Pergola ideas: 8 of the best DIY pergola looks straight from Insta

This is our round up of the best pergola ideas – hot off of Instagram. Take a look for easy DIY inspo...

Lily Sawyer's pergola ideas
(Image credit: Lily Sawyer)

Pergola ideas were all over Instagram this summer and honestly, we couldn't get enough of them. They are one of the simplest garden additions, whether you've a lot of space or not. Pergolas aren't very expensive, and they are perfect to help you enjoy your outdoor space whether you're staycationing or not this year. 

All of these looks prove just how straightforward it is to create your own pergola. So keep reading for some seriously creative inspiration, for where to find DIY kits, and to see just how a few pieces of wood – and a few blankets for good measure – can totally transform a garden. 

When you are after more garden ideas be sure you head to our gallery next.

1. Create an outdoor dining area under a pergola 

Ooooh how cute is this orange outdoor rug in @lucyinthesky_with's gorgeous garden? Works so well with a blue sky! A pergola is a great focal point of a garden and the perfect place to focus all your socialising, pop a dining table underneath, string up the fairy lights, add a chiminea and there you have the perfect outdoor dining space. 

2. Build a sofa under your pergola 

Traditionally pergolas don't have roofs, but you can easily build one that does (probably a wise idea in the UK). You can add corrugated metal or plastic on top of the structure and you still get the same effect, just way more bad weather proof. Plus you pop soft furnishings underneath like in @my_british_home's lovely relaxed space and not have to worry about bringing everything indoors during the lightest drizzle.

3. Paint your pergola 

Chances are whether you buy a fully formed pergola or a DIY pergola kit it will arrive as unfinished bare wood. And of course, you can leave as is and it will still look lovely, but you could paint it to suit your style even better. We love how @nest_number_9 has painted her pergola black to make it more of a feature in her garden. We can also imagine white would look very cool and add a very Mediterranean garden vibe.  

4. Create an outdoor living room under a pergola 

We love the boho feel of this outdoor set up; the layers of texture and neutral colour palette look so cool. This would be a really easy look to recreate yourself too, pop up your pergola (check out Wayfair for a similar one), paint your garden walls and then just get creating your outdoor living room. Rugs, cushions, throws and soft lighting are key to this look, so make sure you include plenty. 

For more tips on creating an outdoor living space, head to our gallery. 

5. Go for a subtle look with natural materials 

For a pergola idea that really blends into the garden opt for a roof made from natural materials. You can pick up reed screen from DIY stores like B&Q and just secure them in between the beams of your pergola structure. 

Worried that the UK weather is going to destroy your lovely reed roof? Check out Dee Campling's handy pergola idea – use sturdy, rainproof plastic as your actual roof and then hide it away with far prettier natural materials.

For more information on garden landscaping, materials and more check out our guide.

6. Grow plants around your pergola 

Another way to make your pergola feel more like part of your garden is to get plants growing up and around the structure. Plant garden borders to disguise the base of the pergola, and mix in some climbers too that will grow up and over the beams. Not only will this look lovely but will provide a natural shade too. 

If you want to know where to buy plants online, check out our guide. 

7. Add plenty of lighting to your pergola 

I may have been on the Insta MIA list for most of the summer, but I have been a busy little diy bee.... can you spot the difference?!?! Has a lot to answer for, I asked the question a while back if I should paint my little shed windows after we did the pergola and Bo replied 'Do it ALL black'!! So, we decided to clad it in black stained wood strips.....a lot of feckin wood, a lot of feckin work! And then to top it all off, after a G&T swinging on it one night I threw out the idea to himself that maybe outdoor LED lights might be great behind the cladding....opps a daisy, only took another week to figure that out.....pity I didn't think of it before it was all clad!! Check out my stories for more 'How to Pimp your Shed' pics! I was lucky enough to get a generous voucher from Crown paints after the House and Home #behindthepaint challenge, so I've put it to good use getting all the black Sadolin woodstain from @crownpaintsireland. A brilliant water based stain, so easy for the clean up and I used previously gifted @twofussyblokes rollers from @butleranddunne to stain all the wood! Well, what do you think? Did we waste 2 weeks of our life and put our marriage in jeopardy again for nothing?? 😱😂😱 f x #myblackshed #blackcladding #pimpyourshed #irishdiyers #myhouseandhome #smallgardens #diypergola #pergola #blackpergola #sorealhomes #myhomevibe #darkexteriors #apartmenttherapy #designsponge #irishgardens #wisteria #ikealanterns #externalLED #storyofmyhome #dailydecordetail #mymidcenturymix #stylishhomevibes #myeclecticshack #mycolourfulhome #myhousethismonth Frieda 🌱

A photo posted by @frieda_100 on Aug 8, 2019 at 1:36pm PDT

Lighting is key to creating a pergola that feels cosy and inviting even in the evenings. String up the fairy lights, dot about some lanterns or copy this idea and hang pendant lights from the beams. These lovely white lights are from Ikea, they are solar-powered and really cheap too, they look gorgeous of an evening glowing amongst the foliage. For more garden lighting ideas look to our feature for inspiration.

For more of the best garden lighting, head to our buyers guide. 

8. Make a pergola an extension of your home 

How gorgeous is this pergola idea? We love how simple and rustic it is with the long farmhouse table and muted, neutral colours. It's also lovely how it feels just like an extension of the house, an extra dining space attached to the kitchen. On a smaller scale, this is a look you could DIY, but if want something as extensive as this, you would be best to get in someone to help you out with the job. 

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