Summer is upon us — the best time of year to enjoy a pergola. Pergolas bring instant character to your landscape and a little European flavor to northern Utah!

While pergolas do not offer as much shade as gazebos, they are still preferred by many homeowners. Why? The look, mostly.


Pergolas are constructed of wood — cedar usually — and they are veritable works of art. Wood requires some upkeep, but if proper maintenance is done, they can last upwards of 20 years.

If upkeep isn’t your thing, you can save time (and money) choosing vinyl (but you’ll sacrifice looks). Aluminum is another option, but this can heat up under a Utah sun and burn a child, or an absent-minded adult.

Throwing Some Shade in Your Back Yard

The cheapest gazebos can be bought at Target and put up as quickly as a pup tent. Some of them have curtains for privacy and they provide shade, but they are more of a temporary shelter for a Fourth of July barbecue than a permanent structure providing ambiance for three seasons.

Sure, a pergola isn’t going to protect you from a rainstorm, but who goes to sit outside in a rainstorm anyway? And the absence of a heavy, shingled roof is a big money-saver.

If you’re dead-set on your shade, you can get a shade for your pergola. It can be as simple as a piece of canvas or as chichi as a remote-controlled, retractable sheet of acrylic that comes in a variety of colors.

Pergolas: Man + Nature

Pergolas are perfect for training vines too. It’s a double bonus, because the vines will eventually provide more shade, plus you can enjoy whatever grows on them. Remember that fruit will attract birds though, and their droppings can stain. The sweet, sticky fruit will attract bees as well.

For this reason, many people choose flowering vines instead, like hydrangeas, wisteria or morning glories. Of course flowers will attract some bees too, but also possibly hummingbirds, depending what kind of flowers you plant.

Pergolas are great for relaxing poolside, or just hanging out in the back yard. You can attach your pergola to the back of your house if your landscape lends itself to this, or you can locate it in a different area.

A small pergola is great for your own personal use — a romantic evening with your spouse or game night with the kids. A larger one can serve as a perfect spot for entertaining family and friends.

For more information about adding a pergola to your back yard, call Earthworks Landscaping. We’re the experts in backyard structures, hardscaping, outdoor lighting and more.