What is a pergola for?

Beyond looking beautiful, a pergola is a versatile garden feature that plays many roles in helping people enjoy the outdoors. From relaxed seating areas to a place to grow climbing plants, there are endless ways that a pergola can contribute to your garden goals. Choosing one with a roof will provide relief from the sun and shelter from rain, meaning you effectively weatherproof your time outside, too.

What size should I choose

What’s the best height for a pergola? How wide can it be? The dimensions of your pergola will depend on your personal requirements and preference but generally the roof of a garden structure should be high enough to allow even your tallest friends to walk under it comfortably – think up to 2.5 meters. When it comes to width and length, as long as the structure is supported, you can go as wide as you like. Before you measure up, take a step back and see if there is any way to make more room. Are there any furniture or flowerbeds that can be rearranged? A bit of garden feng shui is always a great idea before you make your decision.

My garden is small, do I have enough space?

Think of this garden feature as a way of extending your indoor space and maximising your outdoor space. The light shade and shelter provided by a pergola will allow you to enjoy your garden for longer, and give your backyard a boost no matter the size. Whether you’re working with a paved yarden or a small patch of green, if the dimensions for your chosen structure fit then a pergola is for you.

Where should I place my pergola?

From the sunniest spot in your garden to alongside your prettiest patch of pots and plants, the placement of your pergola is entirely up to you. We recommend thinking carefully about how you plan to use your new garden feature – will it be for relaxing in the shade or hosting a summer soiree? Putting a pergola close to your backdoor creates a natural flow from house to garden. Choosing a spot elsewhere in your space can add drama and a point of interest. Basically, you can’t go wrong!

What material is best?

Pergolas come in a variety of materials, each with their own benefits. Wooden pergolas are probably the most popular. Wooden pergolas require semi-regular maintenance to keep the timbers in tip-top shape.

Aluminium pergolas are an innovative alternative. These chic structures come in a range of sizes and colours, and can look just as at home in a cottage garden or an avant-garde outdoor space. Aluminium doesn’t rust either, so it’s a great choice whatever the weather.
Choosing metal – usually steel - for your pergola means you get a sturdy structure that looks stylish to boot. They are often a cost-effective option, and can complement traditional and contemporary gardens alike. An anti-rust coating increases lifespan and durability.

What are the different styles?

The varieties of pergolas are extensive but they generally fall into two main styles: traditional and modern. Unlike other aspects of choosing a pergola, the style comes mostly down to taste. If you have a country garden you may prefer a traditional style, or if you live in a more urban area then a sleek design might be more up your street. The choice, of course, is entirely up to you!

Do I need planning permission for my pergola?

In the vast majority of cases, planning permission is not required for a pergola unless your house is a listed building or you live in an area with protected flora or fauna. You can check with the local planning department to make sure your property doesn’t fall under any extra rules.