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Origin and use

A pergola is the best solution if you want an airy, yet clear, spatially limited seat on your garden property. The word pergola comes from the Latin ("Pergula") and means pre-cultivation or cultivation. In antiquity, this term used to refer to porticoes between buildings designed to reduce the strong sunlight in the Mediterranean.

Today, pergolas are still primarily used as a sunscreen, but rather as a loose roof for terraces and patios. In addition, they fulfill other purposes: they are climbing aids for climbing plants, which spread over the roof structure after a time like a canopy protecting the wind and the sun, thus creating a sheltered patio or pergola. In small gardens, pergolas themselves are a design element and are pretty eye-catchers.
Even on the balcony the use of a pergola is possible. The basic framework does not have to be a heavy wooden construction. There are now many variants of light metal, which represent an excellent climbing aid for climbing plants. In this way, a pleasantly shady and densely overgrown space can be made to linger in no time. If you associate the pergola with creeping crops such as vines or kiwis, you also create a small snack garden in the vertical. On the underside of the crossbars you can also attach hooks, for example, to hang flower baskets with strawberry plants.

Pergola on balcony

As a greened shade donor, pergolas are an excellent planting option, especially in limited spaces such as townhouses

Pergolas as design elements

In addition to its function as a light-protected walkway through the garden, the pergola also plays an important role as a pure design element in the garden. It has - created as a double pergola with a central path - at the same time a separating and connective effect. So you can separate garden areas, which are cut longitudinally by a pergola, and at the same time connect the areas at the beginning and end of the pergola. It creates semi-open spaces, covered and yet under the open sky, mostly open at the sides and yet protected.

Colorful pergola

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Pergola: garden

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Pergola ideas for your own garden

Pergola: construction

This gaudy pink pergola certainly attracts a lot of attention. Especially as a highlight in an otherwise simple garden, intense colors turn out very well

Pergola: garden

In Asian-style gardens, it does not always have to be a fancy pagoda, even a simple pergola with green roofs is an excellent idea here

Pergola: pergolas

Somewhat mediocre, a bit medieval, this pergola presents itself, creating a romantic flair. Coupled with the right utensils will quickly become a romantic place for two out of it

Pergola: climbing

If you love modernity, you do not have to do without a pergola. Many architects have given the pergola a modern touch and incorporate it very well into their designs

Colorful pergola

Asian pergola

Romantic pergola

Architectural pergola

Single-row pergolas serve primarily as room dividers and divide the garden into different zones. They are usually occupied at regular intervals with short rungs, the so-called riders, which act as a kind of rudimentary roof. If you want to install a pergola in the garden, you should choose an architecturally sensible place and course. Typically, pergolas are used as an extension of building edges or for framing or unilateral delimitation of terraces or seating near the dwelling house. On the other hand, they serve as privacy screens for the property boundary in exceptional cases.
In narrow or small gardens, a pergola can be used to insert vertical structures or emphasize existing ones. The bounced construction thus becomes an optical counterbalance to the house, the terrace or the neighboring buildings. In addition, a pergola adapts to any garden size. Annual and perennial climbing plants always integrate the construction naturally and elegantly into the overall appearance of the property. Whether with wooden, metal or masonry stone constructions, a pergola, in both large and small gardens, has first and foremost an aesthetic value in addition to practical use.

Pergolas in the rose garden

If the garden is big enough, there are also two or more pergolas in it


The framework of the pergola can be made of different materials, should fit visually to the garden style and to the surrounding buildings also not too strong - except when deliberately desired - represent contrast: In sprawling gardens and parks, the pillars of the pergola are often made of natural stone or clinker, even galvanized steel tubes can be stable carriers. However, both concrete and stone columns are very solid and less suitable for small gardens. Metal structures prove to be discreet and modern.Elegantly curved decorative elements made of cast iron or forged steel underscore the style of romantic rose gardens. Wooden supports are still the most common variant for the construction. Larch, Douglas fir and red cedar, as well as weatherproof composite material are proven wood species, as they are durable. While round timbers seem rather rustic as supports, square timbers fit in gardens that are characterized by clear lines - although there are no strict rules here either. More and more you can see pergolas, which consist of a combination of wood and, for example, stainless steel. In addition to the possibility to buy a finished kit, the own pergola can also be designed and built by yourself.

