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Pick the Perfect Pergola:

Styling Ideas for your Garden or Outside Space

  • Where to place your wooden pergola?
    If you’ve decided on a wooden pergola, you’ve got great taste. Up next is where to place it in your garden. Here are a few things to mull over when deciding where it fits best: Which part of your garden gets the most sun? If hosting summer barbeques and garden parties are on the agenda, then creating the right conditions for a relaxing social space is a must. If you have an existing patio or decking, this might be a ready-made spot to place your wooden pergola. Other popular locations include outside the backdoor - to help extend your time outdoors and expand your space indoors – and the spot that gets the most sun during the day or the evening Sunrise & Sunset If you'd like your pergola to be a place to relax and enjoy the sun, be sure to consider which areas of your garden catch the sun at different times of the day. Placing your pergola in an east-facing garden will give you morning sun, while a west-facing garden will provide evening sun – perfect for al fresco dining! Where offers the best view and accessibility? If your wooden pergola will be garden eye candy rather than a place for gatherings, it might be best to consider if you have any walkways that could use some sprucing up or shelter. Climbing plants and hanging baskets can look really special when introduced to a position in your garden that deserves to be highlighted. Keep in mind what you can see from your windows too; you want to make the most of how pretty your pergola looks! Which area provides a more serene and private setting? If you're looking to create a peaceful outdoor seating area where you can enjoy some peace and seclusion, you could also opt to place your pergola at the far end of your garden. They are perfect for sitting over comfortable garden furniture or hammocks too, making for a tranquil, restful outdoor chill-out area to relax and enjoy a good book!
  • How to care for your wooden pergola?
    There are a few ways to ensure your wooden pergola has a long life and looks its best. The first is to apply sealant and wood stain every year to keep the wood looking new and fresh. Before coating the pergola in paint, make sure to clean any garden debris or surface material to help guard against decay. Another way to maintain your pergola is to keep any climbing plants or vines trimmed to minimise any extra weight that may put pressure on the garden structure.
  • Do Pergolas provide shelter from the sun and rain?
    Because Pergolas have an open 'slatted' roof, they do not offer full shelter from sun and rain; however, dressing your pergola's slatted roof with natural features such as plants and vines will help provide some additional garden shelter (as well as heaps of natural style!). By adding some greenery to these garden structures, you can not only make it more aesthetically pleasing, but also help to create a more secluded and intimate setting.
  • Is Product Delivery Included with my Order?
    Yes, delivery of all products ordered from Pergola.co.uk is absolutely free! You can trust that your purchase will arrive quickly and safely, without any additional cost to you. We pride ourselves on our excellent customer service and delivery guarantee, so you can rest assured that your order will be handled with care.
  • How long does a Wooden Pergola Last?
    Like most home furnishings and additions, proper maintenance will help increase a pergola's longevity. Given annual care and treatment to help protect your pergola from the elements, you can expect a wooden pergola to last 10-12 years before the wood materials diminish in appearance. To help improve the longevity and integrity of your pergola, you should treat it each year with a good quality sealant and wood stain, perfect for areas of the UK that are more susceptible to wind and rain during autumn and winter. Regular cleaning will also help to keep your pergola looking new for years to come, and prevent the onset of any rot (which can occur to outdoor wooden fixtures that aren't properly maintained). You can provide additional protection from the sun and heat by adding shade to the roof of your pergola. There are a few different options available, including canvas, fabric, and even a 'natural' shade such as vines and greenery. By adding one of these features to your pergola, the additional shading can protect the supporting wooden beams from premature fading and deterioration.
  • Building your Wooden Pergola
    Because we sell a range of products in a variety of styles, shapes and sizes, there is no "one size fits all" set of assembly instructions that we can list here! However, you'll be pleased to know that each wooden pergola kit comes with detailed instructions and information to help you build your pergola in your backyard in a number of simple steps. We strongly advise carrying out any installation on a flat, open surface. To complete assembly effectively, you will also need at least two adults' assistance. We also advise contacting a qualified professional to complete the project if, for any reason, you don't have confidence in your ability to do so.
  • Can I decorate my Pergola?
    Most pergolas are designed with a straightforward, clean-lined look that makes them easy to dress up or down. If you want to add some extra decoration to your pergola, consider hanging fairy lights or lanterns from the beams for a magical evening ambience where you can sit and stargaze. For a more natural look, you could drape climbing plants over the beams and let them grow wild!
  • How can I make my Pergola more private?
    If you're looking to create a more intimate space, there are a few things you can do. Hanging curtains from the beams that are a little shorter than the height of your pergola is an easy way to add some privacy, while still letting in natural light. Or, for a more permanent solution, you could install lattice panels around the perimeter of your pergola. This will provide more solid walls and give you the option to grow climbing plants to add some greenery and privacy.
  • Which are the best roofing materials for a Pergola?
    When it comes to roofing materials for your pergola, there are a few things to consider. If you're looking for protection from the sun and rain, then a solid roof is a good option. For a more open feel, a thatched roof or lattice panels will let in some light and air while still providing some shelter. If you live in an area with high winds, then it's important to choose roofing materials that will withstand gusts. Thatched roofs are not recommended in windy areas, as the straw can be blown away. For a more permanent solution, solid roofs made from materials like metal or tile are a good option.

