Whenever I think of pergolas, the song “Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades” by Timbuk3 always comes to mind. Its not so much the pergola, per se, that connects me to that song, but the shade that folks around Des Moines and Central Iowa are looking for from their pergolas. As in, “my backyard’s so bright, its gotta have shade”…from a pergola.
Pergolas are one of our product lines that people get a little confused about, though. The questions range from…what is a pergola?, to…what do you call it?, to… how do you pronounce it? Is it a pergola or a trellis or an arbor? Or a roof? Unfortunately, dictionary.com doesn’t help much with that, saying its “an arbor formed of horizontal trellis work…” and that it originates from the Italian/Latin word “pergula” meaning a “projecting roof, arbor.”
Maybe for pergolas as much as any of the other products we design and build (decks, porches, gazebos, patios, outdoor kithchens, and more), pictures are worth a thousand words. So within this post I’ve scattered a few of the pergolas we’ve built around Central Iowa and the Des Moines area. For more, visit our Shade/Pergolas & Trellises photo gallery on our web site.
As you can see, pergolas can take on nearly any size or shape. And, they can be located nearly anywhere…over a patio, over a deck, over a garden area in your yard…even as part of a front entry way…something we’re finding more interest in and doing more of. Pergolas can be freestanding or attached to a structure; what works best depends on its location and purpose. Pergolas also can be built in a variety of material choices, some more low-maintenance than others. Wood (cedar is our recommended wood; though treated southern yellow pine may also be appropriate), vinyl (generally in white, but with recent tan availability), aluminum, fiberglass and molded urethane (the latter three require painting) are the pergola materials we have worked with in our pergola projects around Des Moines.
Another common question about pergolas revolves around what they do…how functional are they when it comes to providing relief from sun or rain? The latter aspect, rain, is an easy answer: None. As for the sun relief…shade, which is what most folks are looking for from a pergola, that answer is easy, too, though a bit vague: Some. Certainly, don’t expect full shade coverage from a pergola. But, they do break up the direct light of the sun; how much will depend on several factors including “tightness” of the rafters and stringers, the time of day/angle of the sun.
My standard summary of these considerations is this: Pergolas are as much about aesthetics as they are about shade. But, that’s assuming you like the look of a pergola and it fits the style you are looking for on your house and/or in your outdoor living spaces. If you do…and you’re looking for some shade and some sense of coziness in your outdoor living space, then a pergola may be perfect for you.
If you’re interested in learning more about pergolas and their applicability to your outdoor living spaces, give us a call or contact us online and we’ll be glad to schedule a complimentary, on-site design consultation with you.
In addition, we’re in week 3 of a 4-week promotion we’re doing on our Facebook page and this week’s promotion is centered around pergolas. Each week we’ve been drawing for prizes from our new “fans” on Facebook. This week’s prize is a $50 gift certificate to Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse. What, if any, is the connection? Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse is located in the Holiday Inn & Suites at 60th and Westown Parkway in West Des Moines. We worked with the developer there back in 2007 to deliver and install the long, white vinyl, curved pergola around the garden/patio area on the east side of the hotel. Check it out…its one of our more visible projects. Plus, “Like” our Facebook page and you’re entered for the drawing to the Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse there; if you win, you can check it out then, too!
Here’s to your bright future on an Archadeck designed/built outdoor living space! And, “good luck” with that drawing!