideas to borrow from. For lighting, this homeowner has added colored bulbs that are perfect for parties, vintage lanterns to light the path, and vintage candle holders for romantic evenings. Potted plants add some color while the pergola bench provides room for more guests. Also, a furry friend makes this outdoor structure more homely.

5. Two post ideas for your patio

Source: westerntimberframe.com

Small garden? Though it looks like a trellis, this option is one of the best pergola ideas for small backyards. Boasting of strong, solid construction, this modern two post pergola is strong enough to hold a swing that can accommodate two adults. Because of the size, it cannot hold extras but a few support vines on its roof could make it the perfect focal point for your garden.

6. Pergola on deck ideas

backyard pagoda

Source: @supremepropertiesinc

Can a pergola be built on a deck? Yes and there are different styles you can use to build deck pergolas. You’ll need strong post bases, bolts and beam supports. For the pergola furniture, go for an area rug to keep your feet warm, wicker furniture is always the best choice for outdoor use, and curtains for privacy and shade. Perfect room to spend your summers.

7. Go for a simple design

pergola design

Source: @kayunusantaraku

If you are going the DIY route, I suggest you try this idea. Simple, practical, and easy to do. You’ll have to put in at least a week or two with help from a friend. Though the roof is totally covered, you can opt for a retractable canopy. Open sides ensure there is good flow of air.

8. A touch of sophistication for your outdoor space

ideas for pergolas

Source: @eng.yasminalmeida

A modern house needs something sophisticated. If you are working with limited space, you can still create a relaxation spot in your patio. This pergola ideas shows how to style the space. Long sectional provides plenty of space for your guests while the rectangular fire pit will keep you warm. The pergola roof with large slats lets in enough light and warmth. Add a few neutral color throws to complete the set up.

9. Black pergola for a coastal home

patio arbor designs

Source: @projekthome1.0

If you live by the beach, a wood pergola may not be the best option, unless you know how to maintain wood. We recommend you go for a metal pergola. Coated with rust resistant paint, this black pergola is protected from rust and strong enough to withstand the strong winds. Woven ottoman and moon chairs for comfortable seating. String lights to keep the area lit at night.

10. Use the corners

Source: @paskettpr

A corner pergola is also a great option for small backyards. Your structure will need three or four posts. Pergola brackets make installation on the concrete floor easy. Has enough space for a corner sofa and a small coffee table. Corner pergola is the perfect outdoor structure for anyone with a small backyard.

11. Covered pergola inspiration

Source: @renovation_at_160

If you are looking for a project to start this summer, Renovation_at_160 has inspired most people to make good use of their time and create a cozy outdoor space. They’ve included dark grey pergola images to show this project in different phases. I like the hot tub and egg chair, which makes the space more personalized and cozy.

12. Thatched Pergola with coastal vibes

Backyard pergola ideas need not to be boring. Instead of the traditional pergola canopy you can cover it with a thatched roof. Plant a climbing plant to add some color.

13. Pergola by pool ideas

photos of pergola

This patio pergola provides the perfect shade needed after a long swim. It’s built as an extension of the house, needing only two posts to support it. Bring in a few wicker furniture sets for your company.

14. Curtained pergola with gorgeous lighting

backyard patio

Your outdoor pergola space should be warm and inviting. There are a few pergola decorating ideas to borrow from this image. One, get a cozy outdoor sofa. I don’t know about you but when reading a book I find myself sitting in different positions so I prefer a couch.

Second, get a farmhouse table to place drinks and thirdly a rug. The lights are spectacular. From string lights to floor lamps to candles, there are different ways to make your garden pergola look warm and awesome. This freestanding pergula could be what your backyard is craving for.

15. Rustic pergola with a spacious kitchen

pergola ideas

Can you put a BBQ under a pergola? Yes and this pergola image shows you how to do it. Place your bbq pergola kit between the posts, this protects the posts from heat. Also, because this is a large pergola, you can have a few sets of chairs, a table, and a pit. The lantern lighting adds an industrial flair to the overall set up. You can add a retractable canopy for shade.

16. Pergola on concrete floor

patio structure

Source: @jpgoakframes

Wide open roof and sides on this patio pergola ensure there is proper flow of air, light and you have a 360 view of your garden. The pergola floor is made of concrete blocks, making it easy to keep it clean. Wicker set and round table provide plenty of room for relaxation.

17. Metal pergola for anyone on a budget

cool pergolas

Source: @spgarden.sk

Slide out of your door to your metal pergola. A backyard metal pergola is  cheaper than most cedar options. If you are on a tight budget, you could consider this option. Add a few potted plants and chairs for a complete set up.

Bottom Line

There are different ways to build pergola. The modern pergola ideas above will help you with the design, decor, and more. You can opt for metal or wooden pergola depending on your budget and location. Using any of the ideas above, you can design and create a relaxation haven in your garden.

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