Whilst there may still be frost on the ground early morning, there’s no denying that the days are getting warmer and thoughts of sitting out in the garden are becoming a reality. As the sun gets stronger, creating shade in your garden becomes a practicality, especially when entertaining those all-important guests or simply sitting by yourself in comfort and enjoying the summer safely. Whilst trees are a great natural way to provide shade, unless they are already part of your garden, it can take years for these to grow sufficiently to do the job. Building a pergola can be a simple solution to the shade problem. You can benefit from a pergola built to create shape and structure to the design of your garden, dividing it into separate outdoor spaces, as well as providing shade for the summer months. As pergolas have no set size, they are suitable for all sizes of gardens, so whether your outdoor space is large or small, here are just a few ways that
A pergola is a feature in the garden which provides shade to a walkway or seating area. Traditionally, and in its most basic form,It is a structure created using vertical posts that support cross-beams on top of it. As it is a bespoke structure, it can be designed to suit your needs and used in a variety of ways within a garden setting and as with all garden features new designs are always evolving. Popular types include:
Standalone – as it supports itself, a pergola can provide instant cover in any part of a garden, providing a defined space that can be planted with grape vines to grow around it over time and eventually cover the whole structure.
Dramatic entrance – almost like having a gateway, a pergola can provide a statement to frame your garden, drawing the eye through to the space beyond.
Bench area Pergola - it is possible to build a bespoke bench seat into the main structure and this can be positioned anywhere within the garden. This instantly gives you another place to sit and enjoy the view. Why not put a pergola at the furthest end of the garden and enjoy sitting and taking in the garden from a new vantage point?
Walk through to area – this pergola has been created to cover a path that leads from the edge of the patio down to the bottom of the garden. With jasmine and vines growing around it, the natural shade increases over the summer months, allowing dappled light to spread over the path during the day. It also provides the perfect place to hang garden lighting for the summer evenings, creating a great atmosphere.
Attached to house – a pergola that is right next to your house is classically used to cover a patio space so it can be a great place to relax. It can add style and shade to your seating area and make it a practical, sheltered and usable space even on the hottest days. Fabric can also be hung from the pergola “roof” to add extra shade.
Planted pergola - this pergola structure allows you a space to attach hanging baskets and can even have the poles going into planters. The planters can then contain trailing plants that disguise parts of the pole.
You can make your pergola as shady as you wish. Adding plants, vines, or even fabric over the top to get that desired amount of shade is possible and in some modern or urban structures, glass or metal panels can be added to the top of the structure to add colour.
So, which plants suit pergolas? Here’s a breakdown of the most popular:
Roses are a favourite for many gardeners as they produce a feeling of nostalgia, traditional gardens, tranquility, and happiness. Climbing varieties are perfect to cover a pergola.
Honeysuckle has a distinctive fragrance, which intensifies when dusk sets. Of the 180+ different species, almost all are creepers. It is a large vine that grows rapidly; a single honeysuckle plant can cover up a pergola easily.
Clematis is a great vine as it blooms profusely, flowering from spring. You can grow it easily and combine with other plants, especially with climbing roses.
Passion flower is a beautiful fast growing, hardy perennial. The colourful flowers, beautiful fragrance and edible fruits make it one of most desirable climbing plantsyou can have in your garden.
Jasmine is a most fragrant plant which gives great coverage with simple but prolific flowers.
Grape vine is one of the best climbing plants for pergolas, giving shade and a warm sitting place with the added bonus of juicy grapes later in the season too.
Trumpet Vine, so called because of its trumpet-shaped flowers produce flowers that are orange, yellow or red and are great for attracting bees. This plant looks great on pergolas and trellises. It grows best in full sun to part sun.
Wisteria is a sturdy climber, but it does take a long time to establish, so will not give instant coverage. It produces beautiful hanging flowers.
Sweet Pea is another fragrant vine with plenty of delicate pink, purple or white flowers.
Bougainvillea loves the sun and does not like wet soil. It comes in a wide variety of colours, mainly pink, red, yellow and purple.
With so many different choices of structure and shady plants, why not get in touch to plan your perfect pergola ready for summer?
Take a look at our pinterest board for inspiration here