An outdoor pergola can offer some shade from summertime sun and help anchor your patio area so the space looks more inviting and welcoming. You can also update and personalize a pergola so that it is more stylish and adds more function to the outdoor area; consider a few ways to do this, and then talk to a pergola builder or contractor about your options for your own backyard.
Add a swing
The frame of a pergola is typically very strong so that it can support an outdoor swing without tipping and swaying. You can add a swing to one side of the structure in order to keep the inside space open for more seating or outdoor dining, or you can attach the swing to the middle of the pergola, if you prefer to use it whenever you're outside. Choose a wood material that exactly matches the material of the pergola so that nothing clashes, or have the swing painted in a different colour tone so it stands out. Add some outdoor pillows, and you have a beautiful and relaxing oasis under your pergola.
Add roof panels
A pergola is typically just posts and beams, without solid panels. You can add panels to the roof if you want maximum shade, but if you still want some sunshine when under the pergola, choose panels with cut-out designs. You can have circles and other geometric shapes or just a random pattern cut into the panels before they're installed. This will offer more shade under the pergola while still allowing sunlight to pass through, and this will also add more visual interest to the pergola than just roof beams alone.
Add a water feature
The thick beams and posts of the pergola may allow you to add a water feature; this can be a sheet of rainwater that runs down from one side of the pergola. The water gets caught in a trench below, and a pump returns it to the roof beam, so it continuously circulates in this fountain. The beams of the pergola can also hold a plug-in water feature or fountain that you would hang on a wall; this runs water down the front of the fountain so you'll have the noise and movement of water in that space. You might also have a water feature or fountain built under the pergola, in a corner, to break up the look of the stark wood and create movement and the sound of water.