Founder of Toward Music, Jayde is a scripturient with a consuming passion to write. With 12 years experience as a freelance music journalist, she's also a dedicated writer in the business industry with an undying love for typewriters & street press.
Published November 28th 2017
Your home deserves an outside space you can love, use and enjoy all year round. To make the most out of your backyard, pergolas are an intrinsic and practical feature to invest in. Originally used by ancient Egyptians to escape the heat, they're one of the oldest garden structures. Pergolas have stood the test of time. Today, these architecture designs have advanced to suit our lifestyles, adding more to the way we entertain and use our homes.
The right pergola is the perfect way to transform your outdoor space into one that's relaxing and comfortable enough to escape to. It's also a fantastic opportunity to increase your home's value. If your backyard is craving a refresh and you want to maximise its potential and how it's used, here are a few tips to choose the ultimate pergola for your space and budget:
1. The Purpose of Your Pergola
Every successful pergola needs a purpose! Think beyond just enhancing your space too. Do you want to create an additional living space for you and your spouse to enjoy? Is entertaining family and friends a priority? Will the space simply be used for storage? Do you want to create a summer getaway or an area which can be used all year round?
The main difference between patios and pergolas is their purpose and visual charm. A patio's purpose is to expand the current living space, acting as an additional room which is generally attached to your property. Pergolas are designed to enhance your garden's appeal and make the space more versatile. They can be attached or freestanding and are the stronger of designs. Visually, the biggest difference in pergolas is the roof, which typically consists of horizontal planks that are flat and open. These days though, the word 'pergola' has become interchangeable by simply adding a patio roof cover.
2. Design, Shape and Colour
You want your new pergola to look and feel fantastic. The design, colour and shape all make a big impact on the way your outdoor space can be used. If the purpose of your pergola is to create a space that can be utilised all year round, its design must cater for whatever the weather throws at you. Whichever the purpose, it should harmonise with your home and existing architecture. Gable patio/pergolas are designed to work with backyards of all sizes and have a raised roof to offer that feeling of space. You'll want to weigh up whether your pergola will be freestanding or attached the house too. Great Aussie Patios reveal some of the best pergola designs here.
The shape of the pergola will come down to functionality, but aesthetics still play an important role too. Square and rectangular shapes are the most popular because they're the easiest to attach to the house, but don't let that limit your imagination! The shape of the roof can vary from flat, pitched, curved or arched. After you've met the practical needs for your pergola's purpose, you can great creative with colour, flair and other design features which will change the dynamics of your backyard.
3. Choose the Right Materials
Traditionally, pergolas were built of wood, brick or stone. These days the material options are endless (and much more manageable when it comes to upkeep, too). Modern pergolas can be constructed of aluminium, steel, fibreglass and other sturdy materials. But if you do want the charm of natural materials, choose coated alternatives to mimic the look, texture and feel, whilst keeping the structure protected from rot and pests.
Pergolas that look the part are one thing, but if you're wanting to create your own personal retreat or entertaining space, it needs to cater for comfort too. Accessorise your pergola with all the essentials. Make sure there's enough seating to reflect its purpose and choose materials, colours and design styles to complement your new structure. Urbani Furniture and Cosh Living always have some beautiful pieces for inspiration.
If space is tight, opt for multipurpose pieces. Seats with storage underneath or pieces that serve more than one purpose means you can better make the most of your space, without breaking the budget. Check out these tips from Bunnings to choose the perfect outdoor setting.
Pergolas are naturally popular in warmer climates because they're the ideal home for growing creepers and vines. Get creative with your structure and turn it into a living design. Climbing vines, either flowering or non-flowering, will breathe life into your space and connect it with the rest of the outdoors. If you don't want to invest in a roof cover for your pergola and prefer the traditional style of open planks, fast-growing vines over the structure will provide shade from the sun and lush tropical retreat feels. Here are some best pergola plants to get you started or visit your local nursery for advice and inspiration.