Our Pergola Over the Years

Originally inspired by a garden folly built by Roger & Chris at their Omaha home, we built our pergola to house our hot tub.

Over the years, the pergola has taken on a life of its own as its purpose has transformed and the structure has been expanded to include more and more of the deck. We have even continued the design language to the front of the house with the entry pergola of our courtyard.

The original structure was built by Rodney and some friends as a surprise for me while I was on a trip to Seattle. This gave the hot tub a location that finally made sense and allowed us to enjoy the full size of our original deck. The hot tub’s previous location was just below the eave of the roof where run off rain would soak the aging and perforated cover (thanks to our cats) and make maintaining the water in the hot tub impossible during the rainy seasons. In it’s new location, the pergola roof (though not completely solid) also helped to lower the maintenance of the hot tub by deterring branches and such from falling onto the cover when closed (or onto our heads when in it). 😛

Having said goodbye to the hot tub, the original pergola now houses what we call the “outdoor lounge”. This area is where we probably spend the majority of our time throughout the year. Lots of relaxing, dreaming, and entertaining happens here, and gets way more use than the hot tub ever did.

In 2022 we added an outdoor shower to the rear of the structure. A little exposed in this first version until you get to late spring where the tree lines are really dense around the whole property line. This quickly became one of our favorite features of the house.

Choosing cross vine to grow up the structure was, undoubtedly, our best decision in this entire project. This vine has quickly covered the wall and the roof giving extra shade and a beautiful explosion of flowers in the spring. It has also survived (and stayed green) through 3 extreme Texas winters that our other vines couldn’t quite shake. Fig ivy and Boston ivy completely decimated, Star Jasmin barely hanging in there, and wisteria needing a good cut back.

Later in 2022, we replicated the “vibe” by creating a pergola over part of our entry courtyard. The extra shade gives a cozy feel that almost adds an entry room to our house. We’ve also put in some cross vine that hopefully does as well on this structure as it did in the back yard.

This year we really expanded the existing pergola. Surrounding the outdoor shower is now a new structure built in the same style as the original, giving extra privacy throughout the year.

We also built a small porch off our new primary bath and used a similar construction. The two areas connect and the cross vine is already finding its way over to the new slatted wall.

As we look back on the journey of our pergola—from a simple structure meant to shelter a hot tub to a multifaceted outdoor living space—it’s clear that it has become much more than just an architectural feature. It has evolved into the heart of our outdoor living. Through each addition and transformation, the pergola has not only enhanced the beauty of our home but also our enjoyment of it. Whether it’s lounging in the outdoor lounge, enjoying the novelty of an outdoor shower, or simply admiring the resilience and beauty of the cross vine, the pergola stands as a beloved centerpiece of our home. As it continues to grow and change with us, we’re reminded of the endless possibilities that a bit of imagination and effort can bring to our living spaces.

All evolving from a fun idea seen on Instagram.

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