Add Garden Interest With Pergolas, Lanais, and Gazebos

In sunny areas, certain hardscape structures that provide a bit of overhead shade shelter are as functional as they are lovely. While offering comfort from the heat, they are also good props for hanging plants and climbing flowers and vines. Pergolas, gazebos, and lanais each have different architectural elements. As such, adding flair to your landscape with one or several of these features can enhance your home and your landscape in a variety of ways to complement them.

Pergolas are comprised of pillars, usually wooden, which support cross-beams over the top, forming a sort of open air hallway. By adding flowering or non-flowering vines across the cross-beams or latticework, a shaded area or walkway can be created. From older European landscapes to modern-day college campuses, pergolas are employed to offer a space which not only combines nature and architecture, but also lends a private, semi-magical air to one’s surroundings. Pergolas are often used to connect other landscape features, such as by leading to a gazebo, a greenhouse, or even one’s home.

Gazebos are also open structures, usually octagonal, whose columns – by supporting a columned but covered roof, also provide protection from rain and snow. Effective anywhere on one’s landscape, they can, due to their dry interior, include additional features such as built-in benches, a hammock or hammock chair, wicker tables, a loveseat, a small fire pit, etc. One person I know even built a gazebo to cover the hot tub near the corner of his house. Gazebos can be used as a garden focal point, near a pool or pond, or even in the village square to provide a wonderful, stand-alone option that create a private and special, covered garden spot for sitting, dining, reading, playing music, or relaxing.

Lanai, the name of the 6th largest Hawaiian island, is also the Hawaiian word for covered balcony or porch. A lanai combines the most important facet of both gazebo and pergola by being a covered, roofed outdoor patio area with access to the open air, while offering more of an outdoor living space usually attached to your house, and often located between a house and a pool area. Lanais can be enclosed with screens, awnings, even windows in season providing more protection from the elements than a gazebo. While attached lanais add real-world living space and value to your home, they are not included in factoring living area square footage when selling your property. They are, however, one of those unique special features that add value via their charm and character to your market value.