Spending time in your backyard should be relaxing and enjoyable, but some yards are just not inviting at all!
If you want to create a more appealing outdoor space, take a look at these backyard pergola ideas.
With cozy reading areas, outdoor dining, poolside pergolas, and more, there’s something for everyone on this list.
Backyard Pergola Ideas
1. A Natural Oasis
First up is a beautiful backyard pergola idea that focuses on nature. Potted plants and large hanging ferns make it feel like you’re surrounded by lush greenery.
What plant-lover wouldn’t love that? If your backyard is mostly paved, this would be a great way to bring in a more natural look.
Tin sheeting over the roof provides plenty of shade, while the large open sides let the breeze in. A large sectional covered in pillows makes for a cozy place to sit and relax or hang out with guests.
2. All in White
White makes any space look brighter. With a white pergola and bright white furniture, this backyard feels fresh and inviting.
The stained wood deck balances the white and keeps it from being overwhelming. Plus, it’s a lot easier to clean than a white floor would be.
String lights hung over the top provide the perfect amount of lighting for using the space in the evening. A few potted flowers complete the look, giving this pergola a homey feel.
3. Outdoor Dining
This simple backyard pergola design makes for an elegant outdoor dining space.
Using a minimalist aesthetic, the pergola looks expensive even without much in the way of accessories.
Pretty bowls on the table provide a decorative touch. It’s just the right amount of personalization to make the space look welcoming and put together.
Natural colors help this pergola blend in with the natural elements in the backyard. If you like more color, you could easily add a bright tablecloth or more colorful plants around the space.
4. Back to Nature
Getting to spend time in nature is one of the best things about picking out a backyard pergola design. This next idea shows how you can use your outdoor space to relax in comfort while embracing the natural setting around you.
All the plants make this pergola feel like it’s set in a garden. Wicker furniture adds to the natural appeal and gives you a cozy place to sit.
A wooden wind chime is a lovely addition to the natural soundtrack in your backyard. You can sit and listen to the birds while enjoying a cup of coffee in the morning.
5. Hanging Lanterns
Hanging lanterns add interest to this homey backyard pergola idea. The cozy pillows and blanket are so enticing they make you want to curl up with a good book.
The open roof is perfect for enjoying the space in the evening. You can look up and see the stars while you rest and enjoy being outside. What a wonderful way to relax with friends or spend time with your family at the end of a long day.
6. Poolside Pergola
This modern backyard pergola design shows that you don’t need a lot to create an attractive space. A few pool chairs are all that’s required to make the look complete.
At the end of the season, these items could easily be stored away in the garage to wait until next year.
7. Make it a Bar
With plenty of seating, this pergola bar is the perfect space for entertaining. Invite some friends over to have a few drinks at the bar, then relax for a bit on the cozy patio chairs.
The outdoor heater is perfect for enjoying the space on cooler evenings.
Bright colors make this backyard pergola design bold and full of personality. You could easily customize the look with colors in whatever palette you choose. Earthy colors to blend in with nature, pastels for a soft look, or really anything you like!
8. All About the Seating
Even if you don’t have a lot of room to work with, the right backyard pergola design can give you the look and feel you want for your space.
Take this next design, for example. The pergola is arranged to take advantage of all available space.
Long benches covered in cushions create plenty of seating without making the space feel crowded. There’s room for all your friends to join you!
A pretty chandelier hangs down to light the space. The bright white coffee table completes the look and adds functionality. You can use it to set drinks and snacks on, or a stack of magazines.
9. Bohemian Flair
Soft shades of ivory, gray, and tan form the color palette for this next backyard pergola idea.
Fringe elements like the umbrella you can see on the side give the look a bohemian flair without taking it over the top.
Egg chairs have been trendy for the last couple of years. This one is a fun addition to this space and it works perfectly with the bohemian style of the pergola.
Clear roofing lets in the sun while giving some protection from the rain. You could sit and enjoy the space even in a light drizzle. The curtains on the side offer even more protection from the elements.
10. Cozy by the Fire
A firepit is the highlight of this next backyard pergola idea. It’s perfect for roasting s’mores or warming you up on a cool evening.
A large sectional takes up most of the space. It makes the pergola feel cozy but doesn’t leave much room for anything else. To make the area feel more spacious, you could go with a few chairs or a smaller couch.
The bench on the left provides additional seating without taking up too much space. Soft string lights illuminate the space so you don’t have to rely on the fire for light.
11. Made for Shade
A shady backyard pergola design is perfect for enjoying the outdoors without getting overheated by the sun.
A roller shade gives you a ton of versatility in how you want to use the pergola. You can raise or lower the shade depending on the weather and how much sun you want.
On cooler days, lift the shade to enjoy more sun. On hot, sunny days, lower the shade to make the space more comfortable.
12. Keeping it Cool
If a rolling shade isn’t enough, a ceiling fan is another option for keeping a backyard pergola cool. On hot summer days, it’s the perfect way to keep your outdoor space comfortable.
In this large space, multiple fans provide plenty of cooling power. With the breeze blowing, you’ll be able to sit for hours enjoying the space with friends.
