Creating an outdoor space that is equal parts stylish and comfortable can be tricky, particularly if you live in an area with unpredictable weather patterns. This is where pergolas come in. These sturdy structures are designed to provide shelter from the wind and sizzling summer sun when you want to relax in your backyard or host guests for an evening soiree, without leaving you completely closed in. If you're planning a backyard revamp involving a pergola, there are plenty of budget-friendly ideas out there.
Before attending to the decorative aspects of your pergola, it is vital that you get the seating right. Invest in a few wooden or wicker benches and chairs with detachable, washable cushions if you're keen to embrace a chic yet practical outdoor style. Remember that the great outdoors is full of plants and wild creatures that could damage or stain your seating, so you might want to store away soft furnishings when they are not in use. Comfy seating with storage underneath could be the perfect compromise.
If you're planning to host summer soirees under your pergola, a grill will help you keep guests well-fed throughout the evening. Fortunately, there is a wide range of backyard barbecues and cookers on the market, so there is sure to be one to suit your budget. Once installed, simply fire up the heat and throw on a selection of your favorite cuts of meat or veggie substitutes.
One of the best things about pergolas is that they are perfectly shaped to create your very own overhead flower show. Simple hang your favorite flower across the slats in a visually pleasing pattern. The denser the flower arrangement, the shadier your pergola will be — great news if you prefer to stay out of the hot sun and love that dappled vibe.
When the sun starts to set, you will need to illuminate the pergola and keep your parties going. Paper lanterns are a great way to achieve a classy look and are relatively inexpensive if you shop around. Be aware, however, that you will probably need to store the lanterns away when not in use so they do not get damaged. If you're looking for something more permanent, there are plenty of other outdoor lighting options on the market.
Most pergolas are constructed from wood, making them a wonderful canvas for your wildest color dreams. If you want to add some personality to your pergola, paint it a bright color, such as green, blue, or purple. Make sure you find a paint that will withstand the elements, and then enlist a friend or two to help.
To make the most of your pergola, find a way to enjoy it year-round. When winter strikes, an outdoor fireplace or firepit can keep your backyard toasty and warm. Outfit all your guests with cozy blankets and hotel slippers, and serve up toasted marshmallows and cups of hot cocoa.
Most pergolas are a perfect size and shape for a cozy dining area. If you're aiming for a classic rural esthetic, look around for intricate tables and chairs of iron or wood. Fans of contemporary design, on the other hand, may wish to find a dining set boasting sharp, clean lines in weather-proof synthetic materials such as plastic. Whatever you choose, think about rain and snow, and be prepared to store it away when not in use, if necessary.
A few hanging baskets around the perimeter of your pergola can make your backyard feel brimming with life. If you want to add a splash of color to your outdoor space, find flowers in fuchsia or cherry red. For a more muted look, white flowers and hanging vines have a sleek and luxurious appeal. When maintaining your hanging baskets, it may be necessary to re-pot or replace the flowers every so often, particularly when the seasons change.
Spotlights are a fabulous way to add a touch of mystique to any outside space. By adding spotlights to your pergola, you can achieve a luxury look on a budget while ensuring your evening parties and events are always well-lit. It is worth noting that spotlights could be tricky to install, depending on your outdoor setup, and exposed wiring is a safety hazard, so enlist the help of a professional electrician if you're going this route.KatarzynaBialasiewicz / Getty Images
If you have a large household or a backyard that is easily visible to nosy neighbors, why not add some curtains to your pergola? It will add an extra layer of privacy to your outdoor space while providing even more protection from the sun. To ensure that your curtains stay in top condition, look for materials that will resist the elements and are either fade-proof or already light in color.
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