Should You Enhance Your Pergola with Climbing Plants?

To enhance the natural beauty of a backyard gardenspace, owners will often plant & train vines to grow up and on top of pergolas. Here are some things to consider when planning your outdoor living space and your options for growing plants and vines on pergolas.

Why Grow Vines on Your Pergola?

There are a few reasons why people grow plants and vines up their pergola.

  • Shade – Climbing plants can provide natural shade from the sun.
  • Privacy – Vines and plants can provide a natural privacy barrier from the street or neighboring backyards.
  • Beauty – Climbing plants provide three dimensional growth and beauty to your backyard living space.
Wood Arched Pergola

Important Considerations Before Growing Plants on Pergola

  • Pergola Strength – Cheap aluminum pergolas from the big box stores may not be strong enough to withstand the weight of growing plants. Our wood pergolas are engineered to withstand them.
  • Choose the Right Material – If you do plan to grow climbing plants on your pergola, choose a wood pergola. The natural beauty of the wood will blend in nicely to the seasonal colors of the vines.
  • Not Recommended for All Uses – We do not recommend growing plants over a pergola if the primary use is for dining. It just gets too messy! If you want shade, consider an EZShade product.
  • Know What Your Are Getting Into – While climbing plants do provide beauty, they also can attract insects & pests, will drop their leaves and fruit, and require additional maintenance. Make sure you aggressively prune your plants in the spring so that they do not overtake your structure.

Alternates to Growing Plants on Pergolas

If you prefer the beauty and design of a wood or vinyl pergola, but want some additional shade and comfort from the sun, our EZShade products might be right for you. Designed to work with our full line of pergolas, the EZShade canopy is a fully-retractable canopy that mounts underneath your pergola roof. Easy to operate and available in a variety of patters, this pergola canopy is the perfect addition for those who want temporary shade.

Looking for some privacy for the sides of your pergola? Our EZShade curtain can be mounted to the side of a pergola or pavilion and can protect you and your guests from sun, wind, or neighbors.

If you like the beauty of naturally growing vines, consider adding an arbor to your garden. Wood arbors are specialty structures designed for growing vines. They can be used as archways along a path or to provide shade to a bench or swing.

Artisan Wood Pergola with EZShade System.

Best Plants and Vines for a Pergola

If you do wish to grow vines on a pergola or arbor, make sure you choose the right plant. We recommend checking with your local greenhouse or garden center to find a native option that’s right for your local climate.

Here are some plants to consider for growing on your pergola:

  • Climbing roses
  • Wisteria
  • Clematis
  • Grapevines
  • Honeysuckle