You've got the backyard you've always dreamed of, including a patio where you can relax in the sun. To get even more use out of that patio, you need some sort of patio cover to provide a bit of shade. While you could go with an awning or an over-sized umbrella, why not consider something that's a bit more eye-catching? Pergolas may be the answer. Below is a brief description of pergolas and three ways they could enhance your patio and backyard space.

What is a Pergola?

Pergolas are typically free-standing. They consist of a roof and usually four columns at the corners. The roof is usually slated, providing a diffused shade and good air flow. Traditional pergolas are made of wood, such as redwood, cedar, or Douglas fir. Modern versions are sometimes made of aluminum or vinyl. While a wood pergola requires more maintenance, including an occasional paint job, it is the most eye-catching of the group.

Garden Patio Pergola

If you've created a patio setting in the middle of your garden, a pergola will help you provide an intimate seating area. Add potted plants around the edges of the patio and perhaps even some solar lights. Place some hanging baskets from the end beams of the pergola and you'll be surrounded with the color and fragrance of flowers. Patio chairs, lounges, and tables provide comfort in your outdoor space.

Pergolas and Water Features

If your backyard has a pond, why not create a patio setting at the water's edge? The pergola's open walls create a relaxing space with a view. The same idea works with backyard waterfalls and areas set up with bird baths and feeders to attract wildlife. Set up the pergola, add your patio furniture, and then relax while doing a bit of effortless bird watching.

Pergolas Next to Your Home

Pergolas may also enhance the look of decks or patios that are right next to your home. If your patio already gets enough shade because of its location, consider a corner pergola. This is a minimalist version with one or two posts and a small roof that's built on one of the outside corners and is more of a visual accent than a shade provider. It's the perfect spot to hang flower pots, adding color to your patio space. The free-standing, four-posted pergolas are an option, usually for larger patios or decks. Pergolas may also be attached to the house on one end. Technically, they are considered patio covers, but these structures still have the slatted roof and airy design of their free-standing cousins.