Pergolas are decorative architectural features that can be attached to your house or other outdoor structure, or erected freestanding with pillars. As an extension off the house, pergolas offer a shady 'outdoor room' that will also help keep the house cooler and, when extended over French doors or big windows, they will make the inside room feel and look roomier.
You can often totally custom design your pergola to suit your garden decor, choosing the style of pillars, pedestals, lintels and rafters, and combining them to create a freestanding symmetrical cross-shape, L-shape or U-shape, as well as the more traditional single square shape protruding from the house. You can add garden gates, trellises and garden benches to your design.
Pergolas are available in a totally or partially knocked-down states requiring assembly, or there are many landscape design specialists who will build a pergola to your specifications.
There are many websites, books on garden design, garden and home improvement centres and pergola manufacturers offering ideas and even complete design plans for building a pergola.
You may have to check with your municipal building officials regarding permits for erecting either a freestanding or attached pergola.
A 10x10-foot projection vinyl pergola that will take a weekend to erect will start at about $1400.
To learn more about pergolas, check out the shopping links at the top of this page.