Frequently Asked Questions

Practical pergolas

Pergolas are often thought of, first and foremost, as a decorative object, but in fact, a pergola can provide shade and shelter to a patio area or decking at the back of your house. A pergola can serve a real purpose as a functional element of garden design.

Garden design

Because pergolas can also be decorative and stylish as well as functional, they are a great and cost-effective way to add interest to any area, provide an archway or canopy over a path, or create a focal point in an otherwise plain garden. A pergola can also ‘zone’ an area by delineating it, such as a location to eat and socialise, or divide one part of the garden from another.

Personalize your pergola

Pergolas form an integral part of garden design. They can complement a garden theme, match furniture or a decking area and be personalised with paint, lights or plants to make a unique statement.

Extend your home

A pergola can extend your living accommodation by adding a dining or socialising area to a living room, lounge, or kitchen. A pergola is informal and flexible and doesn’t detract from the back of the house or swallow up valuable garden space like a conservatory or brick extension. Pergolas don’t usually require planning permission either.

Pergolas are an enduring garden favourite because they offer the homeowner almost limitless design opportunities plus, they work for every kind of outdoor space, whether you have a large garden or a compact courtyard.

1. Slatted Wood Styling

Slatted wood is stylish and contemporary, allowing in just the right amount of light and breeze whilst offering shade. This pergola matches the linear look and regularity of wooden decking and partners well with angular furniture and seating. The overall effect is softened by the warm earthy tones and hues of the wood, which create an organic feel. This particular hardwood is iroko which is very durable, reducing maintenance and timber care.

  • Double check whether you need planning permission, just in case.

  • Before you create your pergola paradise, consider what it will look like, from all angles, this includes from the upper floor of your house and how it might impact the neighbours.

  • Think carefully about roofing options; a semi-permanent roof will give you the best of all worlds, and you will be able to use the area underneath the pergola much more if it is weatherproof.

  • Don’t be frightened to use bold colours, especially if your pergola is to frame a dining or lounge area.

  • Decide whether the pergola is for decoration or function, or both.

  • Choose your location before you decide on design and style.

  • If you want lighting, think about a power source if the pergola is some way from the house.

  • If you decorate with trailing plants, consider how your location will impact plant life in terms of sun, shade and rainfall. Location can limit or alter the climbing plants you choose. Potted plants or hanging baskets can be an easier option.

  • Don’t forget about maintenance – wood is a natural material that will weather in the sun and rain and needs care. This might impact how you want to decorate your pergola.

Top Tips for Planning a Pergola

2. Extended Home Living

A pergola is a perfect way to add extra accommodation to the back of your house without the expense and disruption of building a formal extension or conservatory. 

