We're just going to come out and say it: If you don't have a pergola in your backyard, chances are you're not making the most of your outdoor square footage. So, what is a pergola? It's a structure typically built with roof beams, without a solid roof or walls. The benefit of the average pergola is its ability to define and establish outdoor spaces, such as dining areas or seating lounges.
And although it's an open structure, you can create privacy by covering the top, adding drapes, latticework, screens, or growing crawling vines.
Read on for 14 pergola designs that will instantly make your backyard a 10 out of 10.
What's better than one pergola? Two. And the only thing better than two separate pergolas is having them stacked one on top of the other. The second floor doubles as it's own pergola as well as a second-floor balcony, while also providing shade for the ground floor. The result is a gorgeous hangout from top to bottom.
If you're looking to dress up your patio with a built-in pergola, don't stop there. Use the overhead beams to hang rattan lamps in varying shapes and sizes. You'll have plenty of light to entertain guests at night and your setup will look equally Instagrammable during the daytime too.
If your backyard square footage allows for it, creating separate vignettes that span the length of your space makes for the ultimate in outdoor design. Block out a dining area with a pergola, create a separate space for a fire pit, and another with outdoor couches for lounging, all with their own purpose and style.
Before you build your pergola, it's important to consider the options for building materials. Different woods will give you endless design options. We love how the light wash of this pergola complements the color scheme in the patio furniture.
Believe it or not, you don't need a ton of square footage to pull off a backyard pergola. This one is situated in the corner, perched up against a wall so it takes up almost no space, but breathes new life into a plain space.
Give your pergola a beachside cabana feel when you arrange wood along the top in a chevron pattern. Modern outdoor furniture and bohemian touches add to the ambiance.
If your style is unapologetically bohemian, this is just the inspiration you've been looking for. Incorporate tons of natural materials, like wood, bamboo, jute, burlap, and rattan for a space that feels like an escape right in your backyard.
If you treat your outdoor pergola as an extension of your space, you'll forget what it even looked like before. Attach the overhead build directly to the exterior of your home and decorate the area as you would any other room in your house. An outdoor rug and candlelight makes your porch a perfect gathering space for warm evenings.
In case you haven't noticed, the structure of your pergola is perfect for hanging string lights. Attach them at the base and let them hang over the sides for a look that's romantic, and dare we say, magical?
If you own a condo or apartment with a small patio, there are still opportunities for big pergola dreams. This tiny patio is proof you can have it all, even on limited square footage. Install one end directly attached to your home to save space, with beams spanning the length of your patio. A few cozy touches and you'll be welcoming guests in no time.
If you're the handy type, invest in plenty of wood to build yourself your dream pergola. Then, with the extra lumber, build a table and chairs that perfectly complement your wooden structure—almost as if they were made for each other. *Wink*
Pergolas don't have to be bulky built-ins. This wrought iron pergola covered in live greenery feels delicate but provides tons of shade, and the final look is reminiscent of a hidden gem you'd find in the south of France.
If you're looking to hide from your neighbors (we can't blame you), adding a rattan shade above your pergola adds extra shade and privacy. Just be sure to secure the cover so it doesn't blow away when high winds blow your way. Finally, installing some outdoor curtains not only add an element of design, they work wonders for when you want to shut out the neighbors.
If the DIY route is not one you're willing to take—we get it, building an outdoor structure can feel daunting—there are plenty of pre-built store-bought pergolas on the market. Add your own flair via outdoor decor and market lighting.