Pergola Definition and all you need to start designing


A Pergola is more often than not a directional structure that is leading from one space to another, drawing the eye down its length to a focal point, an entrance or for a framed view.
They are often free-standing, long and tunnel shaped.
An Arbour (Arbor) is a static place, providing shelter to sit beneath a shady alcove.
Usually, it is connected to a building although it could be free-standing.
An Arch is usually a curved structure to an opening in a wall, fence or hedge, or it could be free-standing.
A series of arches supporting or set along a wall becomes an arcade.
All three structures usually have open or semi-solid roofs.
A Lych gate (Lich gate) is a roofed gateway to a churchyard where traditionally the coffin awaited the clergyman’s arrival under cover from the elements.
Therefore, its depth is determined by the average length of the coffin although modern church landscapes appear not to have this facility.

The design of a pergola should reflect the mood and period of the buildings near it and echo the style and architectural features.
The structure should look integrated by echoing the use of the materials in its construction.
The proportions of the pergola need to be considered carefully, particularly the horizontal to width relationship against the structure’s overall dimension and the human form.
The height of the verticals should be at least 2.
50 m, but this will vary according to their spacing and the dimension of the materials as well as the type of vines selected which will eventually provide the bulk of plant growth.
Pergolas being linear are logical structures for walkways where they can provide cool fragrant shade or even edible fruits.
The shape of the structure can be rectangular or square, positioned over hard or soft surfacing.

It can be designed to follow the line of a path or fit into a corner against a boundary wall or fence.
More elaborate designs are feasible such as changes in overall height in order to transverse a slope or cover a flight of steps, or even building it on a stepped base.
The appearance of a pergola can vary by using stone or brick piers with timber beams.
Variations in the height of the beams can provide a more interesting effect.
Round columns or posts with round beams can provide a more natural look, the size of materials can determine a heavy (telegraph type poles) or light (bamboo poles) structure.
When the piers or columns are of masonry it is very important to provide a substantial roof structure.
If it is too flimsy it will look out of scale.
Entrances to pergolas can be emphasised by using architectural type plants in containers or a pair of urns or vases, or even create a small shaped wing wall.
It is also possible to construct a roughly circular pergola, using short roof timbers to connect the posts, arranged around a central feature.
A free-standing structure such as a pergola can, because its height appears to loom over surrounding features.
equally if it is sited in a large open grass area it could look marooned or may even block views from a building.
It is essential to site a pergola where it can blend with its surroundings or be part of the overall framework of the design.
Because the structure is essentially angular it is essential to align it with straight sided features such as walls, fences or buildings to avoid it looking disjointed.
A sunny aspect is important if vines or fruit trees are to be trained against the pergola, and one of its long sides should face a southerly or easterly direction where it will receive sun for most of the day.
It should not be sited in a location that is predominantly shaded by tall trees or buildings, near a where wall it will receive little or no sunlight.
If the pergola is to be erected on a slopping or terraced site.
the top of the structure must be stepped to follow the gradient otherwise it will appear too lofty.
Pleached trees could also create pergolas, some like laburnum have yellow flowers in springtime while hornbeam or lime can provide dense shade even on the hottest day.