Modern pergola made of natural stone columns and round timbers

In this case, natural stone columns with roundwoods were combined to form a modern pergola

Tips for pergola construction

Before you start building a pergola, you should plan the building carefully: Where in the garden should the pergola stand? Are there existing walls that can be included in the construction? Should the pergola receive an airy roof construction made of wooden rafters or an awning? These and similar questions have to be answered before construction. The simplest and most common variant is a construction consisting of pillars anchored in the ground, on which the supporting timbers or purlins usually rest in the longitudinal direction. The rafters or support timbers are mounted transversely to create a horizontal, semi-open roof. It is imperative to anchor the supports properly in the ground, so that they can carry the load and withstand stronger gusts of wind. For this purpose, post anchors made of metal (iron shoes) should be embedded in concrete foundations - so-called point foundations. For a sufficient stability provide 30 by 30 centimeters large concrete foundations, which should protrude into the frost-free depth (80 centimeters) into the ground.
The thickness of each wood depends on the height and width of the structure. The plant and snow load must also be considered. A common height of the pergola construction is between 2.20 and 2.50 meters. Post spacing should be 1.50 to 3 meters, depending on the strength and bearing capacity of the purlin - the crossbeam above the post. With a 2.50 meter high construction the abutments should have a diameter or an edge length of twelve centimeters. The distance of the support in the post shoe to the ground should be at least ten centimeters, so that the wood is protected against continuous wetness. In addition, you should provide it with a weatherproof glaze.
For a lateral vegetation with plants can be used between the posts rank elements made of wood. The simplest solution is horizontally tensioned wires. On them, the shoots of the plants can be directed by tying evenly upwards.

Modern pergola covered with wooden slats

The narrow wooden slats and the clear construction result in a modern pergola with sufficient privacy

Suitable climbing plants for pergolas

In order for a green and dense natural roof to cover the pergola, you need suitable climbing plants. Climbing plants with decorative foliage and different flower colors are suitable for planting. Staggered flowering guarantees an attractive growth from spring to autumn.

Natural Pergoa with roses and clematis

The pergola made of natural spruce trunks with roses and clematis fits well into the cottage garden with a book hedge

Large leaves like the whistling (Aristolochia macrophylla) provide shade. Wine and kiwi provide delicious fruits in autumn. Five-leaved Wild Wine (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) decorates the pergola with drooping shoots and fiery-red autumn color. Romantic flair is created with climbing roses and the fruity fragrant honeysuckle (Lonicera), which thrives in sunny to partially shaded spots. Wisteria (Wisteria sinensis) has a unique fragrance in May, with its long flower clusters. Since it grows strongly and forms strong, woody shoots, it necessarily requires a stable trellis.

Wisteria overgrown with wisteria

This white flowering wisteria makes fragrant flower clusters that make this elongated pergola a romantic arcade

The annual bluebell (Cobaea scandens) produces large exotic flowers in full sun. Knotweed (Fallopia baldschuanica) grows fast and thrives in sunny to partially shaded spots. On walls, he needs support in the form of strings or wire. Similarly, the very vigorous mountain clematis (Clematis montana) requires support. Her numerous pink flowers already appear in May.

Clematis 'Hagley Hybrid' on pergola

Forest vines are perfect for bering pergolas. Here the variety 'Hagley Hybrid' transforms the pergola into a veritable sea of ​​flowers

Fast growing climbers are also the gold hops (Humulus lupulus 'Aureus'), a perennial climbing plant, and the one-year-old black-eyed Susanne (Thunbergia alata).

Video Board: How to Build a Pergola | Mitre 10 Easy As.

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