Outdoor trends continue to mimic those from indoor design, so it’s no surprise pergolas remain a popular landscape design feature.
These structures act as a beginning to an outdoor room for clients.
In addition to setting the framework for a room, pergolas also provide them with shade, which is a top selling feature for year-round enjoyment. They allow the air to move through the area, while still helping to block sweltering rays.
Here are three ways you can use a pergola in your landscape design.
1. Find the Best Location
One of the first things you need to figure out when adding a pergola is where it will go in the landscape, according to Britt Russell, vice president of sales for Arbors Direct.
There are two basic options for the pergola placement: attached or detached. Both can be good options, so see what your client prefers.
Warn clients who want the pergola to be attached that it will disrupt their home or the structure it is attached to. You’ll need to let them know you’ll have to add additional stucco or siding to the house upfront so there are no surprises during construction.
If they want the pergola to cover their already installed outdoor kitchen, patio, fire feature or pool space, that will decide it for you. Russell has even had one client who wanted the pergola with grapevines directly above the pool.
You should also consider which area of the landscape has the best views, since you want the client to enjoy being in the pergola. Also, think about the position of the pergola and how much sun and/or shade will hit it during the day.
It’s also important to make sure the pergola design doesn’t block a key view they have from inside the home. For example, a poorly placed pergola could block the client’s view of their water feature from their bedroom. To avoid this situation, use 3D design software to visualize the space from inside the home and outside.
2. Match the Surroundings
While you want the pergola to catch the clients’ eyes and interest, you also need it to fit in with the overall design.
You can tie in color elements from the home, like the trim, by using the same color on the pergola, suggests Russell, who offers pergolas in any color to match or complement a client’s home.
In addition to the pergola’s color, the shape also needs to match the design of the space. For example, if you have a rectangular spot you want to place the structure, make sure the pergola is also that shape.
You should also incorporate the pergola design into your plans according to the exact area you have to cover, Russell adds. That can mean taking into consideration the shape of the house. If there’s a bay window and the pergola will be attached to the home, you can wrap it around the window and mimic those angles in the shape.
3. Pair with Add-On Services and Features
You can really enhance the wow factor and customer experience by incorporating add-ons into the pergola design.
Here are a few that pair with this type of structure really well:
- Outdoor entertainment
- Misting systems
Adding landscape lighting — including uplights and downlights — can have the biggest effect to outdoor living areas. Lighting will also make the pergola space usable all day and night. Incorporating the lights from the beginning will allow the install team to hide wires and ensure the fixtures fit properly.
Using plants in your pergola design will help soften up the space and also provide additional shade in some cases. Russell suggests allowing vines or other climbing plants to grow up the columns and over the top of the pergola for a more natural look.
To make the outdoor room a complete entertainment area, you can also add a mounted TV and sound system to the design. That will help the client really envision what it would be like to enjoy the space.
Russell has also seen designers and installers adding misting systems, like from Pool Fog, to pergolas. They run them internally through the beams of their fiberglass pergolas. This can cool down the space and also create a tropical feel.
Improve Your Pergola Design Plans
Once you understand how and where to place pergolas in your landscape designs for the best look and impact, you can better use them in your designs.
Offer your clients a pergola design that will create an outdoor room, bring shade to their yard, help define the area and give them more space to entertain.
To show them exactly how the pergola would transform their outdoor living space, you can use available models, import images or create custom pergolas using 3D landscape design software.
Vip3D design software’s library includes a variety of images, including structures like pergolas. With the software, you can also preview design templates, search for images, create templates and save your favorites for easy access now and with future projects.
Some of Arbors Direct’s basic pergola designs are already included in Structure Studios’ 3D landscape and pool design software, and you can also import configurations of their other pergola models.