Pergola Ideas to Transform Your Backyard

A white wooden pergola attached to a back porch area

Pergolas are by far the most stylish patio covers. Their eye-catching, latticed design is sure to transform even the most basic patio into a beautiful outdoor rec space. 

But pergolas aren’t all style without substance. They’re also highly functional. They can turn your porch, patio, deck, or other backyard areas into a comfortable and useful space to relax, a place with just enough shade to block out pesky sun rays while not obstructing views or the day’s cool breeze.

So whether you’ve built a pergola by yourself or had one installed by a team of professionals, now is the time to consider all the ways you can upgrade it to make it more enjoyable, livable, and visually stunning. That said, here are 10 awesome pergola ideas to take your backyard to the next level.

1. Plants

An easy way to spruce up your pergola is by adding plants and greenery into the situation. Not only will this give your pergola a more natural and colorful element, but it will also create much more homey vibes. In particular, hanging potted plants, well-placed succulents, and climbing vines are the perfect accents to a wooden or aluminum  pergola.

2. Hanging lights

The next easy and affordable step to adding to the aesthetic of your pergola is lighting. Of course, normal lights are all you need, but you should consider hanging string lights or lanterns if you really want to make a statement. These will add a more rustic and dreamy feel while turning your pergola into an idyllic spot for evening dinners.  

3. Curtains, shades, and trellises

One of the main draws for installing a pergola is its open and breezy design. Sometimes, though, people prefer a little more privacy or simply think covering one or more sides of the pergola will add to the appeal. In these cases, curtains, shades, and trellises are the way to go. Curtains can be unfurled to provide necessary shade or seclusion, while trellises are a great decorative feature, especially when paired with climbing vines. Should we talk about motorized screens here too? They are essentially a “roll-down” curtain…

4. Patio furniture

You’ve got a pergola decked out with cool lights and lush greenery. Now you need some furniture to go along with it. When choosing patio furniture, it’s important to buy ones with quality materials and fabrics that won’t get beaten down by the outdoor elements. 

Decoratively speaking, you’ll want furniture that complements or contrasts with the existing style of your pergola area. For a more relaxing pergola area, a chair swing or a hammock is a nice touch.

5. Outdoor fans and heating systems

Unless you live in an area with great weather all year round, you’ll want items that boost the comfort level of your pergola space when the weather is less than ideal—maximizing the use of your outdoor patio as much as possible. 

For areas with unbearably hot summers, this could mean installing an outdoor overhead fan in your pergola. For those who want to enjoy their pergola when the temperature drops, consider installing a propane, electric, or wood fireplace to help keep your space warm.  

A backyard pergola complete with lights, curtains, seating, and plants.

6. Mounted speakers

If you want an extra layer of entertainment in your backyard, you could install mounted speakers on the corners of your pergola. This will make social events on your patio even more fun than they already were. Just remember to purchase outdoor speakers so they won’t have any problems if rain comes pouring in.

7. Stand Alone pergola

Also known as free-standing pergolas, these outdoor structures are not attached to the house and are best for homes without existing patios. Stand-alone pergolas are typically built-in areas of the backyard that serve a specific purpose but also need to be somewhat covered—think a poolside seating, dining space, or bbq area.

8. Attached pergola

On the flip side, there are attached pergolas that use an existing segment of a home, patio, porch, or deck to build off of. Attached pergolas can be fitted to any nook or cranny on the outside of a home, which offers many decorative and design choices to consider. Do you want an angled pergola covering your porch? Or maybe a pergola covering your attached patio that is surrounded by trellis on all sides? The choice is yours.

9. Firepit 

Unlike other covered patios, pergolas can be fitted with a firepit thanks to their open design, ensuring appropriate ventilation. Firepits are fantastic for three things: adding a nice ambiance, providing heat, and as natural lighting when using your pergola at night. All of those things will lead to you getting more enjoyment from your pergola and using it more often.

10. Outdoor kitchen or bar

Last but not least, pergolas are great for creating trendy outdoor kitchens and bars in your backyard. Unlike traditional outdoor coverings and enclosures, pergolas are open enough to cook or grill without dealing with ventilation problems or smells. On top of that, there are very few things better than making a drink with a cool breeze flowing in and a pool nearby. It’s the perfect fit.

Installing a pergola

If you’re thinking about installing a pergola, sure, you could do it yourself. But we have to warn you; it’s not easy. There are numerous things to consider, such as the type of material to use, the style of the design (free-standing vs. attached), the size and measurements, maintenance requirements, and much more.

That’s why we recommend hiring a reliable installer to handle building your pergola for you. It’ll save you a headache, a lot of effort, and you know it’ll be done right. At Screenmobile, our expert team of pergola installers can do all of the above and more.

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