If you’d prefer some alone time, this backyard pergola idea includes options! Grab a chair on the side to sit by yourself for a bit and enjoy the view of the garden.
13. A Place to Rest
You don’t need a lot of big furniture or fancy accessories if you don’t want them. Simple pergolas look just as good!
This next backyard pergola idea focuses on rest and relaxation rather than a bunch of extras. A large hammock is the focal point of the space.
Soft lighting adds to the peaceful ambiance, while a few potted plants keep the space from being too plain.
If you want to brighten it up a bit, you could add more plants or a colorful outdoor rug.
14. Take a Swing
This dreamy design is so warm and inviting.
You can build a DIY firepit or go with a premade model from the store to make it easier.
To make the base of the pergola, clear an area in the yard and use patio stones to create an attractive design.
15. Make it Colorful
One of the great things about coming up with backyard pergola ideas is that there’s something for every taste and style.
If you love color, you can use as much as you like to create a striking design.
16. Light it Up
String lights work so well in a backyard pergola. They add the perfect amount of soft light to illuminate the space.
If you don’t want to add wiring for pendant lights or chandeliers, string lights are an easy alternative.
Without any furniture, the lights are the star of the show for this backyard pergola idea. Add some seating or an outdoor dining table, and it’s ready for company.
17. A Cozy Retreat
Have you seen anything more cozy than this beautiful pergola?
Plush seating and plenty of pillows are so inviting. Soft lighting from the lamp, string lights, and candles gives the space a warm glow. Lots of white, gauzy curtains bring the space in, making it even cozier.
Everything works so well together. The result is an elevated retreat that looks expensive and inviting all at the same time.
18. Circle up
The unique shape of this pergola is a real show-stopper! It’s sure to be the focal point of any backyard.
An abundance of pillows makes the space look comfortable and ready for relaxation.
The outside of the pergola doubles as a planter. Potted and cascading plants surround the space, keeping the whole look soft and approachable.
19. Floral Escape
If you love the idea of using your pergola to hold flowers, check out this next design.
Flowers cover the top, and hanging ferns cascade down the sides, creating a stunning natural display.
Neutral colors within the pergola make the bright pink flowers really pop. Coordinating pink pillows brings color into the space. A few additional flower pillows balance the look.
20. On the Rocks
You can put a pergola anywhere you want. On the grass, on a patio, or even on some rocks! One of the best things about using rocks as the base of your pergola is that it’s so easy to maintain.
You don’t have to worry about sweeping or mopping. If the rocks get dirty, just spray them down with a hose.
Bright flowers in the space add plenty of color to the otherwise neutral palette.
How to Design Your Own Backyard Pergola Space
Are you ready to create your own amazing backyard pergola design? Here are some tips to get you started.
First, think about how you want to use the space. That will help you decide what to focus on. For example, If you want a cozy place to relax, prioritize comfortable seating.
If you’re planning on doing a lot of entertaining, choose a design with room for people to gather. You might want a large table or a long sectional for your guests to sit and enjoy.
If you enjoy having meals outside, pick a nice dining table as the focus.
Think About Shade
Some people love soaking up the sun while others would rather avoid it.
Consider how much sun your pergola gets and add shade if needed. Curtains and roll-up sunshades are nice because they can be opened or closed to adjust the amount of sun that gets through.
If the pergola roof panels are on the thicker side, or if it’s in a less sunny location, you might not need additional shade.
Select the Furniture
Furniture is the main event when it comes to putting together a backyard pergola design.
Once you’ve decided what type of furniture you want, the fun part is shopping!
Amazon has a large selection of outdoor furniture, as do many other online retailers. Home improvement stores, big box stores like Target or Walmart, and furniture stores all carry outdoor furniture as well.
Put in Lighting
Lighting is essential if you want to use the space in the evening.
String lights work with just about any backyard pergola design. Pendant lights, chandeliers, and lamps are good options as well.
If you don’t have an outlet near the pergola, consider battery-operated or solar-powered lights.
Add Some Accessories
Accessories make the space more personalized. Things like pillows, blankets, and candles add style and make the space more inviting.
A rug is one of the easiest ways to bring the whole space together. Choose a washable outdoor rug to make cleaning easier.
Time to Put These Backyard Pergola Ideas in Action
It’s time to start bringing these backyard pergola ideas to life! Once you’ve decided on a look, the fun part is putting it all together. Whichever style you choose, the important thing is to have an outdoor space you love.For more ideas on creating an enjoyable backyard space, check out the backyard living page.
- About the Author
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Sadie Teh has experience writing on a wide range of topics including gardening, outdoor life, crafts, travel, and more. She currently lives on 5 acres near Nashville, Tennessee, where she enjoys growing fruits, vegetables, and flowers (there’s always room for one more plant!)
Sadie’s writing is driven by a genuine desire to help people grow beautiful, thriving gardens while sharing the joy and satisfaction that gardening brings. With a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s in education, Sadie’s background not only adds depth to her writing but also allows her to effectively communicate with a wide range of readers.
Sadie’s favorite things to grow are flowers (especially sunflowers) and tomatoes. When she’s not writing or working in the garden, you can find Sadie substitute teaching at her kids’ school, curled up with a good book, or poring over seed catalogs.
Sadie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org