Pergolas are unique shade structures that turn plain outdoor spaces into alluring gathering spots to cool down, have a meal, or simply visit with friends and family. All it takes is just a few plants and outdoor furniture pieces, and you can bring your pergola to life in Saline, Michigan. Shade structures that specifically use foliage for cover not only shade patios and people; they can literally cool the surrounding air below by more than 15 degrees.

Versatile Design

Pergolas offer the perfect accommodations for a wide variety of plants, primarily since they’re typically constructed from wood, an organic material itself. They can either be attached to another structure or free-standing. The best part about them is their versatility. For instance, you can build a shade structure that appears very sophisticated or totally casual to complement virtually any architecture, shape, or size of an outdoor space.

A traditional pergola is topped with a series of divided cross-members. You may choose to highlight the natural appearance of the structure by using “latillas” – a Southwestern style consisting of bamboo or narrow-spaced beams that work to strongly filter out the light while providing intricate shadow textures as the hot sun travels across the sky. However, different from other shade structures, these particular structures are unique in that they offer real value as a fixed element of the landscape.

The Perfect Landscape Feature

Pergolas are quite often the focal point of an outdoor space and offer many different uses. Here are a few ways to use a pergola:

• Cover for outdoor seating and/or eating areas
• Provide a lush canopy of organic foliage and greenery
• Provide both beauty and shade for an outdoor living room
• Shade the entire patio area
• Create an elegant entryway

Partner Your Pergola with Plants

A pergola makes an ideal backdrop and support for almost any plant you can think of. For example, completely wrap the pillars of your pergola with variegated ivy or lavish vines. You can easily create living walls by adding a few attractive potted plants containing annuals, perennials, or various shrubs – add a few more hanging baskets and you have your own lush backyard garden.

For additional visual impact, add charming wood lattice walls along the sides for even more character. Take it a step further and plant natural leafy vines in order to add more privacy or control the wind. Some people even hang a charming swing from their pergola.

Plant Ideas

The possibilities are endless in terms of what you can plant. You may wish to grow potted flowers and greens, or plant climbing vines in the ground near the base of the pillars, if there’s available soil. Use plants with rich colors that complement the overall style of your home, or create eye-catching plantings using colors that strongly contrast to the surroundings.

Annual vines are a fun alternative to use since you can do something different each year. Here are a few planting options to consider:

• Boston Ivy
• Wisteria
• Hydrangea
• Virginia Creeper
• Honeysuckle
• Climbing Roses
• Honeysuckle

Based on the way your pergola is oriented to the rays of the sun, you may want to consider plant hardiness before you start to plant, especially in Saline, Michigan. Use a wide variety of interesting flowers with aromatic fragrances that bloom at different times of the season to always have visual impact and beauty.