A pergola is an endlessly versatile garden building and landscaping feature you can use to focalise, compartmentalise or even connect other elements within your garden.

So, it should come as no surprise that pergolas are becoming more and more popular with the engaged homeowner in the UK.

Paradoxically, then, it’s precisely this versatility that leads many of us to struggle with choosing the right pergola ideas.

The good news is:

At Landscaping Superstore, we’re here to lend a helping hand!

Without further ado, let’s take a deep dive into the most impressive garden pergola ideas and answer all your questions.

Table of contents:

What is a pergola?

A pergola is a structure typically found in gardens, parks or yards that consists of a framework covered with trained climbing or trailing plants. Its primary purpose is to create an outdoor space with an open-roof design, often supported by vertical posts or pillars.

There are plenty of benefits to having a pergola in your garden, and the best pergola ideas in the UK excel in seamlessly combining many of them.

With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at the main ones.

Pergola by the beach


As we’ve mentioned already, pergolas are incredibly versatile and can be customised to suit different styles and preferences, serving as a focal point in the garden or seamlessly blending into the landscape.

Aesthetic appeal

Pergolas add a touch of elegance and charm to outdoor spaces, enhancing the overall visual appeal of your garden with the help of some truly inspirational garden pergola ideas.

Shade and comfort

The open-roof design provides partial shade, making it an ideal spot to relax and enjoy the outdoors while still being protected from the harsh sun.

Defined space

Pergolas define a specific area within the garden, creating a designated space for various activities such as dining, entertaining or reading.

Vertical gardening

Pergola design allows for vertical gardening, as climbing plants can be trained to grow along the framework, adding a lush and green element to the space.

Increased property value

Well-designed pergolas can increase the value of your property by enhancing its overall aesthetics and functionality.

Support for outdoor activities

Pergolas provide an excellent framework for hanging plants, lights or even outdoor curtains, allowing you to make your outside space truly your own and ensure it’s suitable for your favourite activities day and night.

Pergola by the lake

What’s the difference between pergola and pergoda?

Pergodas are similar to pergolas in that they, too, offer plenty of shading. The main difference lies in their roofs.

The thing is:

Whereas pergolas can have sliding or other types of roofs for greater versatility, pergodas have solid slat roofs which can’t be removed. So, if you’re interested in waterproof pergola roof ideas, you might actually want to consider purchasing a pergoda instead.

Now that we know what advantages a pergola can bring to your garden and how it differs from similar structures, it’s time to zoom in on our favourite garden pergola designs and pergola ideas!

1. Combine a pergola with decking

Pergola with decking

Combining a pergola with decking in your garden is one of the hottest pergola design ideas right now because it offers a harmonious and functional outdoor space with several benefits.

Here’s the deal:

To begin with, decking provides a stable and level surface, creating an ideal foundation for furniture, outdoor dining sets or even a cosy seating area beneath the pergola. This pergola on deck setup extends your living space into the outdoors, offering a dedicated area for relaxation, entertainment and socialising.

What’s more:

The combination of a pergola and decking enhances the versatility of your outdoor space. The open-roof design of the pergola allows for partial shade, creating a pleasant environment on sunny days.

The decking, on the other hand, can be designed to seamlessly integrate with the overall landscape, providing a cohesive and visually appealing extension to your garden. Together, the pergola and decking create a multifunctional outdoor oasis, offering a balance of aesthetic appeal, practicality and an inviting atmosphere for enjoying the beauty of your garden.

2. Combine a pergola with a trellis

Pergola with trellis panels

Decking isn’t the only garden design feature that works great alongside a pergola.

Here’s why:

Combining a pergola with a trellis is a brilliant idea that enhances the functionality and aesthetic appeal of your outdoor space. A ‘pergola trellis combo’, with the trellis often integrated onto the sides of a pergola, offers additional support for climbing plants, creating a beautiful green canopy that adds natural shade and a sense of intimacy to the space beneath.

This integration not only adds a touch of sophistication and style but also promotes vertical gardening, allowing for the cultivation of various plants, vines or flowers that can flourish and intertwine with the structure, creating a lush and vibrant ambience.


