Having a pergola in the garden can be a very nice feature as it adds height and year round interest. However, it is critical that they are correctly situated otherwise it could end up looking out of place and a bit of an eyesore!
As wonderful as a pergola can look, they certainly don’t suit every type of garden, so how can you tell if it will work well in yours?
Before we look at the where of pergola placement, we need to cover the why. If you get the why part right, then it will help you place the pergola properly.
So why do you want a pergola in the first place?
- Is it to help screen the neighbours from viewing directly into the garden?
- Is your garden flatter than the proverbial pancake and you want to create some height and interest?
- Or, perhaps, you just really fancy the idea of having a pergola and don’t have a specific problem to solve?
Anything you place in the garden has to have a purpose, even if it’s just a visual one and never actually gets used. So if you chose the last option, be very careful to make sure your desired pergola actually works with the rest of your garden.
How to correctly place a pergola
You need to think, first and foremost, of a pergola as a path. Completely ignore the fact that it has upright posts and roof like cross beams. Just think path. Now ask yourself, would you put a path in the location that you are planning for the pergola? Would it look right? Or would you be thinking, why on earth would I have a path there!
Things making sense visually is critical, as I mentioned earlier. A pergola is really a fancy walkway, so it needs to go to and from somewhere in order to make sense.
If it doesn’t initially make sense, don’t worry, there are things you can do. If a walkway style of pergola doesn’t seem to work, then consider a corner one instead, as shown in the example gardens below.
A corner pergola also works well in small gardens as it doesn’t take up too much space. The other alternative to a corner pergola is one that juts out from the house, usually over the patio doors. If you choose the latter option do be careful about how much light it will block out, especially when it’s covered with plants.
So, if the pergola doesn’t form a specific function, i.e. it’d not really needed to add height as you already have trees or it won’t work as a path and you don’t require shade over a seating area, then I would suggest you don’t go for one.
I certainly don’t use pergolas in every garden I design – I probably only put them in 25% of the gardens I design, because they are not needed.
Next time we’ll look at the different styles of pergola design you can have and the different types of materials they can be constructed from.
BUT do be warned, a well placed pergola will NOT be enough to give you a stunning garden – you have to get the design layout right first. If you don’t know how to do that then…
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