have been around for centuries, yet people still don’t understand
the purpose of having a roof with holes in it. This is especially true
in the Midwest, where the weather can turn on a dime and, frankly, we’re
just a tad more practical when it comes to our structures.
According to area experts, homeowners should view a pergola as both
a piece of art and a shade provider.
"It gives a garden character and definition," says Jeff
Hershberger, a landscape designer at David J. Frank Landscaping in
Germantown. "It also gives structure or scale to the
A pergola consists of columns that support a slated wood roof.
Placement of the beams is critical and determines how much light is
allowed through. In addition to adding a special architectural element
to the yard, it creates some cool shadowing too, says Hershberger.
Pergolas can attach to a home, outdoor fireplace or cabana house.
People also add "vining," which grows up the sides and over
the top of the structure. In Wisconsin, pergolas are usually made out
of cedar, which Hershberger says is more resistant to decay.
Patek, owner of The Cottage Gardener in Sussex, sees two main reasons
for having a pergola: It produces an element of enclosure and it
provides some shade.
"People are looking to their outdoor space for solving a sun
problem," says Patek, who custom designs pergolas for
customers. "They are aware there are alternatives to waiting for
a tree to grow."
His favorite thing about a pergola? "The intimacy," he says. "It
can do that very quickly in a wide open space."