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Maximizing Your Pergola Throughout the Seasons: 15 Decor and Plant Ideas

By Ed Ball | Published on October 07, 2023 | 5 min read

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A pergola is a gorgeous outdoor space that can transform your yard and turn it into a backyard oasis, but some people don’t know how to embrace their pergolas year-round, so they end up not getting the fullest use out of their pergolas. With some décor and plant ideas, you can transform your pergola and ensure that you are maximizing your pergola through the seasons. Read on to learn 15 steps you can take to get the most out of your pergola throughout the seasons.

1. Enjoy the Night with Lights

There’s no reason you can’t enjoy your pergola at night. Lights, such as lanterns or twinkle lights, can brighten your space while creating a dreamy atmosphere. When you have well-placed lights, it’s never too late to stay out in your pergola and enjoy the great outdoors. You don’t need a lot of light, but some lights perfectly set the mood.

2. Too Sunny? Add Curtains.

At certain hours, especially on hot and sunny days, the sun can shine into your pergola and hit at angles that you hot and cause your eyes to squint. Curtains are an easy way to shield yourself from the sun. Special outdoor curtains are designed to endure the elements and block the worst of the sun. These curtains can also add a lot of style to your pergola. Plus, you can open and close the curtains as you see fit to control your environment.

3. Embrace Seasonal Planters

Planters are an easy way to make an outdoor space feel more customized and beautiful. These planters should reflect seasonal plants. For example, there are lots of flowers that bloom in the spring and summer, but other flowers, like mums, are great for fall décor. You can even put out small evergreen trees in the winter.

4.  Add a Fire Pit

Want to keep warm? A firepit allows you to gather around the fire and stay warm even when the temperature dips down. A fire pit is also lots of fun, allowing you to roast marshmallows and share many fond memories.

5. Decorate for the Holidays

There’s no reason that you cannot add seasonal decorations to your pergola. Adding Christmas lights or other Christmas decorations is a great way to make your pergola a focus in the winter. You can also celebrate other holidays, such as Halloween, by changing your pergola’s decorations.

6.  Outdoor Kitchen Space

If you love to cook, making your pergola into an outdoor kitchen or dining space is a great way to use your pergola better. Outdoor kitchen spaces can include features like grills, dining tables, and basic cookware so that they’re ready for exciting meals.

7. Add Automated Screens

The weather can make it hard to use your pergola quite as much as you may want to. Whether the temperature isn’t right, or the weather just won’t cooperate, by adding automated screens to your pergola, you cannot only transform how your pergola looks, but you can also make your pergola more usable, even when the weather isn’t ideal. These screens can come down when you want a more cozy, internally controlled space, and they can roll up when you want to be in the open air.

8. Incorporate Decorative Screens

You may prefer to add decorative screens versus automated screens. These screens come in a range of styles, and not only do they provide shade, but they can give your pergola more personality that reflects the vibe you want to feel when relaxing in your pergola.

9.  Build a Garden Around Your Pergola

If you have space around your pergola, building a garden around the pergola will allow you to have a scenic environment to look out into. Plants can also serve as shade if you choose larger plants. If you like growing your own food, a vegetable or fruit garden is a great option to make your pergola an inviting environment.

10. Choose Furniture that Adds Function

When selecting your furniture, you want to think about the function you want from your pergola. For example, if you want to go outside and read, a comfy chair is a must. If you want to use your space for dining, a dining table and chairs are the best options. Prioritize what matters most to you.

11. Small Touches, Big Difference

Remember that you don’t have to make huge changes to see a big difference. Small decorations, like a statue you like or pretty hanging lanterns, can make a pergola go from so-so to a place where you want to spend as much time as possible.

12. Carefully Hang Decorations

Pergolas are built for hanging decorations. Hanging plant baskets, lights, and other decorative elements are perfect to hang from the top of your pergola. These items allow you to decorate your pergola without having to take up floor space. You don’t want to get too crazy with decorations because they can make the space feel cluttered or small, so carefully choose what you hang.

13. Pops of Color

Little bits of color can go a long way. When you’re adding décor, choose colors that brighten up the space or reflect the mood you want to create. For example, for a relaxing environment, a blue pillow or planter can add a lot to your space without you having to make huge changes.

14.  Invest in Outdoor Blankets

Even in summer, in certain climates, the evenings can get chilly, severely limiting the time you can spend in your pergola. Buying some outdoor blankets ensures that when you are enjoying your pergola, you don’t have to go inside the second it gets a little chilly. Adding a storage unit can help you stow these blankets away when you aren’t using them.

15. Let Your Personality Shine Through

The main tip for maximizing your pergola’s use is to infuse it with your personality and use it as a space for creative expression. Add plants and décor that reflect your design style. When you customize your pergola for how you most want to use it, you are sure to use it more than if you strive to merely make your pergola look like something you’ve seen in a magazine. You feel most relaxed when a space truly feels like it is yours.

For more ideas on how you can transform your Pergola into an outdoor paradise contact us at Ed Ball Landscape Architecture.