In the United States the backyard is a special place. It is where families and friends come together to have parties and barbecues, and it is the place where relationships are developed. In order to make the backyard into a suitable place for these gatherings, you need to have a place for people to sit and relax. Most of the time this seating comes in the form of a porch or patio, but there are some other options that will add some sophistication to the yard.
The porch or the patio is the most common place for people to gather in the yard. Most of the time the home comes with some kind of small porch attached, and it is good for small groups of people to go outside and relax. More ambitious homeowners can expand the size of the porch to include room for dozens of people and make the porch into a place where everyone wants to come visit. The problem with most porches is that they are boring and look virtually the same from house to house. You have very little creativity with a porch, and it shows a slight lack of imagination on the part of the homeowner. Of course you can always make some additions or improvements to the porch, but it will still just be a casual place for people to hang out when they are outside.
A much more formal place to sit outdoors is a gazebo. These structures are reminiscent of city parks and they have an air of sophistication to them. With a gazebo you are more equipped to have a serious adult gathering, and the gazebo is not usually a place where children want to spend a lot of time. The problem with a gazebo is that most of them have a full roof, and while that is good for days when the weather is bad, it defeats the purpose of being outside. In addition, most gazebos are not large enough for a big gathering of friends and family, and you might seem standoffish if a gazebo is the only seating that you have in your backyard.
The compromise between a traditional porch and a gazebo is the pergola. Pergolas can be freestanding structures, or they can be attached to an existing porch or patio. The offer all of the sophistication of a gazebo, without the air of pretentiousness that usually comes with one. With a pergola you will have an open aired place for your guests to come and enjoy each other’s company and they will have a little bit of shade when the sun is up. However, a pergola allows a lot of natural light to come through the top, so the structure makes it feel like the people underneath the cover are still enjoying the outdoors. You can have a pergola designed for almost any size, so if you are only planning to have a few close friends over for drinks on the porch you can have a small pergola, but if you want to have regular dinners with lots of guests, you can have a pergola that is big enough for everyone.
There are a lot of ways to spruce up the appearance of the backyard, but you need to understand how you plan to use the yard in order to get the most from your backyard structures. The more casual your gatherings are going to be, the more you should consider enlarging the porch, but if you want to add luxury and sophistication to the yard, a pergola is the way to go. In any case, spending time outdoors with people you care about is something that everyone should enjoy and the structures that you put in your yard need to reflect the type of person you are.
I am Miranda Gomez, and I host weekly gatherings for the people at my church. At first all we had was a small porch, but then I found vinyl pergola kits at www.vinyl-pergola-kits.com and I fell in love. Soon other members of our group went out and bought one and we all have a great time in fellowship with each other outside. I highly recommend the pergolas from Green Way to anyone that wants to add some seating and some class to their backyard.