It is that season again when we get to enjoy the beauty of our backyards. Pergola is probably one of the most beautiful features you can build in your garden. Before you start building backyard pergola, you should determine its purpose. Some use it as a shade for their patios while others use it for simply aesthetic purposes and to frame a walkway or a piece of garden. Once you know the purpose, you can start contemplating the rest.

The shape of the backyard pergola

The design and the shape of the backyard pergola you are making depends purely on your taste and the space you have at hand. A lot of people attach it to their homes and use it as a shade for the patio. For example, these attached pergolas require the shape easier to fix properly to a house and is usually rectangular. If you want a more interesting shape, go for a semicircle rather than a circle as it is easier to attach. You can also choose a cantilever pergola for greater openness.

Select the material


Nowadays, pergolas are mostly built out of wood, steel, aluminum, and vinyl. Wood is by far the most common and offers further choices between hardwood which is more durable, costlier, but perfectly suits older homes. Softwood is a cheaper alternative, but it does not last as long. Wood generally requires more maintenance than other materials. Steel can, on the other hand, last for decades, it is easy to maintain and easier to install. The same applies to aluminum which is perfect for areas with high humidity levels and salty air. Vinyl is the easiest material when it comes to maintenance and it only comes in two shades of white.

Wooden-slats roof

wooden pergola with piano

Now we will look at pergolas based on their roof design. If you have an all wooden pergola with wooden slats roof you are both open to the sky and shielded from the sun. These slats are arranged in such way to provide enough shade for those under it, but also to allow for light circulation of air. They will also retain the view of the blue sky during a sunny day, and the moon and the stars during night time.

A Transparent roof

Pergolas using transparent roofs are usually built for aesthetic and rain protection of the certain area of the garden. They do not do much when it comes to shade and depending on the overall design of the pergola and they can even trap the heat. Therefore, Pioneer Shade experts advise that these are best to be used for attached pergolas in areas which are already protected from the sun by the house or the trees in the backyard.

Sliding panels as a roof

pergola covers

Pergolas are not limited to any of the materials and styles we have described so far. If you have a modern home, you can get a metal structure and combine it with colorful sliding panes you can move along the structure depending on where you need the cover to be. This type of pergolas appeals to modern designs as it’s look is slightly futuristic as well. This modern effect can also be achieved with a cantilever pergolas. Due to its specific structure, they almost always look modern, even when they are not made of metal but a more natural material such as wood.

Read more: What is a patio home?

A bamboo roof

A bamboo roof is usually installed on a wooden pergola. It provides nice shade and lets the breeze through. Unless it is supported by other structural parts of the pergola, it does not really provide the best shield from the rain. If it suits the style of your house, you should by no means go for it. It looks very exotic and very natural.

Green pergolas

Green pergolas look like a natural structure and will appeal to your garden landscape. All you need to do is build a sturdy frame and surround it by climbing plants. They will get to it and cover it in no time. You would be surprised how quickly can certain plants spread and how much shade and rain protection the network of their vines and leaves can provide.

Read more: Plants that absorb humidity

backyard pergola

When choosing the right type of pergola for your garden you should look at your home and the location,  the purpose of the pergola, and also within you. You should decide what type of effect you want to achieve with it, how much money you can invest in it, and how much maintenance work you want to do.

Read more: How To Make A Private Backyard Oasis For Your Home

Top Backyard Pergola Ideas for Your Garden was last modified: July 10th, 2023 by Hannah Thomas
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Zachary Tomlinson
Zachary Tomlinson

I find it interesting to learn that you can install pergolas using transparent roofs. My uncle is looking for ways on how to improve the appearance of his yard and this fits the bill! My uncle digs the aesthetic appeal of transparent things and I’m sure it can boost his curb appeal greatly. I should recommend this to him along with asking him to look for a proper contractor fit for the job.

Oh my god, I imagined some pergolas with wisteria falling from between its rafters and now I can’t even get it out of my head to do it in my patio. Thanks for the ideas ….