To the unknowing observer, pergolas might look like unfinished structures. Pergolas are typically built with simple vertical beams and roof beams, without walls or a solid roof. When you're in the know, however, you'll realize that they're meant to be that way, and that their simple structure has definite pluses. While any outdoor architecture is going to make your outdoor space more livable, the pergola has some advantages that you might not get with a deck or patio.
Along with the wall and roof beams, pergolas typically include some type of deck floor or concrete flooring. In a yard filled with only grass or other living landscaping, the pergola helps to define an outdoor living space. It creates a definite area for eating, entertaining or lounging around with a magazine, offering more privacy than a deck or patio. Add drapes, screens or other materials to the pergola and you'll have even more privacy from public view.
Pergolas can also provide shade in your yard. Some pergolas have simple beams across the top, providing a roof-like structure; others include fabric or lattice that creates an even more defined top cover. While pergolas don't provide total shade, those beams or latticework do provide some relief from the intensity of the sun. At night, you can still sit under the pergola and see the stars.
Your pergola can also provide you with a space for growing vines or other plants that need support. Hops, wisteria, clematis, ivy or grapes may all do well, depending on the growing conditions where you build your pergola. Not only will climbing plants be an attractive addition to the pergola, but they'll also provide you with even more shade and privacy. If space is already at a premium in your yard, the fact that you can use the pergola for vertical gardening could make building the pergola an easier decision.
If you've already begun the process of building a pergola or scouting out materials, then you know that building one is not necessarily cheap. However, the money you invest will come back to you when you sell your home. Adding outdoor space makes your property more attractive as well as adding value. Attractive landscaping can add as much as 20 percent value to your home, reminds home renovation expert Bob Vila.
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