6 Different Backyard Pergola Ideas

One of the greatest benefits of a pergola is the versatility of the structure. It can be used in a variety of ways for a variety of purposes, depending on what you’re looking for with your exterior home design.

This blog will help you decide where to place your pergola, inspire you with backyard pergola ideas, and highlight ways to incorporate this outdoor structure into your landscaping.

#1. Poolside Sunbathing Lounge

One of the more popular ways to use a pergola is placing it next to your pool. A backyard pool pergola can help keep portions of the area shaded so you can stay out longer without burning. When it’s paired with a pool, it makes for the perfect sunbathing afternoon. 

Design Elements: If you’re looking for the perfect lounge spot, here are some of our recommendations to make the spot your own. 

Lounge Chairs, small tables, and rolled towels are all practical essentials for your poolside pergola. These components will make it easy for you to switch between lounging and a dip in the pool. 

To spruce up the space, you can add decorative elements such as tiki or string lights, lightweight curtains to further shade the area, or hanging plants. If you regularly have dinners outside, you could also add a small dining table with chairs.

a wooden pergola with an outdoor kitchen underneath.

#2. Fresh Meals Under the Stars

There’s nothing better than grilling under the stars, and this patio pergola idea can help you create a defined space for your outdoor kitchen. As you begin to plan your design, consider what types of food you cook regularly to decide what equipment would be most useful. 

Design Elements: This outdoor space should be treated a bit differently than your interior kitchen. Materials and equipment should all be outdoors safe and durable enough to withstand all weather conditions. The right materials and equipment mean less maintenance and repairs for you in the future.

Depending on your cooking preferences, you may want a grill, a brick oven, or an outdoor smoker. You should also consider other permanent elements such as sinks, countertops, or cabinetry. 

As you’re thinking about decorative elements to add to your outdoor kitchen, take inventory of your interior kitchen’s style. This is a great place to start and then the spaces can naturally flow together. 

Your outdoor kitchen is an ideal area to decorate seasonally, you can swap out dining table placemats and floral centerpieces depending on the season or occasion.

a pergola covered in pink florals and vines.

#3. Whimsical Garden Oasis

If your garden is big enough, a pergola can help increase growth and add dimension to your greenery. The roof of a pergola makes for a great support system for vines and hanging plants. A pergola can help your plants have a healthy balance between shade and sunlight. 

Here are some garden pergola ideas that can lighten your backyard and provide a refreshing space for plants to flourish. 

There are a lot of great plant options but some fast-growing vines include Morning Glory, Hydrangea Vine, and Honeysuckle. These plants add vertical dimensions to your garden and can create an immersive and sustainable space. 

Design Elements: Other than some of your favorite flowers and plants, you can add other decorative garden elements to enhance the space. Welcome birds into the environment with hanging feeders or a birdhouse. Wind spinners, a metal watering pot, or lamp posts are all great ways to spruce up your garden. 

You can also put vegetable boxes in your garden that can provide you with fresh foods for your kitchen. If the space allows, you can add a small bench so you can enjoy your garden and have a quiet oasis to connect with nature.

underneath a pergola, a small lounge area with lots of hanging plants, string lights, and greenery.

#4. Your New Outdoor Book Nook

Having a place to rewind can be essential to your mental health and overall well-being, especially if this space is out in nature. Spending time outside can help reduce stress, feel more relaxed, and improve your physical health

Design Elements: This space should be designed to be truly your oasis, so incorporate some of your favorite plants, scents, and colors. If you’re looking for some inspiration, here are a few of our recommendations. With all these design elements, make sure you’re getting weather-resistant options.

  • Comfortable chairs or a swing. So you can spend lots of time in this space comfortably, find a hammock, cushioned chair, or outdoor swing.
  • Outdoor Rug. To make the space cozy, add an outdoor rug with your favorite designs or colors.
  • Sensory Elements. This could include wind chimes, a small water feature, or a wind sculpture. These elements can help block out unwanted noises and create a serene atmosphere.
  • Aromatherapy Features. As we mentioned, including some of your favorite things can help you better wind down and relax. Essential oils or candles can relieve pain, elevate your mood, and increase relaxation.
a vinyl pergola with a lounge area underneath and a hot tub next to it.

#5. Personal Patio Spa

Here’s a patio pergola idea that will help you stay warm in the winter and wind down after a long day. Use your pergola to shade an outdoor spa with a hot tub and lounge chair. Let’s go through ways to make the space your own with intimate personal touches. 

Design Elements: Alongside your hot tub, adding outdoor lounge furniture, greenery, and a small fire pit can enhance the space and make it more relaxing for you. For additional ambiance at night, add string or fairy lights around the area or weave them through your pergola.

A pergola with a curtain or shade increases privacy so you don’t have to worry about wandering eyes and also better control airflow.  So, when you’re getting in and out of your hot tub, you’re not hit with harsh cold winds.

#6. Ultimate Entertainment Center

If you’re looking for backyard pergola ideas attached to your house, an outdoor entertainment center may be exactly what you want. Whether you’re looking to watch football on Sundays or set up a Summer movie night, this space can become the ultimate hangout zone. 

As we mentioned above, a pergola provides a bit more privacy for you and helps regulate airflow through the area. If you have a large screen outside, wind could damage the screen or make it a less enjoyable experience. 

Design Elements: Underneath the pergola, you should have some sort of screen and speaker system setup along with comfortable seating. To keep everyone warm and comfortable, you could have patio heaters or a small fire pit. 

Make the space your own by adding fun decorative elements like an outdoor rug, small side tables, and maybe even a popcorn machine!

Choosing Your Pergola Material

As you’re beginning to browse backyard pergola ideas, you’ll need to consider what material is best for your home. The two most common options are wood or vinyl. Both have their own set of pros and cons.

The biggest difference between the two materials is the color options. With a wooden pergola, you can paint or stain it to whatever color you desire. On the other hand, a vinyl pergola can never be repainted so you won’t be able to change colors after you purchase the structure. 

Once you decide where to place your pergola and its purpose, you’ll have a better idea of what material suits you best.