In the summer months, Vancouverites love to spend their time entertaining guests in their backyards. With a rainy climate that runs for a large portion of the year, residents of the Vancouver area relish their time outside. With the rise of outdoor summer living, landscaping designs have come to include fire pits, kitchen areas, swimming pools, etc., which are all excellent structures to have in the backyard. If you’re looking to add a touch of sophistication and some practical protection from the sun, then you might want to invest in a pergola for your outdoor space. Now you’re probably wondering, what are the best pergola options in Vancouver?

Maybe you’re wondering what a pergola is? A pergola is a structure that forms a shaded walkway/passageway. It consists of vertical columns that support a roof grid. This roof can be open or covered for varying degrees of shade.

Hyland Landscapes, which services the Greater Vancouver Area and beyond, is an expert landscaping company that can assist you with all of your outdoor structural needs, but we have a special soft spot for pergolas. Hopefully, at this point, you’re definitely asking yourself, what are the best pergola options in Vancouver and what else do I need to know?

Thankfully, we’ve put together responses to the top 5 questions we get asked about pergolas so that you can educate yourself before you start your Spring installation plans.

1. Why should I choose a pergola over other outdoor structures?

Pergolas aren’t only made to protect from the shade. All outdoor structures serve a purpose for those who spend a lot of time in their yard and want to create designated spaces in their layout. Other than pergolas, arbors, and gazebos are popular options for outdoor arrangements.

Arbors and pergolas are quite similar in structure. Arbors are frequently used to draw attention to a pathway. Arbors tend to be fairly compact structures, often with a curved roof, and are freestanding. They are largely made from vinyl. Pergolas, on the other hand, can be built in a variety of sizes and cover a larger space in the yard. Unlike the curved roof of an arbor, pergolas have flat ceilings. Most importantly, pergolas often carry a more sophisticated design. They can be free-standing or attached to another structure, like a house, which creates a literal extension from the inside of the home to an “outdoor room”.

Gazebos are probably the most popular outdoor structure in North America. They are often larger in size with a sealed, closed roof, which may be rounded. Gazebos are also frequently elevated from the ground. Pergolas roofs are more flexible in the sense that they can be open to allow light in.

If you are looking for a malleable, open concept roof for your outdoor garden, then the pergola is likely the most aesthetically pleasing and practical structure for your space. You can add screens to the roofs or walls of pergolas to create your desired degree of shade, and there are thousands of ways to decorate them.

2. What are pergolas good for?

A Respite From the Sun

Pergolas provide shade from the sun and are a place to cool down on a hot day.

A Visual Upgrade for your Yard

If you have an open backyard, a pergola is a wonderful centerpiece. Open concept pergolas provide an air-y outdoor seating area. They can be dressed up with vines wrapped around the columns and plants hanging from the ceiling.

Creating a Purposeful Space

Pergolas add definition to your outdoor space. You can make them into a dining area, a place to lounge and read a book, or an entertainment area where you play games and drink wine. They can be furnished depending on your style

Creating Privacy

Pergolas offer a secret space in your yard that shields you from the elements and from prying eyes. You can hang sheer curtains in the pergola for an additional layer of privacy or shade. There are even pergola designs that incorporate fabric into the structure of the roof and walls, but more about that later.

Additional Garden Space

These structures are a great place to grow more plants. Hanging and climbing plants like ivy or honeysuckle do very well in this type of layout. A grapevine would be a particularly fun and fruitful addition to this space. Other plants can be hung from the ceiling and as they grow will likely intertwine, creating a unique and natural aesthetic to your space.

Extending your home outward

You can attach your pergola to sit above a door outside of your home, creating an extension of your house outdoors. This could be a lovely alternative to a porch, creating an outdoor seating area right next to the house. Be mindful of selecting a pergola colour material that will match or complement the tones of your home.

Adding Value to Your Property

A hardy and well-crafted pergola will increase the value of your property. If you’re looking to sell your home, adding a pergola can make the outdoor living space more beautiful and appealing to interested buyers.

3. Are there different kinds of pergola designs?

Of course. There are dozens and most can be personalized. Below are a few of the best pergola options for Vancouver!

Vinyl pergolas

Vinyl pergolas are probably the most affordable. Vinyl pergolas can last a lifetime if properly maintained. If vinyl is not properly cared for, it can crack and become less simple to fix and maintain. One of the cons of vinyl pergola structures is that they are very susceptible to wind damage, especially in the first few years of installation.

Open-Top Pergolas

The open roof design pergola is for the person looking to primarily entertain in the summer. These are often placed in a garden to create a pleasing aesthetic and they allow sunlight and air to move freely through the structure.

