Pergola: Cosy outdoor space in the garden

The airy terrace roofing forms a canopy of intense, bright colors in summer, but is also a real eye-catcher even without planting. You can read here what you have to consider when building a pergola and what types of roofing there are.

Origin of the pergola

A pergola is a terrace roofing without side walls, as it is often found nowadays between the house and the garage. Originally a pergola (from the Latin “porch”, “cultivation”) was a pergola on pillars or light columns between the house and the terrace, which was used as a sunscreen because it was covered with climbing plants. Even today, the pergola still offers a sheltered spot that shields you from curious looks, sun and wind.

Use of the pergola

The pergola is a beautiful and airy possibility to create a space limited in the garden or at the house. The use of pergolas is varied. Whether as a protective canopy over the terrace, pergola, shelter for garden furniture and firewood or green shade on the balcony – the pergola creates a comfortable outdoor space and a stage for summer colors.

Despite its Latin name, the pergola does not necessarily have to be based on another architectural form, but is also conceivable as a free-standing building. In large gardens, for example, the canopies can be used to separate an additional outdoor seating area or to divide the garden into different areas. In summer, the pergola becomes an eye-catcher in the garden with a canopy of intense, bright colours.

Excellent pergola samples

Planting the pergola

As soon as spring comes, typical climbing plants such as clematis, ivy, climbing hortensia, blue rain and climbing roses turn the pergola into a green roof. Rapidly growing climbing plants such as hops or the black-eyed Susanne quickly show results. Also climbing useful plants such as vines and even kiwi are conceivable for planting. Different flower colours and staggered flowering times provide a colourful natural roof from spring to autumn and the use of perennial climbing plants means that the roof is densely covered throughout the year.

Both the supporting pillars and the roof beams of the pergola serve as a climbing aid. In addition, the lower cross beams can be used to attach potted plants or hanging baskets. Thus, the undersides of the pergola are always covered with vegetation.

Materials for the pergola

The framework of a pergola consists of several supporting pillars made of wood, stone or metal. The roof construction is made of rudimentary wooden crossbars, which form the basis for a green plant roof in summer. However, there is also the possibility of tensioning a sun sail, for this a waterproof cloth covering is suitable. With the so-called lamella pergola a crank ensures that individual roof lamellas open or close when desired. Depending upon style of the garden and the house the material of the Ranggerüstes should fit well into the overall picture. Masonry pergolas made of natural stone look very solid, just like concrete beams. Other materials such as narrow metal pipes fit modern, puristic green spaces; ornate wrought-iron pillars in romantic gardens.

The most commonly used material for pergolas is wood, especially weather-resistant larch impregnated with steam pressure, Douglas fir, spruce or solid pine. Whether round or square timbers are used to build the pergola is also a question of style. Of course, different materials can also be combined. Common to all construction methods, however, is that the base of the pergola must be fixed deep enough in the ground to provide solid support in storms and rain.

Build your own pergola

For pergolas you can buy ready-made kits at the specialist store. If you prefer an individual terrace canopy, you can dare to build your own pergola. It is important that the ground is level and that the supporting pillars are properly fixed to the ground so that the pergola can withstand violent gusts of wind. This is guaranteed, for example, by point foundations made of concrete. When constructing the roof, plant load, snow load and roof load must be taken into account.

A common height for the construction of a pergola is 2.20 to 2.50 meters. The building material should be weatherproof, with wood beams a steam pressure impregnation is recommended by the specialized trade and the repeated Nachlasieren with weather protection color.

The proximity of the house is the best architectural location for the construction of a pergola, but other places such as a free-standing pergola terrace are also possible. But beware: When building a pergola yourself, it is essential to obtain a building permit under certain conditions. The provisions of building law vary from state to state. A pergola without a roof is usually not subject to approval, but a continuous roof must be approved by the building authorities. Also the prescribed distances to property borders are to be kept.