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20 Inspiring Beautiful Backyard Pavilion & Pergolas Inspiration

By Axis Fuksman-Kumpa September 11, 2023

Classic Design Pergola

Pergolas and pavilions have become more and more popular backyard additions for good reason—there’s no better place for outdoor entertaining! While they may have a reputation for being more at home on fancy estates, smart styling can make them look at home in any backyard.

Keep reading for some of our favorite Tilly pavilion and pergola designs we’ve created over the years. But first, let’s cover one of the most common questions we get: what’s the difference between pergolas, pavilions, and gazebos?

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Pergola vs. Pavilion vs. Gazebo

All three are shade structures that make a beautiful addition to any backyard, but they’re each a little bit different.

  • Pergolas have a slatted or lattice-style roof supported by posts. They provide shade and many people will add additional shades or canopies to them.
  • Pavilions have a solid roof. They have open sides and no built-in floor and are most commonly attached to a deck, paver patio, or concrete base. Most pavilions are square or rectangular.
  • Gazebos also have a solid roof and partially open sides which may have low railings. However, gazebos tend to be shaped like an octagon or oval. A gazebo can have a built-in floor or can be placed on a concrete base.

The versatility of pavilions and pergolas make them some of our favorite features to include in landscape renovations. Let’s take a look at some of our favorite pavilion and backyard pergola ideas from our landscape design portfolio:

#1 // Pergola & Pavilion Duo in Kansas

These clients from Kansas wanted a perfect space for outdoor entertaining, and their designer knew they needed an outdoor design just as unique as their modern craftsman-style home. The solution was to include an impressive pavilion to be the central hub for entertaining, including a grill, outdoor bar, couch, TV, and outdoor fireplace that can be enjoyed in any weather. On nights when they want to take in the stars, a distinctive curved pergola hugs a fire pit just waiting for marshmallows.

A side yard peergola with a stone patio, outdoor fire place and lawn.
A Pavilion over an outdoor living room with a fire place and outdoor TV
Side and backyard landscape design plan for a yard in KansasLandscape Design in Kansas

#2 // Simple and Elegant California Pergola

This beautifully simple pergola design perched over a patio and outdoor dining set to provide gentle shade from the California sun. At the same time, the slatted roof leaves the space feeling open and airy to avoid making their compact backyard feel smaller. The clean lines of the pergola and patio match the contemporary design of the home for a perfect California modern design.

A small backyard in California with a pergola over the patio and wood deck with a fire pit and outdoor couch and chairs.
A backyard pergola over an outdoor dining table. Planters with trees provide privacy along a brick wall and a horizontal slatted fence. Landscape Design in California

#3 // Romantic, Flower-Covered Backyard Pergola

This Illinois backyard full of pastel flowers and rustic stepping stones feels like it could have been dropped right out of a fairytale, and the designer knew that a pergola would be the perfect finishing touch. A classic arbor-style pergola covered in flowering vines nestled at the back of the yard hides a private and cozy bench which is the perfect spot for watching the summer fireflies.

a birds eye view of a beautiful landscape design plan for an Illinois backyard
a big backyard with colorful flowers and stepping stones to a fire pit area. A wooden pergola is positioned in the back of the yard.
A wooden pergola with flowering vines on it and a bench underneath for relaxing in a lush backyard. Landscape Design in Illinois

#4 // Double Pergolas for Outdoor Entertaining

Compact backyards mean every inch of space count, but our designer made this small California backyard a killer location for entertaining by creating zones with outdoor structures. A large patio pergola covers a spacious dining set, while a pergola canopy and draped outdoor lighting add ambiance and extra shelter from the sun. Another smaller pergola adds privacy to a steaming hot tub next to a fire pit—the coziest place to end any evening.

a small wood deck in a backyard with a pergola over the hot tub for shade
pergola shade over a hot tub in a small backyard. A deck to the side with outdoor seating and a fire pit.
a pergola attached to house provides shade for an outdoor dining table in this backyardLandscape Design in California

#5 // Big Pergola for Outdoor Dining

An expansive patio pergola feels like an extension of this modern home in Canada! A large dining table is shaded under the slatted roof and placed conveniently next to an outdoor grill. When the party keeps going after the sun sets, a large hanging lantern lights the pergola in a soft golden glow.

