Monday, March 05, 2007


The origin of the pergola structure can be traced back to the ancient Egyptians. During the Italian Renaissance period, the use of the pergola was very popular in many of the gardens designed for the rich and the noble classes of Europe.

It's widespread use in today's landscape has not trailed too far off from what it was originally designed to do and that was a structure to grow grapevines from. The pergola structure is defined as a set of columns or posts that support a roof of open framed joists, beams or trelliswork. The modern function of the design is to create a shaded space below for either a walkway or a seating area.

Architecturally, what a structure like this adds to the landscape is a set of vertical and horizontal lines that leads the eyes around the garden. If placed near your home, it can draw your eyes from the built form of the house structure to the Pergola's shape as it draws the lines of the home out into the garden area. It can essentially create an outdoor garden room, which becomes another extension of your home.

The structure itself is full of these lines and as the sun angles change throughout the day, the shadows below the structure take on different shapes. The dark lines of shadows or sun lighting contrast within the structure to almost seemingly transform the look and feel of that pergola's space as the sun changes positions in the sky.

A pergola can stand alone or be accompanied by plant material in the form of climbing vines that may either produce fruits or just colourful flowers. The plant material serves as a way to soften the structure, to give it a sense of belonging to the garden by tying it into the landscape. The built form of structure becomes cladded with a loose flowing design of vine stems and leaves. Accented by brightly coloured flowers, it can really serve as a great focal point for any garden.

Add to that the intricate carpentry work built into the architecture of the overall design and you can create a truly elegant feature for your garden.

What else can a structure like this be used for? The Latin term 'Pergula' means extended eave, so taking this definition into consideration...

Lawrence Winterburn of decided to clad the wall with a pergola style eave that shades the windows and doors of this home. It allowed for the client to train Wisteria vines along the structure and create a dual functioning feature that adds to the beauty of the home. The above photograph was taken 10 years after the structure was added to the home. Garden Structure's quality of workmanship and education for the client on materials is what keeps it looking great.

(All photos in this article are courtesy of

1 comment:

darling24_7 said...

I like L. Winterburn's idea of making it functional and stylish.