From the Italian word for “arbor,” a pergola is a garden structure made of uprights that support a roof made of horizontal beams. It is placed over a pathway, a corner of the garden or extends from the house. Often, a seating or dining area is placed inside it. Though the horizontals alone provide some shade during the brightest part of the day, some pergolas in really hot and sunny climates come with retractable shades made of sailcloth.
What a Pergola Does
Pergolas that are attached to the house are excellent ways to shade a patio, deck or other terraced area while it extends the living space of the house. If a garden or yard is large, more than one pergola can be constructed to help guide a stroller from one part of the property to another. More than one pergola in a smaller yard risks making the space look cluttered. A pergola also adds height to an area of the garden that is a little too flat.
A pergola is often used to support climbing plants and vines. In hot climates, hops are popular vines to be trained up and over these structures. Other plants include clematis, laburnum, …