25 Best Pergola Ideas for the Backyard - How to Use a Pergola

There's no need to travel beyond your backyard a relaxing outdoor retreat.

Country Living editors select each product featured. If you buy from a link, we may earn a commission. Why Trust Us? Polycarbonate Gazebo

25 Best Pergola Ideas for the Backyard - How to Use a Pergola

If you find yourself yearning for an inviting and cool area in your home's green spaces, we understand your restfulness. Creating an outdoor space that's comfortable and cool can be a bit of a challenge—especially if your yard lacks trees to block out the sun's glaring rays. Thankfully, it's super easy to install a pergola kit that provides shade and style to a variety of spaces around your house. If you're DIY challenged and clumsy around a toolbox, consider hiring a contractor to build the pergola of your dreams! Although pergolas are available in a variety of designs and sizes, they all have one primary purpose­–to provide cover from the natural elements.

Pergolas shade owners from the sun’s harsh ultraviolet rays and enclosed styles can keep you dry during periods of heavy rain showers. Pergola is an Italian word with ancient origins and it's derived from the Latin term “pergola” which references a latticework or trellis structure that supports climbing plants. They are distinguishable from gazebos because of their differing dimensions. A gazebo is a freestanding structure with open sides, a roof, and typically constructed in hexagonal or octagonal shapes. Pergolas are structures that consist of parallel columns that hold up an open roof or grid of beams, rafters, or lattice work. They are typically made of wood (and other materials like vinyl and steel) and can be detached or attached to a home.

Pergolas can be customized to include retractable grommet curtains for privacy, incandescent lighting for nighttime lounging, picturesque box planters or hanging planter filled with fragrant herbs or flowers, and ornate trellises for fast growing vines to climb. We found free plans for building your own pergola, as well as fun decorating ideas for existing patio and porch covers. Just be sure to look into whether or not you'll need a permit for your project before you get started, and consider hiring a professional for tough builds.

According to the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) listed pergolas are expected to remain popular in 2024. Usually made of wood or composite material, the structures not only lend sophisticated style to an al fresco sanctuary, but they're also available with additional features including roll-down windows, space heaters, and lighting and sound systems.

Take the road less traveled and add a pergola to entries in need of some shade. Make the addition even more stunning with the addition of some beautiful planters filled with greenery and furniture accents like wicker chairs.

Would you believe this gorgeous pergola cost less than $200 to build? (Plus, we love the stunning chandelier suspended from its center!)

See more at The Creative Home.

If you're one of the lucky people with an outdoor fireplace, adding a complementary pergola to the area will make a cozier lounging area—all day and night!

Edison bulbs and potted plants look beautiful hanging from this pergola made of cedar wood, which is "naturally resistant to rot, decay, and insect attacks."

See more at SF Girl by Bay.

Curtains made of sheets add drama and privacy to this pergola-covered deck.

See more at Love of Family and Home.

When in doubt, add paper lanterns to any pergola for an instantly festive space!

Not only does this pergola provide shade, but it also carves out an inviting space that rivals any living room—especially when outfitted in comfy furniture.

See more at Brooklyn Limestone.

If you are a big kid at heart and want an excuse to put a swing in your yard, get a pergola swing! You can get a custom unit installed by a local contractor. DIY swing kits are available online too.

For her covered patio renovation, this blogger built a cedar plank and polygal pergola.

Maybe you want to have lunch under the midday sun? Consider adding an intimate dining space under a pergola to enjoy a delicious meal en plein air.

This white slat wood pergola consists of supports covered in strips spaced two inches apart—and it couldn't be more stylish and on-trend.

See more at A Beautiful Mess.

This outdoor space has all the bells and whistles, while curtains add privacy and create a resort-like feel.

See more at Centsational Girl.

Plant ladies, this one's for you! Hanging planters bring this otherwise plain pergola to life.

For warm-weather climates, a pergola with an outdoor fan is absolutely essential. Though this project required some electrical trenching, all the hard work paid off in the end.

See more at Room for Tuesday.

Consider a pergola to make an exposed area more kid-friendly and comfortable. Designer Emily Henderson sectioned off this backyard play space for her son, Charlie.

See more at Emily Henderson.

This sleek white pergola runs the length of the house, extending the amount of living space that can be utilized by the family.

See more at Almost Makes Perfect.

This gazebo-pergola hybrid was a time-consuming project but now seamlessly blends into this blogger's beautiful backyard.

See more at An Oregon Cottage.

If you have a plain path to your garden, consider adding a pergola walkway. The addition, can perform a dual purpose by giving a bit of shade and style to the area and serves as a space to pull up a side table and chairs when entertaining guests at home.

This freestanding wood pergola provides a calming poolside escape, ideal for cozying up after making a splash.

Sarah Lyon is a New York City-based freelancer who produces interior design, travel and lifestyle content. Her work is featured in outlets including Apartment Therapy, Architectural Digest, MyDomaine, The Washington Post and The New York Times. Plus, her personal spaces have appeared on Apartment Therapy, The Everygirl, Houzz and more.

Janece Maze is Associate Editor at Country Living, where she covers DIY projects, gardening, and travel. When she’s not in the kitchen creating a new recipe with farm fresh ingredients, you can find her on the road heading to a music festival or browsing a local consignment shop.  

Amazon Is Selling a Walk-In Greenhouse for $75

Get Started on Your Spring Garden Plan Now

28 Easy Garden Trellis Ideas for Plants and Vines

25 Best Evergreen Shrubs for Your Garden

20 Garden Edging Ideas for Gorgeous Landscaping

22 Best Types of Orchids for Your Home or Garden

How to Grow a Bird of Paradise Plant

20 Best Flowering Vines to Add to Your Yard

Beautiful Flowers That Attract Hummingbirds

How to Get Rid of a Ladybug Infestation

Flowering Plants that Attract Bees

How to Keep Rabbits Out of Your Garden

A Part of Hearst Digital Media

We may earn commission from links on this page, but we only recommend products we back.

25 Best Pergola Ideas for the Backyard - How to Use a Pergola

Canopy For Sale ©2024 Hearst Magazine Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved.