15 Pretty Pergolas To Inspire Your Outdoor Space
Pergolas are the all-stars of garden design. They add shade in a sunny space, give a large outdoor area some definition, bridge the gap between indoor-outdoor living, and look darn pretty while doing it. Here are some of our favorite pergolas and arbors, from the country and the city.
On this rooftop terrace, a pergola adds a sense of enclosure while still providing plenty of sun. A massive outdoor sofa set atop lush AstroTurf creates the ideal spot for sunbathing — for both humans and canines alike!
A canopied pergola provides more flexibility than a porch, but matches the shade coverage. Manually operated, the sailcloth awnings are a fun nautical twist and their softness counterbalances the strong wood pillars and geometric fence.
In between the two pergolas, a lit fireplace provides a focal point as well as a natural gathering place. The knotty cedar posts match the cedar fence.
At French Country shop owner Vi Jull’s Prince Edward County weekend retreat, the back porch looks like something from the south of France. A sparse bistro set and a low-slung wall keeps things minimal and lets the garden be the focal point.
This Muskoka cottage uses pergolas to bridge the divide between indoors and out. At the front, a pergola frames the entrance while trellised retaining walls extend the house outwards.
Pictured from another angle just off the dining room, it’s easy to see how the outdoor architecture creates zones that are perfect for lounging.
Here is the view of the pergola from below the backyard steps.
A large yard can be a blessing, but when left open it can feel overwhelming and impersonal. In order to break up the long lot, a pergola was installed over an outdoor dining and entertaining space. The stone support pillars are actually rectangular and were turned sideways to elongate the sight lines.
Designer Colette van den Thillart’s Toronto home is nothing short of spectacular. Based in London and Toronto, she brings a European flair to everything she touches and her vine covered walkway is no exception. “It’s laid out like a series of rooms, which is a very English way of gardening,” says Colette.
In this West Vancouver backyard, several pergolas help create garden “rooms” which gives architectural interest to the space. On the terrace, the Pennsylvania bluestone floor is edged in concrete.
Along the garden path to the shed, the bluestone walkway is continued but takes a less formal tone than on the terrace, with mismatched shapes and greenery growing in between. Both pergolas were painted to match the trim on the potting shed.
For a more modern take, angular lines and clean edges provide a graphic punch against minimalist plantings of cedar and yucca. This arbor made of elegant red cedar is a welcome pop of rich color, which will only get better with age.
A pergola separates this city driveway from the classically appointed backyard. The Chippendale-style gate riffs on the trellis detail and leads the eye onwards to the Mansard-roof topped garden shed.
Seen from the opposite viewpoint, the pergola seems like a natural extension of the house, matching in both color and geometric detailing.
A cedar pergola was painted a crisp white and paired with big palm leaf plantings to channel the majestic feel of the gardens of Charleston, South Carolina. The center structure is fully equipped with a TV and sound system for the ultimate entertaining oasis.
A skylight in the center structure keeps things light and airy, while the metal chandelier adds a sense of luxury. The plush cushions bring graphic punch to the clean white space.
At this historical house on the Niagara, Ontario, escarpment, the pool was a new upgrade but blends in seamlessly with the old architecture. The 50-foot saltwater lap pool is flanked by an open pergola for a Mediterranean feel.
The open slats of ipe wood provide some dramatic shadows and also some much needed shade on the windy open hillside.
On a country estate in Erin, Ontario, the overgrown ruins of an old barn was transformed into a courtyard terrace and pool. Here, the pergola, built into the old barn walls, was fashioned out of the original barn beams, where wisteria vines will eventually provide a ceiling.
The worn look of the walls and beams provides a distinctive Old World feel. The symmetry of an architectural feature reflected in a still pool creates a dramatic scene.
Pergolas don’t just have to be for shade — they can add a sculptural element, too. A small, simple pergola centers the raised vegetable beds in this Vancouver garden and provides some visual interest for an otherwise flat tract of land.
Closer to the house, a glass-top pergola allows the outdoor kitchen and wood oven to be used even on the rainiest of Vancouver days.
For a thoroughly modern spin on a classic garden feature, landscape designer Joel Loblaw opted for an open post-and-beam arbor. It brings an architectural presence to the long and narrow backyard and frames the space instead of breaking it up.
By marrying the arbor posts with cedar plank walls along the path, the deck and slatted railing are tied into the design. The different spaces mean it can be used for intimate dinners for two or larger garden parties.
Seen from above, the illusion of rooms and designated spaces is clear. Distinctive entertaining and living spaces are created solely through suggestion of space as created by the arbor. A look that works even in the winter!