Pergolas – like gazebos, arbors, trellis and other yard structures - can be mere decorative devices. But home-attached pergolas may also have a practical value, as part of cooling strategies in mix and hot climates.
Buying a pergola just because it looks nice may not make much sense. Be careful, before installing one.
If you do need a pergola – and pergolas can be useful in some climates –, consider carefully its role and location. A pergola can help you shade your yard and the walls and windows of your home, or be part of an enjoyable and appealing outdoor living area.
But to provide it, pergolas should also be part of a wider landscaping strategy that includes your yard, your house and natural cooling strategies.The evapo-transpiration of vines and other plants used in pergolas provides lower temperatures under them…
The type of pergolas
Pay attention to the type and size of the pergola.
Be cautious with the type of vines or creepers used in the pergolas;
Evergreen vines and creepers are a good choice in hot climates, but in moderate and cold climates you should choose deciduous plants, to allow solar heat gains during the heating season.
Pergolas can have adjustable blades, or be open and designed to be covered with fabrics, hard materials and plants.
Pergolas Can be useless
Do not forget: wrongly designed and wrongly located pergolas are useless for shade. Trees, awnings or roof overhangs can provide more flexibility.
All depends a lot on your climate and on your purposes; in cold climates, or even in some moderate climates, home-attached pergolas can be ineffective for summer cooling, even though they provide useful shade during some short periods…
Bottom line: conveniently designed and positioned pergolas are advantageous in some hot and mixed climates, for home cooling and energy savings. But in other climates, particularly in cold climates, they are mostly decorative.
Be aware to bugs in pergolas covered with vines and creepers: some of these plans can attract insects. Take advice and choose the right type of plant.