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  • Barry Lenson

What Is the Best Ground Covering to Put Under Your Pergola?

There is more to a pergola than the part of it that you see above ground. When you are designing your pergola, be sure to think about what will be underneath it too. If you don’t make the right decision about this important aspect of pergola design, you could end up with a problem like one of these . . .


  • The vertical columns and deck of the wooden pergola you built three years ago over a patch of unimproved lawn are now beginning to degrade. Why? Moisture.

  • Your pergola is becoming discolored, and it is even starting to emit an unpleasant odor because you built it over a concrete deck without thinking about how to keep water from pooling underneath it.

  • One end of your pergola is sagging because you failed to account for the fact that the soil underneath did not have a uniform hardness. A little better preparation of the ground, plus the addition of gravel from end to end, might have prevented this problem.


A Privlux designed pergola on a solid foundation

Making the Right Choice . . .


Making the right choice of what goes under your pergola depends on your preferences, on the drainage at the site, on the hardness of the soil underneath, on the type of deck it will be built on, and many other factors.


Consider factors such as your climate, how you plan to use the space (e.g., dining, lounging, or gardening), maintenance requirements, and your design preferences.


Ground and Surface Coverings to Consider


Grass – Don’t rule it out. Natural grass provides a lush and soft surface under a pergola. It's a great choice if you want a natural, green look. However, it may require regular maintenance.


Gravel - Gravel is a low-maintenance option that offers good drainage and can create a rustic or modern look, depending on the type of gravel used. It's also relatively easy to install.


A plastic sheet/moisture barrier – Consult with an expert deck designer and builder to determine whether a rolled plastic sheet/moisture barrier could help prevent moisture from damaging your pergola. Note too that some plastic ground sheets can prevent plants from growing through the deck of your pergola.


Pavers or patio stones - Pavers or patio stones create a solid and level surface under the pergola. They come in various materials like concrete, brick, or natural stone. This option provides stability and can be suitable for outdoor seating and dining areas adjacent to the pergola itself.


On wooden decking - Wooden decking can be an attractive and comfortable choice for a pergola area. It provides a warm and natural look. Pressure-treated or naturally rot-resistant wood species are recommended for longevity. And of course, if you already have a deck, it can be a good idea to simply install your pergola on top of it.


On composite decking - Composite decking is a low-maintenance alternative to wood, made from a combination of wood fibers and plastic. It's durable, resistant to rot and insects, and available in various styles and colors.


On concrete - Concrete can be a practical and versatile choice. It can be stamped, stained, or polished to create different looks. It's durable and easy to clean.


On turf or artificial grass - If you want the look of grass but without the maintenance, artificial grass is an option. It stays green year-round and requires minimal upkeep.


On mulched ground - Mulch is a natural and cost-effective ground covering option. It's commonly used in more casual or garden-like settings under a pergola. However, it may need periodic replenishment.


Atop outdoor rugs – Don’t overlook this choice if you are placing your pergola on a deck. They come in a variety of patterns and colors and can be easily cleaned. But remember that this is only a viable choice if your pergola is small and light enough to be moved so the carpet can be changed or cleaned.


For Help in Making the Right Choice


If you’re hoping to have a beautiful pergola that you can enjoy for years and years, consider working with Privlux the leading provider of high-quality pergolas. While you are visiting, be sure to fill out the online form and get a free quote on the pergola of your dreams.


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