Engel & Völkers Licence Partner Gent-Zuid • Sint-Martens-Latem > Blog > The pergola: A must-have in an outdoor space!

The pergola: A must-have in an outdoor space!

Does your home have an outdoor space? Would you like to be able to enjoy moments of relaxation by yourself, with your partner and with family and friends? A pergola will readily meet such expectations, especially if you choose a model that suits your surface area, the design of your garden and your own personal plans.

What is a pergola?

A pergola is a construction consisting of cross beams. The structure is supported by pillars and often adorned with climbing plants, giving a refreshingly natural touch to your pergola. You can choose different materials with options including wood, aluminium and plastic.

It's up to you to choose the model which best reflects your aesthetic preferences and offers dimensions which suit the configuration of your own space. Furthermore, where you locate your pergola can be quite flexible. It can be placed against the wall of your facade, act as a garden shelter, or simply stand in the middle of your lawn.

This kind of structure has four main elements starting with the posts at the base of the structure. The purlins, or support beams, are used to connect the posts. Crossbeams are then added to bring further rigidity to the structure and avoid any unwanted movement. And finally, the slats, or rafters, are smaller and more decorative beams placed perpendicular to the crossbeams.

Why install a pergola?

Installing a pergola has many advantages. First, this kind of structure introduces a tasteful decorative touch to your outdoor garden space. And by choosing a wooden model, you add an exotic touch to your garden which will help you appreciate the moments you spend in this Caribbean style shelter all the more. With climbing plants running through the structure, you will have a colourful pergola which both creates a dream space and adds a touch of luxury to your home! The types of vegetation which lend themselves perfectly to this particular use are almost unlimited in their variety: wisteria, climbing roses, vines, winter jasmine, dregeas, cobées, fire vines, etc. To enhance this exotic feel, you could also hang a transparent veil, which will also help to offer some UV protection on very hot, sunny days.

What’s the difference between a pergola and a veranda?

It’s very easy to confuse a veranda and a pergola. Although both can provide an intermediate zone between the interior and exterior of your home, there are some important differences. In general, the veranda is a room in its own right which extends your living area, while the pergola usually has an open space at the sides. And to combine the advantages of both, there is the "veranda-pergola": a veranda which has its own pergola extension. This type of construction allows you to have a closed space which also has its own open area. This alternative is ideal when you want to take full advantage of the sun during the good weather and protect yourself from the wind and rain during the colder winter season. Installing sliding bay windows will divide these two spaces while still retaining a clear view of the garden from any vantage point.

Will you need planning permission?

That depends on the region where you live. The need for planning permission to construct a veranda, pergola or a covered terrace will vary according to the regulations applied by the regional authorities in Brussels, Wallonia and Flanders. In the Belgian capital, town planning laws mean a permit is compulsory, unlike Wallonia where this approach is unnecessary for a veranda of less than 5 metres, or a pergola measuring less than 3.5 metres. You are therefore strongly recommended to consult your own local authority before carrying out such work.

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