Adding a pergola to your backyard is a unique way to enhance the look of your outdoor living space. Pergolas not only create a defined space for outdoor entertainment and enjoyment, but they also extend your outdoor living area all together. Whether you’d like to create a relaxing, shaded area beside the pool, a centerpiece for your garden, or simply an area for backyard barbecues and get-togethers, it’s hard to beat the stylish appeal of a quality pergola.

If you have followed our blog before, you know that there are many benefits a pergola can add to your outdoor living space. However, choosing a pergola that meets both your needs and your budget can be an overwhelming challenge, especially with so many beautiful options to choose from! In this blog, we put together a few questions that will hopefully help you narrow your choices!


The pergola you choose will likely set the tone for your outdoor living space, so you’ll want to choose one that matches your personal style as closely as possible. While a basic pergola in itself is enough to add elegance to your garden or backyard, an additional design or two can create a more aesthetic feel. Pergolas can be hexagonal, circular, square, and rectangular-shaped. While square and rectangular shaped pergolas are the most common, the style and design of your pergola comes down to personal preference, which can point you to the perfect pergola for your backyard.


One of the best ways to choose the right pergola for your needs is to consider how you plan on using it, both in your everyday life and on special occasions. Some homeowners seek pergola installation to create a peaceful oasis where they can relax with their morning cup of joe, while others envision using a pergola for backyard barbeques.

Identifying whatever you plan on using your pergola for early on can really help in narrowing your choices in regards to size and features. For example, those who plan on doing a lot of entertaining outdoors, a larger pergola that can accommodate guests is the better choice. Those who seek to use their pergola to create private, relaxing oasis may prefer a smaller, less obtrusive structure.


Pergolas are available in a wide variety of materials, including wood, steel, aluminum, and vinyl. Again, the material you choose comes down to personal preference and what fits best with your yard and home. Typically, wood and vinyl are the most common materials. Wood pergolas provide a more traditional look and feel, plus they are available in a wide variety of colors, from natural clear-coat and light stains to darker, richer stain colors.

Vinyl pergolas offer maintenance-free convenience and typically come in basic colors, making them easy to blend with just about any backyard setting.


Ultimately, the size of your outdoor space will determine the right size pergola for your needs, making it easier to find the perfect option. Generally, the more space you have, the larger the pergola can be. Don’t forget about scale, too — you should choose a pergola that closely matches the size of other buildings and structures in the space. For instance, if you have a small fire pit, you won’t necessarily want a large pergola in the same area. Each structure should be sized to match the scale of other elements to give your yard a more balanced and cohesive look.

Lastly, keep in mind that pergolas work best in flat, open areas. Make sure to measure the area you want to put your pergola to be sure there is sufficient space around it and won’t look crowded or intrusive.


Because pergolas are designed with an open-style top, many people are actually surprised by the amount of shade they offer. The amount of shade a pergola provides depends on how closely spaced the crossbars and purlins are — the closer they are, the more shade they provide. If you plan on installing your pergola in an area that gets plenty of sunlight, you may want to choose one with closely-spaced purlins or a lattice roof to give your space additional shade.


While it is true that pergolas are designed to define a square or rectangular area in your outdoor space, there’s much more to a great pergola than these simple shapes. Give your pergola a unique look and feel by going beyond standard posts and cross beams. Create a bigger, more solid feel with an arched top or add more privacy with privacy panels or lattice roofing. Choosing a pergola with the features you are interested in gives you more flexibility to create a backyard addition that you’ll enjoy for years to come.

While there are many things to consider when choosing a pergola to best fit your needs and preferences, determining your personal style, deciding how you’ll use your pergola, considering the available space, exploring different materials, colors, and features, and planning for the right amount of shade are all great ways to slim down your choices and choose a pergola for lasting outdoor enjoyment.

Need a Pergola Contractor in Dallas / Fort Worth?

If you are interested in adding a pergola to your outdoor space in Dallas or the surrounding areas, you can trust the team at Compass Outdoor Design. With years of experience in patio design, our pergola contractors can help you select the best shade solution for your yard. To learn more, or to receive a free estimate, contact us!