The simplest description of a pergola, or arbour, is a garden feature that forms a shaded sitting area or walkway. It is usually constructed of vertical posts, with supporting cross beams that form a lattice.
Fabric awnings and umbrellas fade with time and can be ruined by harsh winds, but a properly designed and built pergola will stand up against the elements. A pergola provides a wonderfully comfortable place to sit and relax in the shade. They can be built just to cover a barbecue or an entire patio table and outdoor sitting area.
When properly designed, pergolas can spruce up any space. Not only are pergolas beautiful, but they also serve the functional purpose of providing shade. Pergolas can have an edgy, modern look or a more pastoral feel. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination.
While some pergolas might be crafted from antique wood harvested from an old barn, others might be steel framed and roofed with sheathing or lathe. Materials can also include aluminum, vinyl or even PVC. Brick and stone pillars can add a beautiful touch to your property as can intricately carved wooden columns. The materials can match your house or be totally different — adding a unique flair to your private, shaded space.
Often, people strategically plant woody vines to grow over the lattice roof, providing a wonderfully cooling, natural shade. But pergolas can come in all shapes and sizes with a wide range of roof types. They can even be extended from the home or act as a connecting passageway between pavilions or other backyard structures. Some even cover their roofs in metal, creating a wonderful sound and protection when it rains.