One particularly helpful design element is framing a view by incorporating two trellises, one on each side of the pergola. This framing technique directs attention to specific focal points, such as a picturesque garden vista or an architectural feature.

As a result, it creates a visually appealing and balanced landscape, transforming the pergola into a stylish architectural element that not only defines the outdoor space but also serves as a captivating frame for the surrounding scenery.

3. Connect a pergola to your home

Pergola connected to a house with a swimming pool

Transforming a pergola into an extension of your roof can significantly enhance your garden by seamlessly integrating indoor and outdoor living spaces, making this one of the most highly functional pergola ideas we’ve come across.

The thing is:

When the pergola is designed as an extension, it serves as a natural transition from the interior of your home to the garden, creating a fluid and inviting connection. This extension provides a sheltered outdoor area that can be used year-round, offering protection from the elements and enabling you to enjoy your garden in various weather conditions.

But wait – there’s more!

The integration of a pergola as an extension to your roof not only expands your living space but also adds architectural interest to both the interior and exterior of your home. These pergola roof ideas allow for the creation of a cohesive and stylish environment, blurring the boundaries between indoor and outdoor living.

Additionally, the extended roof can provide shade, making the garden a comfortable retreat during sunny days while maintaining an open and airy atmosphere.

Key takeaway:

Making a pergola an extension to your roof not only improves the functionality of your garden but also elevates the overall aesthetic and liveability of your outdoor space.

4. Decorate the pergola with plants

Pergola with climbers

Decorating your garden pergola with plants flowers, especially through the use of climbers, wisterias and hanging planters is one of the most popular pergola decorating ideas you’re likely to come across.


Because it offers plenty of benefits that enhance the overall appeal and atmosphere of your garden.

Climbing plants such as roses, jasmine or clematis can be trained to ascend the pergola’s vertical posts, creating a living and ever-changing canopy. This adds a touch of natural beauty while also introducing fragrant scents and vibrant colours, transforming the pergola into a sensory retreat within your garden.

It gets better:

Wisterias, with their cascading blooms, are particularly enchanting when draped over a pergola. Their lush and hanging clusters of flowers create a picturesque and romantic ambience, providing shade and visual interest.


Hanging planters further contribute to the aesthetic charm, allowing you to incorporate a variety of flowers and trailing greenery into your decorative pergola. This vertical gardening approach not only maximises space but also introduces layers of texture and visual appeal to the pergola’s structure, helping attract wildlife to your garden and improving its biodiversity along the way.

And that’s how to decorate a pergola.

5. Add the right lights

Coloured garden lights

If you’re after pergola lighting ideas, this one’s for you!

Here’s the scoop:

Adding lights to your garden pergola is a wonderful way to extend the functionality and charm of your garden.

String lights, for instance, create a magical and inviting atmosphere, gently illuminating the pergola and its surroundings. When draped along the beams or woven through the climbing plants, they add a warm and cosy ambience, making the pergola your go-to place for gatherings, dining or relaxation during those long British summer evenings.


Paper lanterns are another enchanting option for pergola illumination. Hung strategically from the pergola’s rafters, they cast a soft and diffused glow, creating an intimate and festive atmosphere. Paper lanterns come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colours, allowing you to tailor the lighting to suit different occasions or moods.

Whether for a romantic dinner, a festive celebration or simply to enjoy a quiet evening in the garden, the addition of lights to your pergola not only enhances its visual appeal but also extends its functionality into the night, making it a captivating focal point in your outdoor living space.

Looking for more garden lighting ideas? Head over to our dedicated guide.

6. Use a pergola to set up an al-fresco dining room

Al-fresco dining room with a pergola

Using your pergola for zoning has to be one of our favourite pergola ideas on our list.

Here’s an example:

Transforming your pergola into an al-fresco dining room with something like a bistro garden furniture set, for instance, creates a charming and inviting space for outdoor meals.

Start by laying a patio before placing the bistro furniture set beneath the pergola to provide a comfortable and intimate dining area. Consider choosing weather-resistant materials for the furniture to ensure durability in outdoor conditions. Enhance the dining experience by adorning the pergola with outdoor-friendly accessories like cushions, tablecloths or even potted plants to add a touch of cosiness and style.

