The basic pergola design consists of multiple pillars covered with a layer of lattice-like cross beams: in essence, an outdoor room without walls. In fact the word itself is derived from Latin meaning "projecting eave." Yet even this most rudimentary definition comes with lots of variation.
Pergolas were originally invented during the Italian renaissance as a minimalist architectural feature that could adorn various public places, but this has changed over time. Many people now find that these structures are not only a great way to add a stylish focus point to a home exterior, but it also adds a functional element to a backyard. They no longer just have to be a pretty, freestanding arches sitting out in the garden because innovative landscape architects and carpenters have begun to use these wooden structures in a more practical capacity.
New Approaches in Landscaping
Instead of just being yet another landscaping component, these edifices have often been used to become part of the landscape itself. Typically they have been used to grow climbing plants, such as roses and vines, throughout the trellis and lattice-work. Except, why stop there? The latticed roof can also be used to hang planters and other various decorations. Many homeowners wind Christmas lights throughout the framework in order create a romantic nighttime affect. Or if you're having a celebration, a birthday or an anniversary, why not thread streamers, hang banners or tie other ornamental décor from the rafters?
Depending on your particular pergola design, you may even be able to install benches within the structure itself. Not only does it give the roofed "room" an architectural enhancement, it also gives you a place to spend time outside. You've spent time and money investing in your backyard landscape, therefore why not install an actual sitting area there as well so you can have a place to relax and enjoy the final result.
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The Newest Transformation
Pergolas are often used as self-supporting alters that curve over pathways to create an eye-pleasing flourish to a garden. Except now even this role is being challenged and redefined. They can now be an extension to your house. When hiring your contractor to build your deck, ask them about these structures and how they can now provide limited shading to a patio. Also, if you have a shed, pool house, or detached garage, these arches have been stretched and extended by carpenters to form impromptu passageways or partial tunnels that provide limited shelter between your home and other outbuildings.
Pergolas are able to provide some protection from the outdoor elements. It can block out some sun and guard against light rain due to its webbed roof. Also, during hot afternoons, the roof's trellis-pattern can create an interesting lighting effect during the daylight hours. However, since this light is able to filter through the top, if you want complete shelter from outdoor elements you may have to invest in some sort of separate, fiberglass cover for the structure (many of these covers are available through different landscaping companies). Not only does the pergola design offer partial protection against the weather, it can also serve as a non-evasive fencing. If you install lattice between the pillars, you now have a beautiful barrier that can provide a small amount of privacy around your home.