The amazing thing about a backyard renovation is the blank canvas with which you have to work. The only limit is your imagination. Wonderful as this may sound, it can also present quite the daunting project. So many choices, where do you even begin? Add a pool? Convert the backyard into a maze of shrubbery for grins and giggles? Gazebo? Cabana? Fire pits??? Before you get overwhelmed by the possibilities, allow us to nudge you in a particular direction. A classic, stunning addition to your house that will serve you in an array of ways, a match made in heaven; the patio and pergola.

Pergolas

First, an introduction. Pergolas have been around a long, long time. Since the days of Ancient Greece, these structures have been gracing gardens across the world. They can be simple and quaint, lining walking path to provide a little shade and privacy, or grandiose and gorgeous with thatched roof and  soft lighting. A pergola is a simple structure, really. Beams secured on the ground that support an open roof. The roof can be as simple as beams that run one direction, or more complicated with a lattice look. These structures can be free-standing – erected away from the main house – or built as an extension of the house right off the back door. 

What makes this different from a gazebo? Primarily that the gazebo is a more solid structure with a foundation, often elevated off the ground, and a closed roof. While a pergola over a patio might be very similar to a gazebo, they are different deals altogether. Pergolas, do not need a solid, paved foundation – such as a patio – to still be a pergola. You could place a pergola over a swing and call it cute. 

Options

As we mentioned, when they first came around – and for a long time afterwards – pergolas were made with wood. That still stands true today. The favorite types of wood being teak, redwood, mahogany, and cedar. The natural oils they contain make them very durable, standing up to rot, fungi, warping, decay, and termite damage. Times change and we advance as a society and that includes building materials. These days you can opt for a metal such as steel or aluminum. Color and stain options for either variety. 

For the ground, there are just as many choices. From the austere and natural brick patio, to pavers, flagstone, or even marble you can go as basic or bold as your heart desires. When it is time to decide, you’ll want to consider your plans for using your new patio once it’s finished. Marble will create a breathtaking visual, but it’s a porous material that stains and can crack easily. Carerra marble, however, is more durable and stain resistant. But talk about spending a pretty penny. If you plan to host cookouts and parties you’re going to want something that is easy to maintain and durable enough for tables, foot traffic, and still has all the stylish appeal you desire.

Finishing touches, such as lighting and plant growth over your pergola, are only what you want them to be. There’s a plethora of drought friendly vines that can grow up the sides and over the roof to provide beauty and shade from the harsh sun’s rays. Trumpet vine and bougainvillea are just two of the options you have, each coming with their own variety of color options for their blooms. 

As for lighting, you’ve got several choices. String lighting, chandeliers, or both create an inviting ambience, especially as those lazy days drift into endless nights of conversation and fun. You can choose to install permanent light fixtures, or you can keep your options open for all seasons by installing an outlet at the top or base of your pergola. 

Lastly, fill it with a grill and mini bar, large communal table, or fountains and a hammock for relaxing and enjoying all that nature has to offer. The finished product of a patio/pergola combo is in itself a blank canvas. Whether you want to use this space for yoga and meditation, or bringing backyard barbeques to the next level, you’ll be able to achieve your outdoor dreams in this new, brilliant space.

If you are looking to make a little magic in your backyard, consider this classic pairing that’s as perfect as wine and cheese, chocolate and vanilla, coffee and biscotti… you get the picture. You’ll have options at every turn to customize your patio and pergola into something that enhances the beauty of your home and provides a cozy atmosphere for parties and gatherings of all types.