According to Wikipedia: A pergola, is “a garden feature forming shaded walkway, passageway or sitting area of vertical posts or pillars that usually support cross-beams and a sturdy open lattice often upon which vines are trained.” They can be attached to the home or stand alone. Apparently the origin of the word is Latin “pergola”, referring to a projecting eave, not to be confused with an Italian gondola as it refers not a wooden boat. Good to know before you ask your Landscape Designer as they are constructed with very different purposes in mind.
The Wise Geek says, “The defining feature of a pergola is the support columns which run along either side, typically connecting with a latticed framework above. The sides of a pergola are traditionally left open to create an unfettered view. Pergolas have been used in architecture since at least Ancient Egyptian times. These typically wooden structures provide a shaded area with plenty of breezes for outdoor relaxation, which can be enjoyable in regions where the weather is very hot. A pergola can also be used to define an outdoor space, or to create a transition between the interior of a house and the garden.”
Very true and wise to keep in mind the purpose of the pergola. In fact, in Colorado the purpose is often to provide shade while maintaining a great finished look to your landscape.
Regardless of their origins, Pergolas are quite popular in our sunnier than average state of Colorado. Enjoying the results of a stand alone pergola or one attached directly to your home is the best part of the construction as they provide great shade and may look very elegant while creating yet another outdoor living space to share. Consult with your Landscape Designer to get the proper size, materials and construction of your pergolas for year round enjoyment.