A steel pergola over a dining area and outdoor kitchen. String lights and a pendant light are hung from the pergola for atmosphere.
A backyard pergola that provides shade.
A fire pit over modern paving stones with gravel. A backyard pergola in the rear over a outdoor dining space. Landscape Design in Canada

#6 // Modern Texas Backyard Pergola

Tilly extended this client’s backyard patio with pavers to expand the entertaining area while maintaining a consistent, modern look. The modern metal kitchen pergola overhead shades the space and creates the perfect spot for BBQs and happy hours. An attached pavilion bridges the gap between the home and pergola, creating a sheltered patio to enjoy in any weather.

Modern Metal Pergola in a backyard with an outdoor kitchen and xeriscape landscagping.
Metal pergola for shade in a modern texas backyard

Patio pergola ideas in a Modern style Texas backyard.
Texas Landscape Design

#7 // Eclectic Virginia Backyard Pergola

This eclectic backyard design uses a beautiful pergola to bridge the gap between home and backyard and to add shade for sun loungers by the pool. The light wood connects the pergola to the furniture throughout the space and keeps it casual yet chic while the climbing plants add a little romance.

Modern Backyard Design around a pool with an outdoor pergola for shad to the side.
stepping stones in grass next to a pool with a wooden pergola attached to house.

Pavers with lounge area and inground pool with classic style pergola next to it.
Virginia Landscape Design

#8 // Rustic Massachusetts Pavilion

This beautiful and rustic pavilion design reflects the cottage garden style of this Cape Cod landscape. The sturdy roof provides a covered space with shelter from New England’s unpredictable weather and the cozy fireplace will warm you right up! It’s an inviting outdoor living structure for guests and the perfect focal point to tie the entire yard together.

Maine Backyard Landscape Design with veggie gardens and a fire pit areea.
a beautiful backyard with colorful flowers and a retaining wall around the driveway.

Rustic Gazebo in Maine with a chiminea, outdoor couch, outdoor chairs, and beautiful flowers around it.
Massachusetts Landscape Design

#9 // Modern Washington Pavilion

This oversized outdoor pavilion structure protects a beautiful fireplace and spacious grill and creates a secondary outdoor cooking space and entertaining area that can be used year round. The rustic stone and arching wooden roof mirror the materials of the home and the incredible natural beauty of Washington.

A big backyard in Washington with a large pavilion for entertaining.
Pavilion with an outdoor fire place and entertaining area in a washington backyard.

A Pavilion over a stone patio outdoor space in a large pacific northwest backyard.
Washington Landscape Design

#10 // Calming Pergola for Meditation

This client’s meditation pergola is surrounded with trees and shrubs to create a sense of peaceful seclusion. A minimalist water feature provides soothing sounds and a beautiful view. The steel-framed zen pergola has a retractable canopy, allowing for shade or an open view of the sky. Uplighting on focal point plants provides a subtle take on pergola lighting ideas. Stepping stones through gravel create delineation between the pergola space and the rest of the yard.

A modern zen patio for meditation with a pergola over it to provide shade.
A dark pergola with shade covers over the roof slats to provide relief from the hot summer sun.

Texas Backyard Pergola with Modern Pavers and colorful flowers around it.
Texas Landscape Design

#11 // Classic Colorado Pergola

This client’s large concrete patio accommodates a dining table, grill, and wooden pergola with roof slats for shade. Concrete pavers set into the grass are incorporated on either side of the new concrete patio to make the whole space feel bigger and provide an extension of the main patio and extra space and seating for entertaining.

Classic Wooden Pergola outdoor structure in a small backyard with a patio and lounge area.
An outdoor seating area with a pergola overhead to provide shade.

a great idea for a pergola attached to house in a small backyard in Colorado. A pergola or pavilion is a great way to provide shade and add character to the yard.
Colorado Landscape Design

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#12 // Framing the View in Ohio

A stone-columned pergola takes full advantage of the gorgeous views at this Ohio home! It houses a seating area that centers on a low stone wall and fireplace that provide a sense of enclosure and intimacy without blocking the view of the lake. There’s no better place to watch the sunset over the water.

