How to Plan a Pergola

Get all the info you'll need on how to plan a pergola, then begin designing an attractive focal point for your outdoor living space.

Cedar Pergola

Cedar Pergola


Yard Crashers

By: Sean McEvoy

If you're looking to accent your outdoor space with a natural, attractive focal point, you may want to explore how to plan a pergola.

A pergola won't provide shelter from the wind, rain or sun—but that's sort of the point. This open-roofed structure creates a great focal point or seating area in any outdoor space, and when it's accented with climbing vines or hanging plants, it can create an even more visually appealing connection to the outdoors.

21 Picture-Perfect Pergolas

See All Photos

Wisteria-Covered Pergola

©2000, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Fragrant Climbing Vine Covers Wooden Pergola

©2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Modern Pergola

©2000, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Pergola Pathway

©2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Backyard Shade

Primitive Pergola Effective in Woody Corner

©2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Traditional Pergola Adds Timeless Appeal

©2000, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Living Pergola Shades Outdoor Space

©2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Under Cover

©2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Simple Metal Canopy Ideal for Training Fruit Trees

©2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Roses Contrast with Blue Pergola

©2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Bold Leaved Climber Scales Larger Pergola

©2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Pergola Offers Division in Outdoor Space

©2000, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Modern Pergola Provides Support for Plants

©2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Bougainvillea-Covered Pergola

©2000, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Rustic Pergola in an English Garden

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Pergolas Used to Support Plants and Provide Shade

©2000, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Kitchen in the Sky

Photo By: Image courtesy of Adam Miller

Narrow Brick Pergola Adds Depth to Small Garden

©2000, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Pergola Adds Interest to Woodland Path

©2000, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Relaxing Spot in Debi's Garden

Your first choice when planning a pergola is where it's going to be located. Often, pergolas serve as covers for walkways, or entrances to seating or gathering areas. So consider these uses when deciding where you're pergola will be located.

Next up, you'll need to decide if your pergola will be a DIY project, if you'll hire a professional to build it, or if you'll buy a prefabricated model from a home improvement or garden supply store. Each options has advantages and disadvantages related to cost, time and customizability. An important factor here is whether you want your pergola to match the overall style of your outdoor space and home—if so, a prefab model may be harder to find in a perfect match, and DIY or professional construction may be the answer.

However you choose to design and build your pergola, it's sure to be a visually appealing, fun and functional focal point for your backyard or outdoor living space for years to come.

Decks, Patios, Porches

See All Videos

Next Up

How to Plan for Building a Fire Pit

Make your backyard a hot spot with these helpful hints on how to plan for building a fire pit.

How to Plan for Building a Patio

Get great ideas for your new outdoor space with these helpful tips on how to plan for building a patio.

How to Plan for Building a Deck

Get ready for your deck project with these helpful tips on how to plan the building process.

Deck Plans

Learn how you can find deck plans—often for free—online or through various offline resources.

Outdoor Living Spaces: Ideas for Outdoor Rooms

Learn about options and ideas for outdoor rooms and outdoor living spaces.

Cast Iron and Steel Fire Pits

Learn about cast iron and steel fire pits, and explore the design options available for these popular backyard fixtures.

Patio Covers and Canopies

Grab some great design ideas for patio covers and canopies.

Gazebos for Your Deck

Learn all you need to know about gazebos for your deck, and decide on the design that's right for your outdoor living space.

Patio Gazebos

Learn about patio gazebos and explore your options for adding an elegant and functional element to your outdoor living space.

Wood Burning Fire Pit Ideas

Learn all you need to know about wood burning fire pits, and browse design and construction ideas that'll help create a cozy gathering place in your outdoor living space.

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.