Seven Tips for Decorating an Outdoor Pergola

An outdoor pergola in a garden or backyard provides a shaded walk or passageway that usually leads to a feature such as a fountain; it may also be part of a building as a protection for an open terrace. Pergolas are usually anchored to a patio or deck.

1. Wooden/Stone

Modern pergolas are usually built with weather resistant wood such as red cedar, redwood or mahogany, which are ideal woods to use as they are a sturdy and decorative.

2. Style

Pergolas can be large or small, and of any architectural style; they can be left to show the beauty of natural wood or painted in any color(s) you desire.

You can opt for a European style pergola, or if you are so inclined go for an Asian look. You can also go rustic by building a cupola on top.

3. Ornamental and Practical

Pergolas can be both practical and beautiful by training vines or creepers over the supporting pillars. These provide cool shade in warm weather where you can retreat for some quality time; climbing roses would make this space enchanting. Pergolas are open topped except for the planted vines and creepers but they can provide protection from mild showers; they can't withstand heavy rain if they don't have a retractable canopy installed.

4. Back Drop

A pergola makes an excellent back drop for photos, especially for those special occasions  like weddings, where the photos of the bride and groom will be magnificently enhanced.

5. Private and Public

A pergola built over the hot tub is ideal for privacy's sake but built beside a pool it will provide a comfortable spot to sit with friends. Garden furniture will turn it into an outdoor room which can be as decorative as any indoor one: a number of hanging plants, hung from the center of the pergola can be as pretty as any chandelier and will provide coolness. You can also hang wooden windows between the support posts to give the illusion of an indoor room. Your pergola can host a bar or an outdoor kitchen, perfect when entertaining friends.

6. Imagination: No Limits

The pergola can be decorated any way you can imagine: decorative lights and streamers can be hung during the festive seasons. You can build shelves into its design, or some built-in benches for more seating if the pergola is large enough. Some art work (not to be left in place) or mirrors can also be put between the posts. You can place decorative birds in strategic places or butterflies or lady birds, anything you are in affinity with.

7. Pergolas and Children

A swing can be anchored to the sturdy wooden posts of the pergola, providing a source of entertainment for children.                                                                                                                                            

A pergola gives character and beauty to any landscape. It can be expensive but if you use things you have in the house it need not be so. If it is going to be a DIY job, you can use reclaimed wood bought from lumber yards; examine it first for any signs of insect damage. Reclaimed wood is cheaper and has the added charm and patina of age.