Contemporary, Modern, and Highly Customizable Twists on Old World and Old School Pergola Design Ideas

Traditional pergola

It’s no secret that Americans take great pride in their backyards, collectively spending hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars each year in order to beautify, care for, and maintain their backyard spaces and lawns. Whether it’s a flower garden, a vegetable garden, a Southwestern style rock garden, an edible forest garden using permaculture methods, grassy knolls surrounded by open pasture, or any other kind of green space that serves as a backyard, Americans spend plenty of time and money making it their own. Whether it’s through constructing the best pool houses, cedar sheds, custom gazebos, and other kinds of outdoor furniture, Americans are truly backyard warriors and outdoor furniture specialists!

In addition to the previously mentioned backyard furnishings, pergolas are also a popular choice when it comes to beautifying a backyard space. But wait — what is a pergola? First becoming popular during the Italian Renaissance, are architectural garden adornments that not only beautify a space but serve a very important function; offering respite in the form of shade and therefore cooler temperatures on hot sunny days. They’re perfect for people who want shade but who also want a bit of sunlight. Pergolas are highly customizable, and some people use draped fabric or vines to create more shade and also for aesthetic reasons. There are variety of beautiful and highly functional pergola design ideas out there, and they can modified depending on the needs and preferences of the backyard owner.

For pergola design ideas for your backyard, check out these contemporary twists and traditional applications on a centuries old idea.

Frame an entrance or use as a modern day arbor

This is a very old idea that can modified with contemporary inspiration. Many styles of archways have been made to create grand, awe inspiring entrances since well before the time of the European Middle Ages. This is especially true for flower garden settings, where popular pergola design ideas of the time included the use brick or wrought iron in order to create or highlight a center of interest or focal point. These days traditional and Old World pergola design ideas for creating a grand entrance or a highlighting a focal point can be modernized and tweaked for a fresh look. For example, two birds can be killed with one stone in terms using a pergola to highlight a focal point in an outdoor space as well as using it as an arbor. An arbor is a shady alcove that’s perfect for cooling off on a hot summer day.

The path well traveled

When many people think of pergola design ideas, they tend to think in terms of somewhat stationary alfresco entertaining, lounging, or relaxing outside. But did you know that pergolas can also be used to frame pathways and walkways as well? Creating a shaded walkway is not only a beautiful way to enhance the aesthetics of an outdoor space but it’s also practical as well. Walking to and fro in the heat of the summer sun can be taxing and even dangerous for people sensitive or prone to heatstroke, so creating a shaded walking area is a great way to beautify a space while offering relief from the heat of the sun. In order to add even more of a green feel, try incorporating vines or hanging plant species such as wisteria.

Outdoor kitchens and outdoor livin’

Another wonderful way to create a fresh take on an old idea is to use your pergola as a covering for an outdoor kitchen or cocktail space. Nowadays, more and more people are warming up to the idea of having an outdoor room or multipurpose outdoor space for entertaining, relaxing, and maybe even working outdoors! Having a shade covering over an outdoor kitchen or grilling area is a great way to stay cool and comfortable during the heat of cooking or grilling up a storm, not to mention the way it will enhance the look and vibe of a space. Because it’s over a heated area, consider using metal instead of a wood or another flammable material for safety reasons.

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