As with decking, the patio pergola combo is a highly versatile setting for various types of outdoor activities, as it provides the ultimate pergola seating area.

As we said earlier:

Pergolas are excellent for zoning in the garden, regardless of whether you’re looking at a dining room, living room or lounge. The overhead structure not only offers partial shade but also creates a sense of enclosure, making the dedicated space feel distinct and separate from the rest of the garden.

In addition, the vertical posts of the pergola can serve as natural dividers, providing a subtle boundary that enhances the cosiness of the area.

7. Fit pergola curtains for privacy

Pergola with lights

Adding curtains to your garden pergola is a simple yet effective way to enhance privacy in your outdoor space. By draping flowing curtains along the sides of the pergola, you create a soft barrier that subtly screens the area from neighbouring views, making this one of the great small pergola ideas on a budget.

And it doesn’t end there:

These curtains serve both a practical purpose by shielding your space from unwanted attention and contribute to the aesthetic appeal of the pergola, imparting a sense of cosiness and intimacy. The ability to draw the curtains provides a bespoke level of privacy, allowing you to enjoy a secluded and tranquil retreat within your garden, making the pergola a versatile and private outdoor oasis.

8. Maximise small garden space with a corner pergola

Corner pergola

Maximise limited space in a small garden with the help of the latest corner pergola ideas. Strategic placement and thoughtful design are key here.


Placing a pergola in a corner of the garden optimises the available square footage by utilising an often-unused space. Choose a compact and tailored design that fits seamlessly into the corner, ensuring it doesn’t overpower the limited area. Incorporate vertical elements such as trellises or climbing plants to make the most of the upward space, adding visual interest without sacrificing the ground footprint.

By creating a cosy corner retreat with the pergola, you carve out a designated area for relaxation or dining. You’ll also be able to improve the functionality of your small garden while adding an architectural focal point that enhances the overall charm and utility of the space.

Last but certainly not least on our list of garden pergola ideas:

9. Focalise with a Chinese-style pergola

Chinese-style pergola

Introducing a Chinese-style pergola into your garden provides a distinctive and captivating focal point. Characterised by intricate details, ornate carvings and a unique roof design, a Chinese-style pergola commands attention and infuses an air of elegance into the outdoor space.

This is important:

Strategically placing the pergola in a central location or as a key element in the garden allows it to serve as a focal point, drawing the eye with its cultural and architectural significance.

But don’t just stop there! Take things to the next level by complementing the pergola with traditional Chinese elements such as lanterns, bamboo or ornamental plants, further enhancing its visual impact, and creating a harmonious and aesthetically rich focal area within your garden.

Can you build a pergola next to a fence in the UK?

Yes, you can generally build a pergola next to a fence in the UK, but it’s important to consider local building regulations and obtain any necessary permits before starting construction. For instance, planning permission might be required depending on the size (if it’s over 2.5 metres in height) and location of the pergola. As always when thinking about a new outbuilding, the government Planning Portal should be your first port of call.

What’s more:

It’s a good idea to discuss your plans with your neighbours to ensure they don’t have any objections, as good communication can help maintain positive relationships. When building a pergola next to a fence, consider the structural integrity of the fence, and make sure the pergola is properly anchored and won’t adversely affect the fence’s stability.

Is it cheaper to build a pergola or buy one?

In general, building a pergola yourself is often cheaper than buying a pre-built one. After all, when you build an outbuilding yourself, you have full control over the materials and design. So, you can easily tailor everything to fit your budget.

At the same time, it also depends on your DIY skills, the complexity of the design and the materials you choose. Buying a pre-made pergola can save time and effort, but it may be more expensive due to manufacturing and shipping costs.

Making the most of modern pergola ideas

Pergolas are some of the most versatile and functional outbuilding options that are guaranteed to literally elevate your garden and transform it into a unique outside space that’s unmistakably yours.

The best part?

Whether you have a small or a large garden, and whether you’re working on a tight or comfortable budget, there’s a solution that’s just right for you and your property.

We hope you’ve found plenty of inspiration in our pergola ideas and that you enjoyed reading them as much as we enjoyed writing about them.

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