Pergolas can be freestanding or actually attached to the house and provide a zone effect for eating and socialising, plus shade in the summer for a south-facing terrace. It’s a clever way to extend your house without feeling you are encroaching on the garden. Pergolas can have solid roofs, which means you can access this area even when it rains. A simple design can be highly effective with the addition of climbing, scented plants like roses or pretty hanging baskets.

3. A Pathway to Perfection

A pergola makes a beautiful feature over a pathway, creating a canopy in an area without any features or interest. Put two pergolas adjacent to one another and create a tunnel effect with climbing plants. A pergola placed on the bend of a path creates an archway and can separate areas of the garden or different planting schemes.

In a long straight garden that lacks any natural curves or features, several pergolas create a line which may be dressed with shrubs, pots and climbers to provide an attractive, varied and shaded walkway. Solid paths are interspersed with focal areas of grass and other features to create a diverse scene that draws the eye.

Here are ten of the best pergola designs, ideas to whet your appetite and get the creative juices flowing.

5. Bright, Light and Minimalist

A pergola can remain a simple and unfussy structure totally unadorned and used to define or zone an area for the ultimate in outdoor living. It’s a clever way to extend a place where you may already have garden or dining furniture creating a ‘room without wall’ feel. An adjustable roof provides the best of all worlds.

4. Compact Courtyards

Many people think pergolas are just for gardens, but a pergola can add a feature or zone to the smallest courtyard spaces. Open slats to the sides and roof ensure no loss of light, and potted plants or hanging baskets avoid the need for climbing plants that can be too dominant in a small area whilst still adding that essential greenery.A covered area like this is suitable for multiple uses, and the pergola creates a functional and stylish feature without appearing overcrowded or diminishing the light.

A painted pergola in soft pastels can enhance a small cottage garden and create a rustic feel with potted shrubs and hanging baskets. It’s cosy without being fussy and extends a small house with extra summer seating and an area to dine and socialise or relax. It’s ideal for compact cottage accommodation where an extension or conservatory would swallow up the whole garden

Image by Jason Leung

6. Combine a Pergola with a Water Feature

Combining a pergola with a water feature gives you a chance to up the ante creating height and dimension and making this a multi-dimensional design unique to your garden. Adding tropical-style plants develops a sensory experience. This type of styling can be adapted to contemporary gardens with the use of stone and metalwork as well as rustic and more traditional locations.

7. Super-sized Outdoor Dining

A large pergola provides the perfect zone for a dining and entertainment area; this might include soft seating or a barbeque, a more formal dining area or a hot tub. Delineate the site by using the perimeter of the house or the garden fence and add pretty shrubs in planters or troughs to act as a boundary. Keeping the pergola high enough means no loss of light or air. Soften the look with hanging baskets of pretty flowers or soft green ferns, and pop in a pendant light or two to add a luxury, grand terrace feel. This styling is perfect for outdoor entertaining and requires little natural decoration to look good.

8. Hanging Heaven

Pergolas are not just for delineation or decoration but are a great way to suspend plants, lighting and even furniture. Add a hammock for a touch of real jungle luxury, or suspend a retro Emmanuelle chair, sometimes called a hanging egg chair.

9. Zone In with a Pergola

A pergola can be combined with borders in a large, square or rectangular space to delineate garden zones. It makes a beautiful feature ahead of a lawn, separating the grass from a tiled area or decking outside the back of the property. In a flat landscape, a pergola can add height and draw the eye upwards. Borders planted on either side emphasise the effect of an entrance, so your garden has different rooms. This was how formal gardens were planted in the heyday of garden design. Using evergreen shrubs will ensure the look remains constant all year round.

10. Going Au Naturel

One of the most traditional pergola uses is to train green climbers over the top and then string the interior with pretty lights. Okay, it’s not original, but it really does work time on time and looks stunning in any location. Dine, relax or socialise beneath your green roof, and if the foliage is thick enough, you will be protected from rainfall.

To avoid a claustrophobic feeling, train plants around the corner posts and leave the sides open so there will be plenty of natural sunlight but enough shade offered by the roof canopy

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