Pergolas endured the long years since their first introduction. Despite all the changes in its name, styles, and materials, the purpose of these structures stayed the same for more than 3,000 years.
The earliest known garden plan that survived to this day dated back to around 1,400 BC. It was owned by an Egyptian who was a member of the high court of Thebes. The plan shows a pergola over the garden’s entryway. While there are standing debates on the true inspiration behind the construction of pergolas, it was probably because of their undeniable aesthetic beauty. The weather could also be one factor for its creation. But, there is no doubt that these intricate structures are beautiful and functional at the same time, making them timeless entities that remained popular through the years.
For many centuries, pergolas served numerous purposes. One of these is serving as stunning hanging gardens exclusively made for the most affluent. Pergolas also served an important function for common workers who used them for growing some species of harvestable vegetation. The structures also offered backyard aficionados a great place where vine plants can climb and grow. These structures offer an elegant shade that protects people from all walks of life from the harsh rays of the sun or the furious storm. Today, we even have carport pergolas.
Pergolas have definitely come a very long way from the first time they were created and today, not only the rich elites can enjoy their function and beauty.
The Historical Pergolas
Pergola is taken from the Latin term pergula that means a projecting eave usually found as an arbour or extended roof. The term was known to be used for the first time during the late medieval period in the 1640s. John Evelyn used this at the cloister in Rome’s Trinita del Monti. Eastern Asia during that time was already producing their own structures featuring curved beams that imitated the arched architecture structure of pergolas.
The 17th century’s Great Italian Renaissance breathed new life to pergolas. Possibly focusing more on beauty instead of functionality, the period of artistic revival paved the way for arches featuring dramatic and large pillars made from smooth stone. The 19th and the early 20th century pergolas are epitomized the most by some renowned garden designers such as Gertrude Jekyll and Sir Edwin Lutyens.
The Modern and Future Pergolas
In general, modern pergolas are not made from the same brick and stone that were seemingly favoured by earlier generations. The structures have taken advantage of modern technology. Materials such as fibreglass and vinyl resulted in the making of pergolas that can last a lifetime requiring very little to no maintenance at all. On the other hand, simplistically functional and stylish pergolas made from treated pine or red cedar have set the standards in the industry.
For centuries, pergolas served as covers for roads and walkways or as building extensions. They are built as permanent structures crafted from rock and stone and fibreglass and vinyl in modern times. The pergola has found its origins and home in Greece, France, Egypt, and Asia and spread all over the world.