Pergolas and Archways

A pergola or archway is the perfect feature to incorporate into a garden design. It will add height and year-round interest and can often become a beautiful focal point for your garden.

To ensure your pergola or archway becomes a eye-catching garden feature and not a distracting eyesore, there are a few things you’ll want to get right from the start. Here’s my quick guide on what to think about in the planning stages.

1. What is it’s purpose?

First consider the purpose of the pergola or archway.

  • Is it for privacy from neighbouring properties? A pergola can be an easy way of blocking the view from neighbouring windows.
  • Is it to add height and interest within what would otherwise be a flat design? Archways and pergolas are a great way of adding instant height and year-round interest into gardens that are naturally very flat and would otherwise feel very one dimensional.
  • Is it to provide shade or shelter over a patio? The traditional reason for a pergola over a seating area is to provide some shade or shelter. Pergolas can be a lovely frame to grow climbers over and create a more naturally shaded area. Solid roofs or shade sails can be added to pergolas to give permanent shelter over a seating space.
  • Or perhaps it is just to add a lovely feature within your design? You do not have to have a specific problem to solve to incorporate a pergola or archway into a garden, you may just like the way they look. The key is that the position of the structure gives it a purpose within the garden and that it does not look isolated.

2. Where will you position it?

Whatever the purpose of your pergola or archway, the position within the garden is key.

  • A pergola does not make sense within a space unless there is a pathway to and from it.
  • How will you get to and from it? Will there be a footpath from a seating area? Or maybe a patio or path running under it? Or perhaps just a visual pathway across a lawn?
  • The viewer needs to be able to see a path to and from your pergola for it to work – and if you follow this simple rule, you can incorporate a pergola into any space.
  • When it comes to archways, thinking about positioning is particularly important.. They are a great way to highlight a particular part of the garden, so if you are incorporating an archway, consider what part of the garden it is highlighting. This could be:
    • A particular route through the garden – there is something beautiful about a flower-covered archway along a path, (and conversely, an archway over a path that leads nowhere leaves a lot to be desired!)
    • To draw the eye through a space to a part of the garden beyond.
    • To highlight a specific feature such as a bench or statue over which the arch is situated.

3. What size will it be?

The height and size of your pergola or archway needs to be in proportion with the size of your space. Too large and it can dominate, too small and it can become redundant.

  • At ALDA landscapes we bespoke build our archways and pergolas so they are just the right fit for your garden.
  • If using an archway over a path, make sure you choose one that is high enough and wide enough. Many of the flat pack small metal or timber archways are just too narrow when climbers have grown over them.
  • If a full pergola seems too large for the size of your garden a corner pergola also works well in small gardens as it doesn’t take up too much space but still adds height to a small space.
  • The other alternative to a corner pergola is one that juts out from the house, usually over patio doors.

4. What materials will you choose?

Choice of materials will greatly affect the look and feel of your pergola or archway. It needs to look good even if it’s not covered in plants – new plants do take quite a while to become established, and unless you’ve chosen evergreens, the structure will always be visible in the winter months.

  • The choice of materials comes down to your tastes, but more likely your budget as well. As wonderful as the traditional stone pergola pillars with ornate metal tops look, in reality, that style of pergola does cost a small fortune.
  • Timber is usually the most popular option because it’s the most affordable.
  • If you choose a bespoke pergola or archway from ALDA Landscapes, you can be assured it will be built in a style appropriate for your design.
  • In my opinion a simple modern finish to a pergola is best unless your design is particularly ornate.
  • If you are not keen on the new wood look of a new pergola, there is the option of painting them.

If you are interested in adding a pergola or archway to your garden we’d love to meet and discuss your project in detail – book your free no-obligation garden consultation today.

Like what you see?

From planning a new border to a complete garden remodel, we pride ourselves on transforming ideas into beautiful reality, with minimum disruption. If you’re based in or around the Reading and Newbury area, we’d love to meet and discuss your project in detail – book your free no-obligation garden consultation today. We do get pretty booked up, particularly during the Spring, so plan ahead if possible!