A pergola in a large yard on a lake. This pergola with stone columns creates an outdoor living room with a fire place and a seating area below it.
a beautiful classic backyard with colorful flowers, trees and greenery and an outdoor pergola.

A statement making classic style pergola with stone columns in a big backyard.
Ohio Landscape Design

#13 // Pergola in a Bustling Backyard

The potential of this compact North Carolina backyard is maximized through smart use of space, creating special spots for everyone in the family and the things they love. From a fire pit nook to a dining area - even an outdoor sports court - this yard has it all. The garden pergola is used to create a shaded outdoor dining space with beautiful ambiance for meals with the whole family.

A maximized backyard with veggie gardens, a sports court, fire pit area and dining areea
A maximized backyard with a pergola over an outdoor eating area, which helps dilineate the space and separate it from the rest of the yard

Backyard Pergola Over Dining area in a small backyard
North Carolina Landscape Design Plan

#14 // New York Classic Wooden Pergola & Patio

This backyard pergola shades a comfortable dining table beside a cozy fire pit area overlooking two small raised garden beds. The pergola helps to define and separate the outdoor spaces, creating the feeling of outdoor rooms and separation between the outdoor “living room” and “dining room.”

Side Yard View of Pergola in a large backyard
a wooden pergola over a dining area in a large backyard.

a beautiful patio with a pergola, fire pit and outdoor dining area with a grill.
New York Landscape Design

#15 // Illinois Pavilion Entertaining Area

This design is all about inviting you into the backyard. This majestic pavilion creates the ultimate lounge space next to the large pool. With a built-in grill area, dining area, and fire pit lounge, no one will ever want to leave this party!

A grand pavilion over a outdoor living room to provide shade and comfort in this large backyard space.
A pavilion by a pool area in a Illinois backyard.

view of a pavilion off of a pool deck
Illinois Landscape Design

#16 // Virginia Cottage Pergola

A small pergola on decks or patios can make a big difference in ambiance and elevate a space to the next level. This sweet shade structure looks like a natural extension of the home, adding to the cozy cottage feel of this Virginia home.

a Backyard with Small Pergola attached to the house.
a small pergola gives a backyard a lot of character.

a small hosue has a classic style pergola off the back over an entertaining area.
Virginia Landscape Design

#17 // Massachusetts Pavilion for Gathering

This striking pavilion blends in with the home and creates the ultimate indoor-outdoor living space for this family. The sheltered roof maximizes the potential of their fantastic outdoor kitchen space which flows into an inviting backyard seating area complete with a cozy fire pit.

Backyard Gazebo House View of a beautiful garden with pergola and fire pit.
Gazebo in Backyard at sunset with an outdoor seating areae.

The view from a pergola looking at the rest of a backyard that has a rectangular fire pit and seating areea and a hot tub.
Massachusetts Landscape Design

#18 // Texas Pergola Design

This wood slat pergola attached to the house creates a cozy atmosphere for the lounging nook beneath it. Concrete step pads lead to a small pool, lounging deck and fire pit space—all working together to create a modern but naturalistic feel.

Entertaining Area Under Pergola in a small backyard.
a pergola over a patio in a small backyard.

an arial view of a wooden pergola over a patio area with planters and pavers leading to a pool.
Texas Landscape Design

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#19 // Maryland Naturalistic Pergola Design

This lush Maryland backyard feels like a private oasis thanks to the tall fences and dense plants. The tall wooden pergola and luxurious sauna echo the look of the wooden fence, bringing the whole backyard together into a cohesive and cozy design.

looking out from under a pergola at a sauna in a small backyard.
under a modern pergola in a small backyard.

A pergola with a wooden slat roof over an outdoor kitchen and dining table.
Maryland Landscape Design

#20 // Modern New York Pergola

This client’s modern outdoor pergola stands above a sharp grid of stepping stones that house the fire pit, lounge area, and dining table. This outdoor living nook provides welcome space to relax in a small backyard dominated by a large pool.

a modern pergola is set up right next to this home to provide interest over a fire pit area and outdoor dining area next to a pool.
The arial view looking down at a small backyard with a pool and pergola.

Wooden Pergola with slats next to a pool.

Want to see more Tilly designs? We’ve got a full portfolio of designs—including pergolas and much, much more.

Read more about: Tilly Portfolio