Picking the Right Pergola for Your Outdoor Space

Why Add a Pergola to an Outdoor Space?

Adding a pergola to an outdoor area is a great way to add a stylish defined space for entertaining and family enjoyment. A pergola can be added to a garden, near a pool, off the house, or a separate area for dining al fresco.

We plan to add two pergolas to our pool house. I have been researching styles, types of materials, and of course….cost! Cost will depend largely on size – getting a pre fabricated out of the box kit will be the most economical way to go. Choices will be limited such as size and structure but it’s definitely worth considering if you have flexibly with your space.

Our Pool House is Complete – Updated Fall 2021

When I initially wrote this post in February we were still in the middle of construction. The pic below shows how the pool house looked in February 2021.

If you remember my posts from late last year, I predicted our pool house would be done by Christmas 2020…at least that’s what I was told. Why the delays? The availability of the sub contractors mainly. Why they had delays – not exactly sure, the pandemic may have contributed but to what extent, I don’t really know.

Check out this video for a full reveal of the pool house with attached pergolas HERE.

Update on the Pergola we Chose for our Backyard and Pool House

We decided on attached pergolas for our backyard project. Each pergola attaches to the pool house with two posts. One pergola in each side gives a very uniform and symmetrical look. Check out this video for a full reveal of the pool house with attached pergolas HERE.

You may also be interested in Things to Consider when Designing an Outdoor Kitchen if you are thinking about creating a fabulous outdoor space or watch the video HERE.

Our Plan to Add Two Pergolas to the Pool House

Let’s talk pergolas. When I started thinking about pergolas, I didn’t know what type of style I was looking for. The pics below helped me narrow down the style I wanted to achieve.

Varying Types of Pergola Styles

Let’s take a look at the different types of styles and features.

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I love the defined walls of this pergola giving it an enclosed feel.

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This fireplace area feels so warm and welcoming. Combining stone, round columns, and natural wood tones adds so much interest to the space.

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This fireplace seating area feels a bit more formal with the fluted columns and the two toned contrast of the pergola.

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I very much like the detail of the edges on the cross bars (top) of the pergola. Most likely I will pick a ceiling style similar to this one.

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The wood tones of this design feels more rustic, casual, and traditional.

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Round columns give the pergola a formal and mediterranean feel.

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This very country feeling pergola is so pretty. I would love to sit under the twinkling lights and the pea gravel to dine al fresco…ah….

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Thought this was a very cool idea, maybe not quite a traditional pergola since it has a roof but I like how it’s built off the home and angled.

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Drapes?! Absolutely! Our pool house design will most likely incorporate drapes of some sort and hanging string lights for sure.

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I feel myself quite drawn to this design. It’s probably my favorite one. All white?! Yes please!

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This design caught my eye because of the rounded arches between the square columns.

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One of the things I love about pergolas is the ability to have flowering vines and wisteria climbing the columns. So beautiful.

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The two toned pergolas are really pretty. I feel all white will fit better into the overall aesthetic of our pool space.

Things to Consider When Choosing a Pergola

Is there a right way and a wrong way to choose a pergola? Depending on your style and budget, choose what you like best. I did prepare a list of things to consider when deciding on a style of pergola for your home. Look at your outdoor space and think about what you like about it.

  • Are you someone to prefer a rambling free form garden with lots of flowers at varying heights or a more ordered garden with shrubs planted in neat and tidy rows?
  • Do you tend to keep your shrubs and trees neatly trimmed or like a bit of extra growth and disorder?
  • How do you feel about symmetry in your design?
  • Are there defined patio spaces or established walkways in your yard?
  • What is your preference – rustic, country, modern sophistication, or contemporary?

A traditional pergola will give you straight clean lines and a more modern feel with square posts while rounded columns lend to a more formal style.

How Will you Use the Pergola Space?

Perhaps for outdoor dining and gardening? Maybe a smaller pergola will suit you perfectly but if you envision large parties and entertaining you will need a larger space. Wood pergolas are the most traditional style with a variety of grains from which to choose while vinyl wrapped pergolas offers maintenance free convenience (supposedly) but is a more expensive option.

It’s also important to think about scale when choosing a pergola. We have to consider the size of our pool house when we pick a pergola especially since each one will come right off the sides. If we pick ones too small, it will look out of proportion to the scale of the pool house and pool, so choosing the right size is important. Most likely it will be custom built so we can choose the scale proportionately.

How Much Shade do you Need?

A traditional pergola has an open style top. The closer the cross bars are to each other, the more shade it provides. It is also possible to install a canopy over the top for additional shade if needed. We want quite a bit of shade, so we will choose cross bars close to each other or a sliding canopy.

What Pergola Features do you Like Best?

Perhaps an arched top or lattice roof appeals to you? A solid privacy panel can create a barrier from your neighbors and worth while to consider. I love lattice panels and would like to incorporate it somehow into our final design.

In the end, the decision is all yours. Determining your style, deciding how you’ll use your pergola, measuring your available space, exploring pergola materials, colors, and features and planning for the right amount of shade are all great ways to narrow your choices.

I know we want all white with square beams and detail on the crossbeams. I have had discussions with my pool house builder about vinyl vs. cedar, pre fab vs. custom. I feel confident that the style we choose will suite the overall aesthetic of the space nicely.

If you want more design inspiration, the outdoor building experts at Trueline have a variety of pergola designs you can use for inspiration.

Check out this video for a full reveal of the pool house with attached pergolas HERE.

You may also be interested in how we restored our old crumbling flagstone walkway HERE.

Do you have a pergola in your yard? Would love to hear any advice you have to offer.



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4 thoughts on “Picking the Right Pergola for Your Outdoor Space

  1. They’re all nice, but I’d probably go with white too. Looks like things are progressing nicely, but hey that’s a lot of snow you have there!

    1. Hi Joni, yes we have had so many storms lately. I’m kinda sick of the snow at this point, ready to see green grass, tulips and longer days with more sun 🙂 The job is progressing slowly but nicely. I was discussing pergolas again today with my builder and I feel white is the way to go even though secretly I dream about black 😉

  2. All these are so pretty! I thought the all-white one was your house for a minute – it would fit perfectly! So fun to see your pool and pool house in the snow! Maybe when it’s all done and it snows again, you can sit in the warm pool and enjoy the flakes coming down! 🙂 Take care out there. Thinking about you!

    1. That would be a lovely sight Barbara. Next season when it snows, we will be right in that hot tub sipping on champagne 😉 Ah…

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