10 Best Pergola Ideas to Upgrade Your Backyard

Updated: May 06, 2024

Itching to do an ambitious DIY project in your yard? Take inspiration from these beautiful pergolas.

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The sun is shining, birds are chirping, and the flowers are blooming, so what are you still doing hanging out indoors? Warm weather’s arrival finally means we can start spending more and more time outdoors.

If you’re looking for an easy way to upgrade your outdoor living space, we recommend a pergola. Whether you want a spot to grill or just a place to chill, a pergola is a stylish way to add some shade and definition to your backyard.

What Is a Pergola?

A pergola is a hardscape structure composed of columns that support an open crossbeam roof. It’s meant to be a framework for climbing vines and flowering plants, but it’s such a versatile structure, many people choose to skip the greenery, opting to leave it as is, adding outdoor curtains or bamboo fencing to give it even more shade and privacy.

You can build a pergola almost anywhere in your yard. It’s a great option for a freestanding structure, or you can extend out from your house or even connect two structures.

There are a ton of different pergola designs to choose from and an infinite number of ways to style them. If you’re thinking about adding one to your yard this year, here are a few ideas we loved that will give you some inspiration.

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Pergola 104439017 573557593352482 381215946116945454 N
Courtesy of @in_vest_homes

Sleek and Modern

This stylish pergola by @in_vest_homes is built from welded black metal. The straight lines on the side wall and roof give it ultra-modern panache. The generous size allows for seating and dining areas, creating the perfect weekend hangout spot.

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Small Corner Pergola

Don’t let the size of your outdoor space hold you back from making your pergola dreams come true. This sweet corner pergola by @creativityjinks is the perfect fit for their small backyard patio. Along with a bench, you can add a playful hanging chair for extra seating that doesn’t take up much space.

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Glass Ceiling

If you love the openness of a pergola but you’re worried about tree debris and weather damage, check out this idea from @abibenford. They installed glass panels recycled from a friend’s old conservatory on the top. Now their favorite breakfast area is protected from leaves and bird droppings without obstructing the view of the sky.

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Pergola 21224740 356612291437947 3445511958437036032 N Courtesy of @wildwoodmodern

Cedar Wood Pergola

This stunning cedar pergola by @wildwoodmodern will stand the test of time because cedar wood is weather and mildew resistant, doesn’t warp and naturally repels insects. Plus, we can’t help but swoon over the vintage Preway fireplace and mid-century furniture. Find similar outdoor chairs here.

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Sheer Curtains

You can soften the look of a pergola by hanging sheer curtains, as @randilynnblog did here. The gauzy, lightweight fabric gives this outdoor gathering space a cozy and whimsical vibe. Doesn’t it make you want to put your feet up and enjoy a glass of wine?

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Pergola 107498967 560915598124248 3448544454055612365 N Courtesy of @tellesabelle

Bamboo and Wood Pergola

@tellesabelle finished the wooden main structure of this pergola with bamboo screens, which offer privacy while preserving that sought-after breezy openness. Renovate your backyard with these backyard upgrade ideas.

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Back Patio Pergola

This family-friendly pergola by @jenbenshoof is located right at the home’s back door for an extended living space. The stenciled concrete adds a decorative touch that’s durable enough to withstand the elements. If you’re ready to DIY a similar pergola, you could try an all-in-one pergola kit.

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Pergola 116715833 615221202737128 6929163573930022996 N Courtesy of @houseoflean

Cozy Pergola

We love the cozy feel that @houseoflean created with an outdoor sectional, fire bowl and of course that eye-catching hanging egg chair. Treat your pergola space like an outdoor living room, keeping in mind you want to create a comfortable conversational area.

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Attached Pergola

Pergolas can be a freestanding structure or attached to the home. This pergola by @homesweetlakehouse is a great example of the latter. And we’re giving bonus points for those healthy hanging ferns!

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White and Bright

If you don’t like the look of natural wood, consider a white painted pergola like this one by @twotwentyone. The outdoor dining space feels bright and inviting, and we love how the black and white chairs coordinate with the black and white deck railing.