15 pergola ideas to inspire your summer backyard revamp

November 20, 2020

garden with modern pergola lounging set

With summer just around the corner, many Australians are looking for ways to revamp their backyards, whilst adding value to their homes. The addition of a pergola is a great way to elevate your outdoor living space, creating an area to while away the summer afternoons. A pergola is also an excellent backdrop for the highly coveted outdoor/indoor lifestyle, providing a space to house your outdoor living luxuries.

A pergola is an easy way to add value to your home, and considerably cheaper than major renovations. Available in a wide variety of sizes and materials, there’s a pergola to suit any budget and backyard. To help you choose the pergola right for your needs, we’ve made a list of 15 pergola designs and features.

Adding a fan is a sure-fire way to elevate any sized pergola, and a cost-effective way to create a comfortable outdoor living space. Fans work best in pergolas with a wall or two, so the air can bounce around and sufficiently cool the area. Steel and plastic are the best material options for an outdoor fan, as they can withstand the elements. Even fans intended for outdoor use need to be installed undercover to protect the motor from potential water damage. 

The latest trend in pergolas might seem a little extravagant at first, but when you think about it, adding a TV to your pergola makes a whole lot of sense. Besides from bringing a wow factor to your backyard, an outdoor TV is an ultimate addition to your outdoor living setup. Take in your favourite game whilst enjoying the great outdoors, or watch movies with the kids under the stars. You’ll never want to go inside again.

Turn your pergola into a year-round living space with the addition of a fireplace. The warmth of fire will allow your family to dine or relax in your pergola even on chilly winter evenings. A larger pergola can accommodate a grand bricked fireplace, but you can still experience all the benefits of an outdoor fire with a smaller design.

You might also like: 10 Small Things to make your home feel fabulous

Bring the tropics to your backyard by opting for a pergola with a thatched roof. A perfect accompaniment to backyard pool with palm-heavy landscaping – a thatched roof enhances the Bali villa vibe. Waterproof and surprisingly cool, thatched roofs create shade that’s approximately 10 degrees cooler than the surroundings, making it a sensible and stylish option.

Although an expensive material option for your pergola, steel is a robust and low maintenance choice. Steel can span more extensive areas with fewer supports, making it the best material for larger pergolas. Colourbond pergolas come in a variety of colours, so unlike timber, they don’t need painting. They also require little to no maintenance and allow for quick installation.

Combining a pergola with your existing deck is a great way to create a more liveable outdoor area. A pergola will provide a shaded area for dining or relaxing, ultimately increasing your deck’s functionality. A pergola is also a great base for an outdoor living setting, so you can make your indoor/outdoor living fantasies come true think TV, kitchen, fireplace and more!

You might also like: Make your outdoor space even more inviting

A cantilevered pergola is an excellent option for those who want to create a semi-shaded area, perfect for over a pool or garden. They can be constructed in timber, steel or aluminium, and have a sleek and modern look. Cantilevered pergolas suit both large and small designs, and look great draped in fairy lights or greenery.

Source: Getty

A pergola with a retractable shade gives you an outdoor space which can be adapted depending on the weather. Enjoy breakfast in the morning sun, then adjust the louvers for a shady afternoon cocktail. Depending on your budget, you can choose steel louvers or a fabric canopy, with steel being the more expensive but durable choice of the two. There are high and low tech options to retract your louvers, with either automated or manual mechanisms.

Almost any pergola can have the Mediterranean feel with the right finishes. Mediterranean pergolas are draped with climbing vines or jacaranda and are reminiscent of a summer in Tuscany. Although they are usually suited to a timber pergola with terracotta pavers, you can create a modern Mediterranean vibe using a metal pergola and stark white furniture. Just don’t forget to go heavy on the greenery.

You might also like: Redecoration tips for your home A Mediterranean twist

A poolside pergola can turn your pool area into an entertaining space of its own.

It’s a sun-safe place to layout and dry off after a swim, and depending on the time of day, it can also provide shade for swimmers. Lean into the resort vibe and complete your poolside pergola with a built-in bar, and finish the look with comfy recliners.

The roof of a pergola can come in a variety of materials, but clear polycarbonate ticks the boxes of both design and functionality. This virtually indestructible material will hold up in the varying Australian climate and has the added bonus of providing 99% UV protection, making it an excellent choice for those wanting to enjoy the sunshine safely. The only downsized of polycarbonate is its potential to yellow over time.

Swinging seats or hammocks are a fun addition to any pergola, turning the area into an inviting, social hub. They come in a variety of styles and sizes and help to create a resort vibe in your very own backyard. Choose between single-seaters, loveseats, or a swinging day bed for a touch of luxury. You can install a hanging chair in almost any sized pergola, but remember to ensure your pergola can support its weight.

You might also like: 15 ways to update your backyard to entertain all year long

A fully decked outdoor kitchen is quickly becoming the Australian dream. A pergola is an ideal place to install your outdoor kitchen, creating a shaded cooking/dining space. Depending on your budget, there are many options for added features, included mini-fridges and pizza ovens. Outdoor kitchens add a touch of personality to your backyard and are considered a luxurious perk to potential buyers. Get ready for alfresco dining and unforgettable backyard soirees.

Cool in every sense of the word a sunken pergola provides a place to relax away from the elements. They can be topped with any style of pergola but look best with a simple structure for a more modern aesthetic. A sunken pergola is most easily installed into a deck, to save on costly excavation fees. Decorate with an abundance of cushions, to create a comfy setting your guests will be unable to resist. 

A pergola with a wall or two (or three), allows for a more comfortable outdoor living space. A walled pergola truly feels like an extension of your home, providing privacy and shade that open pergolas cannot. The more walls your pergola has, the more features you can install, like outdoor TVs and fans. Opting for a walled pergola also allows you to make more design choices, whether it’s Bali style wooden slats, or a brightly coloured feature wall.

You might also like: 15 outdoor living designs and features to inspire your backyard renovation

Words by Nell Matzen


Has your lender made the cut? Take advantage of when lenders start dropping their rates, we can help organise your refinancing or a pre-approval!

Written by Refinancing.com.au

Get Your Free

Refinancing Report >