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Do I Have Room for a Pergola in My Small Garden?

Take a look at these small garden ideas to see how to work a pergola into your outside space

Houzz UK and Ireland Editor.

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Got big dreams but a small garden? If a pergola is top of your wish list, there could still be a way to fit one into your plot, whatever size it is. In fact, when ground space is at a premium, a pergola can actually be a smart way to increase your growing area, leading the eye up and providing lots of extra scramble space for climbers and ramblers. Here are a few ideas to show you how.

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Tuck it against the house
Fitted up right against the back wall of the house, this pergola transforms a small paved area into something quite magical. The garden faces south, so Kate Eyre of Kate Eyre Garden Design built the pergola in this sheltered spot and trained evergreen jasmine over it to create dappled shade.

While this is, admittedly, part of a larger garden scheme, if you’re tight on space, it shows how you can turn a small seating area into a feature in its own right by creating a snug feel with layers of plants and decorative lanterns.

Take a tour of the rest of this garden

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Allow light to filter through
A fully enclosed pergola with a solid roof or thick plants weaving across the top can create a cosy, shady spot for relaxing. But if space is at a premium and you want to maximise every drop of sunshine in your small garden, an open pergola like this will still create a feeling of intimacy without blocking out precious light.

To create the same effect in your garden, choose a pale-coloured frame and restrict climbers to the four posts, keeping the top free.

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Add some curves
If you’re worried about a pergola feeling too oppressive in a small garden, try a tall, arched style like this one to retain as much vertical height as possible while still creating the feel of an outdoor ‘room’.

If you can’t find a style on the high street that works, you could ask a local builder to create a bespoke frame, which could be as simple as four uprights with two curved struts overhead, or more complex if budget allows.

Search for landscape architects and garden designers in your area

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Create drama
Alternatively, play up the compact size of your garden by creating a small covered dining area that’s big on drama.

This tiny terrace has been totally transformed by the addition of this teal pergola, which has been painted to tie in with the richly coloured door and windows woodwork.

A small, circular table with five chairs tucked neatly underneath provides a sociable place to sit and chat, while the trailing greenery and small brass lamps suspended from the crossbeams create a sense of drama and playfulness in this enticing space.

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Make it the focal point
If a covered seating area like this is on your dream garden list but space is tight, consider making it the centre of your design and working the rest of the space around it.

You might have to sacrifice a lawn, some planting beds, outbuildings, or all three, to make way for it, but as long as you leave a small area for planting and an access path around the sides, you can create a romantic hideaway that’s perfect for alfresco dining, relaxed dinner parties or a quiet cup of tea.

Browse a range of pergolas in the Houzz Shop

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Reach for the sky
While not strictly a small garden, this smart roof terrace demonstrates how effective a pergola can be on a roof garden, balcony or terrace where floor space is limited.

Adding vertical height can help to draw the eye upwards as well as creating much-needed privacy if you’re overlooked. If covered, it can also provide shelter from inclement weather.

Tell us…
Do you have a pergola in your garden? If so, how do you use it and what do you grow up it? Share any tips and photos in the Comments section.

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