There’s nothing quite like a backyard with an inspirational landscape or a spectacular swimming pool design that lures us outside to enjoy the great outdoors with friends and family – or to relax alone in the sun. But too much sun — or even a spring or summer rain — can make us rush back indoors.
Enter the pergola, an outdoor construction made up of rafters, beams and posts that can be attached to a structure or stand alone. A pergola not only offers protection from intense sun, but also from rain or wind, allowing you to enjoy an outdoor space regardless of the weather. Oftentimes, landscape designers will grow fragrant, flowering vines on top of a pergola structure, which will help protect against the elements and create an atmosphere. Pergolas are typically used to protect patios, especially those with outdoor seating for dining or relaxing.
Pergolas should not be confused with gazebos, which are always free-standing and tend to have pitched roofs (as opposed to the flat design of a pergola roof), or with arbors, which are usually smaller, almost always overgrown with vines, and usually serve to define different spaces within a garden.
We have compiled 25 of our dreamiest and most impressive pergola ideas that will inspire you to install your own pergola. Whether your style is more relaxed or luxurious, you’re sure to fall in love with these stunning backyard pergola ideas to find solace from the sun’s rays and encourage outdoor entertaining.