Landscape Ideas for a Patio Pergola

Typically an arbor supported on columns or posts over which vines or other plants are trained, a pergola can be as complex as a shady tunnel filled with plants or as simple as a a patio set. Adding touches of color through perennial and annual flowers and plants jazzes up the pergola. Containers with small shrubs invite you into the space. Over the years, a creeping vine can add a vibrant, lush green canopy to your retreat area.

Creeping Vines

Nothing goes better with a pergola than a fragrant creeping vine. There are many vines that can be grown around pergola posts and over the "roof" of the structure to create a shaded canopy. Adding a long-lasting perennial vine like wisteria, bougainvillea or climbing rose adds color and texture to the patio space. Shading a pergola with a creeper also reduces heat on the patio in the warm summer months. Plant each vine in a container at the base of each post. Over time, the vine will attach itself to the post and grow up towards the sun. Wrap garden wire around the young tendrils to help train each shoot around the pergola.

Trees & Shrubs

Using the pergola as an extended outdoor dining and living space often calls for surrounding greenery like shrubs and trees. Add bushes like hydrangea and dwarf spruce trees, like the Alberta spruce, to bring in more greenery and layers to the patio. Add boxwood balls in large pots for a dramatic entrance to the patio pergola. For ground-level patios, line one side of the patio with bushes and shrubs. Use a Ficus tree and dwarf Japanese maple tree to create a private pergola. For above-ground patios, use large containers to house your bushes and shrubs. Plant them in a beautiful pot and situate them around the perimeter of the patio.

Shade Plants

Grow shade-tolerant plants around the perimeter of the pergola patio. The roof of the structure will block out most sunlight and over time the creeping vines will provide even more cover, creating a fully shaded environment. Hosta plants love shade and are fast-growing hardy perennial plants, growing back each year fuller and stronger. Hostas are grown for their attractive foliage and ability to spread around the yard. Plant them in between the shrubs and other plants, at least five inches apart, for a low-growing and bright green addition to the patio. Add colorful impatiens, which come in almost every color, to contrast with the hosta plants and add a splash of color to the patio.

Keywords: patio pergola, landscaped pergola, perennial plants

About this Author

Callie Barber is a writer and photographer in North Carolina. Her work has appeared in Forbes and Automotive News magazine. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in international studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.