How to Design Arches and Pergolas

Keep these principles in mind when designing an arch or pergola for your garden space.

Font
  • A
  • A
  • A

E-mail This Page to Your Friends

x

All fields are required.

Separate multiple e-mail addresses with a comma; Maximum 20 email addresses.

Refresh

Sending E-mail

Sending E-mail

Or Do Not E-mail

Success!

A link to %this page% was e-mailed

Try to match the scale of your structure to the size of your house and garden. For example, a large pergola with stone pillars and massive oak beams will almost certainly look out of place in the garden of a small, simple house.

Shaded Garden SeatEnlarge Photo+Shrink Photo-DK - Arches & Pergolas © 2000 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Movement and Focal Points

A garden with movement allows you to experience it from different views and perspectives, offering maximum enjoyment of the whole. Arches and pergolas can help introduce a sense of movement around even small gardens. An archway will allow access, inviting you to walk from one area to another, while a pergola over a pathway leads you on to another part of the garden.

All gardens should include at least one area for relaxation; aside from its primary function as somewhere to sit, it is itself a place of interest and reason for movement. Plan a lean-to or freestanding pergola to provide shade and screening over a sitting area, or build an arbor in the cool shade of overhanging tree branches.

Focal points are important to attract attention and give visual movement within a garden, but take care not to have too many: this can look fussy and be tiring on the eye. Arches are obvious points of focus and are often used to good effect in leading the eye to the front gate or other access points, for example, thus giving clear directions to visitors. Arbors, too, are often seen as focal points, enticing you to a cool seat on a hot day. The effect is far more appealing, however, if the arbor is softened and half-hidden by plants growing nearby, rather than placed squarely in the middle of a lawn.

Elegant Pergola with Stone UrnEnlarge Photo+Shrink Photo-DK - Arches & Pergolas © 2000 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Mystery and Tension

Tree tunnels in centuries past were designed to create a feeling of mystery and tension. Today's shaded pergola walks aim to do the same, fostering a sense of intrigue as you pass through the dappled half-light formed by overhead beams and climbers. The longer the walk, the greater the underlying sense of tension, which is broken only when you emerge, inevitably, into full light.

Rose Covered Archway Adds IntrigueEnlarge Photo+Shrink Photo-DK - Arches & Pergolas © 2000 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Arches & Pergolas © 2000 Dorling Kindersley Limited

We Recommend...

Traditional Uses for Arches and Pergolas

Traditional Uses for Arches and Pergolas

Classic arches and pergolas are optimal for preserving shade and adding an inviting touch to any garden space.

Design Ideas for Arches and Pergolas

Design Ideas for Arches and Pergolas

Get inspired to make your arch or pergola a garden retreat with these photos of stunning outdoor spaces.

(9 photos)
Choosing Plants for Arches and Pergolas

Choosing Plants for Arches and Pergolas

Add life to your arch or pergola with these suggestions for colorful and exotic climbing flowers.

Advertisement

HGTV Outdoors Newsletter

Find out how to make the most of patios, decks and all your outdoor areas, plus tips from master gardeners for beautiful flower beds and bountiful vegetable gardens.