When the summer sun starts to shine, it’s easy to want to spend as much time outside as possible. But you’ll also want a shaded spot so you can stay outside, yet protected at the same time.
Pergolas are a great solution. Not only can they elevate the look and style of your home, but they’re a great space to enjoy being outside in all sorts of weather. They can be dressed up or down, depending on your personal style and tastes.
If you’re looking to add a pergola to your outdoor living space, but aren’t sure what direction to go, read on! We have all the information you need on the different types of pergolas and how to add this feature to your home.
What Is a Pergola?
For starters, a pergola is not the same as a gazebo, trellis, arbor, or pavilion. While all these outdoor features are similar, they all have different purposes and looks.
While there are many variations to the specifics, a pergola is basically a shade structure with a partially open roof. One of its most defining features is the columns that support the roof. A pergola can be free-standing with four posts (or more) or attached to your house with only two. The specifics are really up to you.
Beams and Rafters
Beams are what attach the columns to one another or the columns to your house. Rafters are what lay across the top to provide shade.
Also known as purlins, these are slats that sit on top of the rafters. They also run perpendicular to the rafters in order to create more shade underneath the pergola.
If you end up attaching your pergola to the side of your home, then the ledger board replaces the beam that would have run between those two columns. Instead, the ledger board is attached to your home, and the rafters attach to the ledger board. This is only necessary if your pergola is not free-standing.
There are many options to choose from when building a pergola. What you choose will depend on a lot of different factors. What looks best with your home? What’s your budget? Do you have to consider building permits or a homeowners association?
Below are some of the most popular pergola materials for you to consider.
Perhaps the most common and traditional of your pergola options, wood is a great choice. Its natural beauty will create a peaceful place for outdoor seating, eating, or even gardening.
If you’re interested in building a pergola yourself, wood is a great way to tackle this do-it-yourself project. Cedar or teak are both great options and will last for many years to come.
If you’re interested in building a pergola in your backyard, but don’t want to tackle it yourself, check out https://coloradoclassicexteriors.com/. They can help you explore your options and create a custom and beautiful pergola for you and your family to enjoy.
You may be more into an industrial look, in which case a metal pergola may be a great choice. Metal is durable and weather-proof, and both steel and aluminum are popular choices.
But metal pergolas aren’t the most DIY-friendly unless you buy a pre-fabricated kit. Metal can rust as well, so maintenance is an important part of owning a metal pergola.
PVC, or polyvinyl chloride, is another popular choice for a pergola for home improvement. It’s an extremely common material in construction these days. PVC is durable and can withstand a lot of environmental factors.
However, while PVC can last a long time without the needed maintenance of other materials, it can get expensive. Fiberglass is another durable, yet pricey, option as well.
Types of Pergolas
When it comes to the types of pergolas, the uses are endless! You can personalize them in a variety of ways to meet your needs and aesthetic preferences. The best pergola is going to be the one you enjoy and get the most use out of each year.
A pergola makes a wonderful spot to create an outdoor dining area. You can place a table and comfortable chairs underneath, knowing that your guests will enjoy shade and sun while eating.
You can also jazz up your evening meal by stringing outdoor lights from your pergola. Not only does this add some elegance, but creates a warm ambiance for everyone.
If eating outside isn’t your priority, add some cozy outdoor furniture in the form of couches and chairs. You can read or relax outdoors while enjoying a shaded area to protect you from the day’s heat.
A fire pit can also be a great addition, whether it’s gas or wood-burning. Just be sure to check your local zoning laws and fire restrictions to be sure you’re following all safety precautions.
A pergola is the ideal place for hanging ferns, flowers, and even growing climbing plants such as honeysuckle or wisteria. This creates a natural space, as well as adds privacy from your neighbor’s prying eyes.
Try adding a trellis to one side and planting some climbers. In a few years, you’ll find your outdoor space to be a dream garden.
Shade and Privacy
There are several options to increase the shade your pergola will give. Especially as the sun shifts throughout the day, you’ll probably find yourself wanting to make adjustments.
Pergola covers are one such option. They’re available to purchase in many places and can be customized to your needs. There are even transparent options that protect your patio from rain but still allow sunshine through.
There are also curtains that can be added to the columns and beams. When you want more protection, you can draw them to create a shaded, private spot in your own backyard.
There are even options for adjustable slats or louvers which can be moved to create more shade or allow in more sun as you desire.
Choosing the Pergola for You
No matter what types of pergolas you like or end up going with, it’s a great addition to any outdoor space. You’ll add additional outdoor living space to your home and enjoy the outdoors in all sorts of weather.
Enjoying your backyard in all sorts of weather has never been easier! Don’t forget to customize your pergola with shade, privacy, and plants to make it a special place for you to enjoy year-round.
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