Pitched pergolas

This design features an angled roof, the type of angle is up to you. There are dozens of interesting ways to create a unique pergola form with a pitched roof. In terms of function, these types of pergolas are good for rainy cities like Vancouver as they create the ability for water to run off one of the sides.

Steel Pergolas

If you live in the greater Vancouver area or towards the interior where the weather can get rougher, a steel pergola is a wonderful option. Steel beams are used in the construction of these structures, providing weather-resistant, durable, protection in your yard. Steel can even be made to look fashionable, sleek, and modern.

Sail Pergolas

A sail pergola is a structure that uses a stretched fabric instead of solid material for a roof. This design can be exquisitely beautiful for the yard but is not great for shelter from the rain.

Apollo Pergola

One of the subtype pergola designs that we, at Hyland Landscapes, are very excited about is the Apollo Pergola.

This structure has a very unique dome-shape design that looks exceptionally contemporary and sleek. Created with curved beams and rafters, this is a great option for those that like to entertain and dine outside. It is equipped with shading motors that can cover the dome if the weather is not behaving. This type of pergola allows you to enjoy the sunshine in the summer and keeps the rain off in the Vancouver weather.

Glass-covered pergolas

At Hyland Landscapes, our most common pergola build features a glass cover. The structure is made with beautiful thick cedar or fir beams. Glass roof covers are great for rainy environments like Vancouver and additionally, they help shield guests from the heat and direct sun rays.

4. How do I Incorporate Pergolas With Existing Outdoor Structures?

If you’re not starting with a barren yard, it can be challenging to incorporate different outdoor structures into a cohesive, beautiful, and appealing design.

Always be mindful of the colour palette and materials used. Try to match and compliment as much as possible. Here are a few other tips to enhance your yard with the best pergola options for Vancouver.

Pergolas on a Deck

For those whose backyard deck is separated from their home, you can place a pergola over top of your floating deck. This type of combination gives a very resort or tropical vibe for the yard and is a wonderful space to entertain and eat.

Over a Hot Tub

Pergolas are the perfect outdoor cover for a hot tub set up. In Vancouver, hot tubs are popular in the cold days of winter but need to be placed underneath a roof of sorts so that they can be enjoyed in the rain. In the summer, having a pergola over a hot tub can provide a breeze and shade. It’s also possible to attach and set up television as part of the structure.

Garage Addition

A pergola can be placed between your house and garage as a shaded pathway. If your yard is facing a busy street, this can help create a sense of privacy so that you can enjoy your outdoor space peacefully.

5. How do I Decorate my Pergola?

Play with lighting

Hanging Edison bulbs or tea lights would create an attractive glow for evening entertainment. Combine this with hanging plants and your space will feel luxurious.

Make it Fun

If you have small children, creating a play area in the pergola will keep the kids in the shade for part of the day and will give some sense of organization to your space. A gated area for the young ones would be ideal if you want to keep a close eye on them.

Add a Swing

Instead of placing chairs and sofas under the pergola, consider hanging some comfortable swings from the beams, or a hammock if you’re feeling like a flower child. This adds a relaxed and playful feel to your space and is the perfect place to read a book in the summer.

Make it Colorful

Select bold patterns and complementary hues for your furniture, cushioning, blankets, and drapery to make the area pop visually.

Install Geometric Screens

Place uniquely designed geometric screens on the sides or roof of the pergola to create visual diversity. These also cast beautiful shadows on people sitting inside and create great photo ops.

Add a Water Feature

Not into hot tubs? Consider placing a water installation like a small fountain in the pergola for an interesting juxtaposition of the elements.

Add a Thatched Roof

You can line your pergola roof with straws to create a thatched roof, rustic outback look.

An outdoor bedroom

This one is for the brave. If you’re interested in sleeping underneath the stars at night, you can do so from the comfort of a mattress with a roof above it. We think this is one of the best pergola options in Vancouver!

Final Things to Keep in Mind – Regular Maintenance

If you choose to grow vines and other plants around your pergola, you’ll need to maintain and trim this greenery. If you’re keeping any grass under your pergola, you’ll also need to be mindful of its existence and be sure to maintain it.

Like all outdoor structures, pergolas need to be maintained. The type of maintenance will depend on the material used but if you’re using wood, expect to have to clean it, treat, and potentially repaint it over time. In a moist environment like Vancouver, keep an eye on mildew. Mildew can destroy a pergola very quickly. It is recommended that your landscaping company help you in regular maintenance as part of your seasonal routines.

Hyland Landscapes is available to help you design, plan, and execute the best pergola options in Vancouver. Working with a landscaping company will ensure that the structure is solid, well built, and well maintained over the seasons. Additionally, if you want a one of a kind structure, working with a landscaping team can help bring your vision to life and ensure that your design is carried out the way you prefer it.