AskDefine | Define pergola

Dictionary Definition

pergola n : a framework that supports climbing plants; "the arbor provided a shady resting place in the park" [syn: arbor, arbour, bower]

User Contributed Dictionary



From etyl it pergola, from etyl la pergula.


  • a UK /ˈpəːgələ/


  1. A framework in the form of a passageway of columns that supports a trelliswork roof; used to support and train climbing plants


  • 1919, Ronald Firbank, Valmouth, Duckworth, hardback edition, page 61
    By the little garden pergola open to the winds some fluttered peacocks were blotted nervelessly amid the dripping trees, their heads sunk back beneath their wings: while in the pergola itself, like a fallen storm-cloud, lolled a negress, her levelled, polecat eyes semi-veiled by the nebulous alchemy of the rainbow.

Extensive Definition

A pergola is a garden feature forming a shaded walk or passageway of pillars that support cross beams and a sturdy open lattice, upon which woody vines are trained. As a type of gazebo, it may also be part of a building, as protection for an open terrace. The origin of the word is the Late Latin pergula, referring to a projecting eave. The term was borrowed for English from Italian, mentioned in an Italian context in 1645 and used in an English context in 1675.
Pergolas may link pavilions, may extend from a building's door to an open garden feature such as an isolated terrace or pool, or may be entirely free-standing structures providing shelter and shade to a length of walkway.
Pergolas are more permanent architectural features than the green tunnels of late medieval and early Renaissance gardens, which were often formed of springy "withies"—easily replaced shoots of willow or hazel—bound together at the heads to form a series of arches, then loosely woven with long slats, on which climbers were grown, to make a passage that was both cool and shaded and moderately dry in a shower. At Villa Petraia, inner and outer curving segments of such green walks, the forerunners of pergolas, give structure to the pattern, which can be viewed from the long terrace above it, and provide rare privacy in a teeming household, offering leafy glimpses into an orderly paradise, a formally-planted enclosed orchard that consciously recalled the Garden of Eden before Adam's Fall.
The clearly artificial nature of the pergola made it fall from favor in the naturalistic gardening styles of the 18th and 19th century, but handsome pergolas on brick and stone pillars with powerful cross-beams were a feature of the gardens designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and Gertrude Jekyll and epitomize their trademark of firm structure luxuriantly planted.
Modern pergola designs tend to favor wood over stone structures, and are thus more affordable and increasing in popularity. Generally, pergolas are either made from a weather-resistant wood, such as Red Cedar or Redwood, or are painted white.


pergola in German: Pergola
pergola in Spanish: Pérgola
pergola in French: Pergola
pergola in Dutch: Pergola (tuin)
pergola in Japanese: パーゴラ
pergola in Polish: Pergola
pergola in Russian: Пергола
pergola in Swedish: Pergola
pergola in Turkish: Pergola

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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