How to Choose the Best Pergola Design for Your Backyard

Table of Contents

    Enjoying your backyard landscape in Kansas City is a big part of your summertime fun.

    But no one can predict the weather. Sometimes it’s bright and sunny all day. Other times it’s cloudy. And occasionally you get a rain shower, summer storm or spotty sprinkles.

    You have to be prepared for whatever Mother Nature brings.

    Patio shade structures can save the day by bringing not just a practical usefulness that gives you some protection from any type of weather, but also vertical interest, additional beauty, and a focal point in your landscape.

    But as you look at all the ideas out there, you might find yourself torn. There are so many pergola design ideas, which one would work best for you?

    Let’s look at some of the best pergola design concepts you can try in Kansas City so you can narrow down your options and find your match.

    What Do The Best Pergola Design Concepts Bring To Your Landscape?   

    If you’re looking for a structural or architectural element for your Kansas City backyard, a pergola adds just the right touch.

    It can also delineate your outdoor spaces, separating exterior “rooms” and defining key areas.

    On top of that, a pergola brings shade from that bright sun beating down.

    And if you’re incorporating something like a Renson louvered pergola, you’re also investing in a spot that will protect you from storms or keep you dry during rainfalls. Renson creates attractive, long-lasting pergolas, screened rooms, and privacy screens that we like to design and install in our clients’ outdoor rooms for maximum comfort.

    Outside Pergola Installation Kansas City

    Best Pergola Design Materials  

    When it comes to types of pergolas for you to consider, the materials they are built out of come into the equation.

    There are three types of materials we prefer to install because of their longevity, adaptability, and aesthetics.


    Wood like cedar is one of the most customizable and strongest materials, making it a best pergola design choice. It can adapt to an elegant garden or even a more modern space.

    With regular, proper maintenance, wood pergolas can last. Cedar, specifically, is unique in its reddish color, as well as natural, pleasing aroma.


    Aluminum types of pergolas bring the stability of cedar along with a clean, modern look that is also customizable.

    Long-lasting and requiring less maintenance, aluminum pergolas are high-quality structures that come in a wide color palette and can last through rain or sunshine. You can get an aluminum pergola to match your home or existing outdoor structures, and the powder-coated color doesn’t need to be repainted or stained.

    These pergolas can bring a very modern, sleek appeal to your Kansas City landscape.


    Vinyl types of pergolas also require minimal maintenance, offering lifetime longevity. An annual powerwash can preserve color and appearance.

    Vinyl may come in more limited colors than the other two options – whites and beiges. But it does offer a more formal look.

    Best Pergola Design Locations  

    Where you put your pergola is another item on the list to consider when you’re contemplating pergola design ideas.

    You want to find a spot that is going to be most convenient for you but also a visual delight.

    If you find you’re doing a lot of entertaining where you want to be able to step right out from inside to your pergola area in any weather, then keeping it closer to home might work best for you. Here, you’ll want to take your existing home architecture into account in the overall design.

    You can also place your pergola a bit further away from your back door, making it a focal point that is something you can see from your home windows and has a walkway to travel to, giving it more of a backyard destination feel. Moving things from inside to outside here may become cumbersome in bigger quantities, so you want to plan your location based on your ultimate goals.

    Sometimes, location can be determined based on the design you choose. If you opt for a louvered pergola, for instance, you won’t want to place it under trees.

    Renson pergola Kansas City

    Types of Pergolas and Their Costs  

    When you’re choosing the best pergola design for you, you also have to consider their costs and your budget.

    Your total cost will vary based on the size of your pergola, what material you choose, any foundations necessary, accessories you add, and permit needs.

    Pergolas are typically priced between $18,000 and $45,000-plus. The range covers a basic design to more custom design. Hybrid patio shade structures, which are a combination between a pergola and a screened room that offers a louvered design to let sun in or protect you from the rain, can range from between $25,000 to $120,000-plus.

    Working with a landscape designer who comprehends your usage goals and how a pergola can work best with your overall backyard can help target your budget dollars toward a structure that works best for you.

    Pergola Design Ideas to Inspire You  

    Now that you better understand the types of pergolas and materials you can choose, the cost of pergolas, and your location options, you can get more creative with some pergola design ideas you might want to try.

    Create an Attractive Vignette  

    All types of pergolas are great for breaking up areas of your yard, providing you and your family and friends with various mingling spots.

    Connect these areas with winding walkways to ensure they cohesively mesh together. Add lighting to extend usable hours.

    Then admire your destination from inside your home, looking out, as if you’re created your own real life escape that draws you outdoors.

    Compliment Your Home   

    Since a pergola design idea in your backyard is more of a home extension or addition even though it’s not connected to your house, it’s a great opportunity for you to match your home colors and design elements to align these architectural components.

    Take into consideration everything from stone to accent colors to columns for alignment and connection.

    Layer Heights  

    From groundcovers to shrubs to trees, pergola design ideas can bring another element of height to your space.

    Plants aren’t the only things that can be tall. Hardscapes like pergolas add another texture and color that reaches up into the sky, layering your vertical elements to draw the eye in.

    Consider Walls and Panels  

    All types of pergolas may start with open walls, but once one of these structures is in your space, you can increase privacy by adding wonderful mixtures of plants and trees to create a great view in addition to seclusion. Try evergreens for year-long privacy.

    Or if you want to bring another textural element into play, try panels or curtains to add color and privacy in a different way. Louvered panels that are automatically controlled can bring the best of both worlds.

    Walls and panels can add immediate coziness like your own private retreat.

    Partially Cover Your Pool or Spa  

    Want to give yourself some shade and protect your pool or spa from debris at the same time?

    A pergola design idea that can draw appeal to your water area and provide some practical function includes placing that pergola in the perfect overhead location near your pool or spa.

    eye pergola with fire pit Kansas City

    So Many Pergola Design Ideas, So Little Time  

    You might want a pergola for some weather protection. You might crave a pergola for privacy. Or you might think there is a type of pergola that can give your yard an intriguing visual element to view from inside your home as well as out.

    Whatever your decision, a pergola can certainly bring lots of enjoyment and function to your space.

    Since there are so many pergola design ideas, you might find yourself scratching your head wondering what to do.

    Let High Prairie Outdoors give you a hand. We have a lot of experience installing all types of pergolas in Kansas City landscapes. We can help you narrow down your options and find a design you truly love and will last a lifetime.

    Ready to see how High Prairie can transform your Kansas City home landscape with a pergola? We’d love to share our design and installation expertise with you. Get started today with a free consultation. Together, we can prepare a design that you will love and your neighbors will envy.

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    About The Author

    Robyn is a 2009 Graduate of the Kansas State University Department of Horticulture. She grew up in South East Kansas where she graduated from Humboldt High School. She was a Kansas State University Leadership Scholar and President of the Horticulture Club. She married Bret in 2009 and they have a daughter Ellie, born in 2021. Their family is completed by three adopted dogs.

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