When you consider all the pergolas that dot Melbourne backyards, it’s easy to forget they’ve been in use for eons. While they may have come a long way from the simple structures that we’re often adorned with grape vines, the pergola is still just as practical today as it was when first introduced.

Pergolas in ancient civilisations

The exact origin of the first pergolas is difficult to pinpoint, as they have been a part of various ancient civilisations for centuries. What we do know is that pergolas – or structures that resemble pergolas – can be traced back to places like ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome.

Mostly, they were used by ancient civilisations as shade structures to provide relief from the hot sun. In Egypt, for example, they were built from stone and mudbrick and featured supporting columns with overhead beams, the traditional design of the pergola that we know today.

This concept of providing shade was supplemented by ancient Greeks, who regularly covered their pergolas with vines, especially grapevines. The pergolas therefore provided dappled shade in the summer, while allowing the sun to shine through in the colder months.

Ancient Romans further developed the concept of the pergola, incorporating them into their gardens and architecture. Pergolas in ancient Rome often featured trellises or lattice frameworks covered with climbing plants.

Incidentally, the term pergola is derived from the Latin word “pergula,” meaning a projecting eave or arbour.

The modern Melbourne pergola

While the earliest pergolas were simpler in design, they laid the foundation for the evolution of pergola styles over time. As architecture and design preferences evolved across cultures and centuries, pergolas transformed from basic shaded structures into ornate garden features and, eventually, the versatile outdoor living spaces we know today.

While today you can still find the traditional pergola featuring supporting columns or posts and overhead beams, with a vine growing over the top, today’s Melbourne pergolas come in all different shapes, sizes, styles and materials. Forget the grapevine, modern pergolas often prioritise clean, minimalist designs. As well as being practical, pergolas add style to our outdoor spaces.

While they’re still handy for keeping the sun off your head, pergolas are also perfect for relaxing and entertaining. Today, you will often see pergolas around Melbourne with features such as integrated seating, lighting, kitchens, heating and speakers. You can even get features such as motorised louvre roofs, retractable awnings and insulated roofing.

Yes, it still has its roots in ancient civilisations, but the modern pergola has come a long way!

Note: This blog was brought to you by Ron Matz and his team from our North Eastern Branch. Whether you’re considering building a more traditional pergola for you Melbourne home or a modern alternative, Ron has the knowledge, experience and know-how to make it happen.

Life’s too short to compromise. Phone Outside Concepts on 1800 601 674 for a free quote.

Pergolas have been around for eons, but today’s modern Melbourne pergolas bear little resemblance to the ones built by ancient civilisations.

Pergolas have been around for eons, but today’s modern Melbourne pergolas bear little resemblance to the ones built by ancient civilisations.