What is a Pergola?
A pergola is an outdoor open-air structure that typically juts out from a home. Often, the pergola will have no walls. Instead, the pergola will have a roof or ceiling that blocks a little bit of sun.
Pergolas have the effect of creating a closed-off design in your backyard while not actually closing off space. Instead, it blocks off a particular area from sun and limits precipitation in a certain spot. You can place furniture under the pergola and enjoy your outdoor area in comfort.
Pergolas are an outside extension of your home that can add comfort and convenience for when you want to be outside. Instead of being out in the harsh sun, you can sit in comfort underneath a roof made of cloth, metal, or other material.
Pergolas can be designed for climbing plants. Due to their open nature, vines and similar fauna are encouraged to grow on the structure, offering even more shade from the sun and providing a refreshing new look for the pergola.
Often, pergolas will be attached to the home. Pergolas will also be supported by two posts that help create the desired canopy effect.
It is not uncommon to see freestanding pergolas, though. There are many variations between models that are supported by 4 posts and those that are supported by 6. Additionally, the canopies range from flat to completely arched structures.
Origins of the Pergola
The origin of the pergola dates back to as early as ancient Egypt. The original pergolas were simple archways that were grouped together by necessity. Overhead shade provided respite for those that were working outside.
Pergolas were found in Italy sometime after that. Soon, the concept of pergolas spread to the far corners of Europe. Structures were built to provide shelter from any inclement weather while being outside.
Due to the artificial nature of the structures, pergolas fell out of fashion in the 1700s. With advancements in modern architecture, pergolas became increasingly fanciful, leading to a return of popularity.
Today, pergolas are made in a variety of shapes and with many materials. It is not uncommon to see pergolas made from stone, wood, fiberglass, vinyl, and even cellular PVC. The PVC is a far cry from the natural tendencies of the 1700s, but its beauty more than makes up for any lacking traits.