Tuck a pergola against the house. Installed against the back wall of the house, this pergola transforms a small paved area into something magical. The yard faces south, so Kate Eyre of Kate Eyre Garden Design built the pergola in this sheltered spot and trained evergreen jasmine over it to provide dappled shade. Although this is, admittedly, part of a larger landscape design, it shows how you can turn a small seating area into a feature in its own right with a support for climbing plants and decorative lanterns.
Allow light to filter through. Covering a patio with a solid roof or a thickly planted pergola can create a cozy, shaded spot for relaxing. But if space is tight and you want to maximize every drop of sunshine in your small yard, a pergola like this lends a sense of intimacy without blocking too much precious light. To get the effect, choose a pale-colored frame and restrict climbers to the four posts, keeping the top free.
Add curves. If you’re worried about a pergola feeling too oppressive in a small yard, try a tall arched style to retain as much height as possible while still creating the feeling of an outdoor room. If you can’t find a ready-made pergola that works, you could ask a local builder to make a custom one. It could be as simple as four uprights with two curved struts overhead.
Create drama. Alternatively, play up the compact size of your yard with a covered dining area that’s big on drama. This tiny terrace grabs attention with its teal pergola, painted to tie in with the home’s richly colored door and window woodwork.
A small round table with five chairs tucked neatly underneath provides a sociable place to sit and chat, while the trailing greenery and small brass lamps suspended from the crossbeams bring a sense of drama and playfulness to this enticing space.
Make it the focal point. If you’re dreaming of a covered seating area in your landscape but space is tight, consider making it the center of your design and working everything else around it. To make room for it, you may have to sacrifice a lawn, planting beds, outbuildings or all three, but as long as you leave a small area for planting and an access path around the sides, you can design a romantic hideaway that’s perfect for alfresco dining, relaxed dinner parties or a quiet cup of tea.
Reach for the sky. Although not strictly a small yard, this smart roof terrace demonstrates how effective a pergola can be on a roof garden, balcony or terrace where the footprint is limited.
Adding height can help draw the eye upward and provide privacy if you’re in view of other buildings. If covered in plants, a pergola can provide shelter from sun or a light shower.
Photo by Kate Eyre Garden Design.
Thanks to Victoria Harrison for influencing this article, "Can a Pergola Work in a Small Yard?"
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