What is a pergola?
A pergola is a structure built in the garden to provide a shade over a walkway or seating area. Originally, pergola plans had climbing plants growing on top of the roofing structure to create a cool shade. Today, however, things have changed and translucent roofing materials are used for roofing. Pergola designs and pergola plans allow property owners to use outdoor spaces more constructively during the hot months of the year. A dining set can be assembled under the pergola to create an outdoor dining area.
The History of Pergolas
The Egyptian Connection
The earliest pergola designs, pergola plans and pergola ideas can be traced as far back as the 1400 BC in Thebes, Egypt. It belonged to an Egyptian high court official. While the inspiration for original pergola plans is not clear. It is believed that the main idea behind the pergola ideas was to provide a refuge from the scorching sun. It is also believed that soaked fabric was wrapped around the pergola posts. The heat of the scorching sun made the water in the fabric to evaporate. As moisture evaporates, it absorbs heat from the surroundings, creating a cooling effect as a result. Different pergola designs, pergola plans and pergola ideas were used mainly by the wealthy in society in ancient Egypt.
The Great Italian Renaissance Era
In the 17th century, during the great Italian Renaissance, wealthy Romans used pergolas as extensions in their villas. Pergola designs, pergola plans and pergola ideas differed greatly from the pergola plans used today. During this period of Roman cultural revival, pergola designs, pergola ideas and pergola plans featured luxurious smooth stone pillars on the four corners of the pergola and grapevines grown around the pillars. The grapevines served two important functions. First, they provided a shade over the pergola. Secondly, the grapevines provided grapes used for winemaking.
Modern Pergola Designs and Pergola Ideas
The earliest modern pergola designs were found in London. The Gardens of the Hill in Hampstead featured an extensive pergola designed by Thomas Mawson in 1911 for a client. Pergolas had become less popular in the 18th and 19th century, so the Mawson pergola designs were an indication that pergola designs were making a comeback. The Pratt pergola designs became incredibly popular and are considered the precursor of the modern pergola plans.
Building Materials for Pergolas
The original pergola designs featured brick and stone pillars. However, modern designs featured timber columns and beams designed to have a stunning finish. Galvanized metal beams and columns are also incredibly popular in modern pergola plans, but PVC and aluminum are also popular building materials for pergolas.
Choosing the Best Pergola Ideas
The first thing you need to do when brainstorming pergola ideas is to choose the most suitable materials for your pergola ideas. This will largely depend on the weather of the region you live in. If you live in a sunny area, like Arizona, timber-based pergola plans will be perfect for your outdoor structure. If you live in a wet or snowy region, mold may have an adverse effect on the timber, so you should consider using metallic or PVC beams and columns in the pergola. While you can still use stones and bricks, these two can develop algae and mold, which can make the whole pergola look unsightly. The following are simple pergola ideas you may want to consider:
1) Dome Pergola Designs and Pergola Plans
There are some amazing dome-shaped pergola ideas you can explore. You can build a dome-shaped pergola made of strips of bamboo and carefully-curved timber framing. The dome shape will make your pergola unique, so it can add to the beauty and functionality of your garden. You will need to search the web for dome pergola ideas and analyze all the dome pergola designs and pergola ideas you find. Once you find suitable pergola plans, you can do sizing and hire a contractor to implement that design.
2) Arched Pergola Designs and Pergola Plans
You can put a twist to the traditional pergola designs by adding an arched roof to the traditional timber or metal framing. The beauty of having an arched roof is that you can have extra room under the pergola. The size of the pergola and pitch of the arch can differ with the pergola designs or pergola plans you choose. Therefore, you should spend some time looking at the different pergola designs available online and pick the best dome pergola ideas you can find.
3) Traditional Pergola Designs and Pergola Ideas
Traditional pergola designs can still serve the purpose. Quality craftsmanship and careful selection of building materials can help you come up with an amazing pergola. It is important to note that traditional pergola designs have a rectangular or square framing and a flat roof. Thick treated timber framing is the most popular material for traditional pergola plans and pergola ideas, but it is still possible to use PVC beams and framing instead of timber if you live in an area that experiences extended winters and rainy seasons.
4) Porch Pergola Designs and Pergola Ideas
One of the best pergola ideas is a porch pergola extension. Frames are installed next to the porch and translucent roofing material installed to cover the area.
Modern Uses of Pergolas
1) Swimming Pool Shades
You can install a pergola on the side of the swimming pool to provide you with a cool shade. After taking a dip in the pool, you don’t have to be baked under the hot sun. You can just soak in the sun for a short while and go relax in the pergola.
2) Photography Locations
Pergolas are not only used to provide a shade in the outdoors, they are also aesthetically-appealing, so they can add to the exterior decor of your home. That is why they make the perfect locations for photo shoots.
3) Garden Parties
When you’re planning a garden wedding, birthday party or any type of celebration, a pergola can provide you with a suitable venue for the event. When hosting a wedding in the garden, the pergola can serve as the stage, pulpit or podium where the bride and groom will stand together with the wedding commissioner and best couple. The beauty of pergolas is that both interior and exterior decor can be used on the pergola to improve its appearance.