Beneath the Beams: Pergola Seating Area Ideas for Every Garden

Beneath the Beams: Pergola Seating Area Ideas for Every Garden

As the desire for outdoor living spaces soars, it's clear that the garden is no longer just an addition to our homes but a central feature. 

The global pergola market is set to rise to a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 5.5% from 2018 to 2030, reflecting the pergola's continuing allure. This newfound interest isn't just a result of aesthetics but the increased awareness of the pergola's ability to transform any garden into a luxurious retreat. 

In fact, did you know that adding a pergola can increase the value of your property, with an estimated return on investment ranging from 50-80%

At Harbour Lifestyle, we see the pergola as the canvas for an outdoor masterpiece. Whether you're seeking the cool shelter of a shady nook or planning your next garden soiree, pergolas create the perfect backdrop. 

So, as you consider the various ways to elevate your garden, remember that a pergola isn't just a shelter - it's a versatile feature that stands out as a smart and stylish choice for any modern garden. Read on to check out our stylish pergola seating area ideas.


What is pergola seating?

PergoSTET 3m x 4m Rectangular Pergola with 3 Drop Sides and LED Lighting in Grey - £3,999

Luna Outdoor Fabric Rectangular Corner Dining Set with Rising Firepit Table in Oyster Grey (Right Hand) - £3,999


A pergola outdoor seating area is an inviting, functional space underneath the lattice or framework of a pergola. Offering a blend of shade and sunlight, pergola seating areas are known for their open and airy roofs supported by columns, are typically adorned with climbing plants and are perfect for relaxing or socialising. 

Pergola outdoor seating areas are usually thoughtfully furnished and arranged to provide a comfortable, shaded spot for friends and family to sit, gather and enjoy the outdoors. Seating varies from simple benches to luxurious sofas, loungers and dining sets

Why have a Pergola?

PergoSTET 3m x 4m Rectangular Pergola with 3 Drop Sides and LED Lighting in White - £3,999.00

A pergola is a transformative addition to any garden or patio, offering a versatile blend of shade and sunlight. It creates a comfortable outdoor area protected from the harshness of the sun's direct rays while still allowing you to soak in its natural ambience and warmth. 

They also provide a framework for climbing plants to intertwine, adding a living tapestry of greenery and flowers, as well as defining and enhancing your outdoor space for a sense of luxury in your garden. 

Undoubtedly a focal point, pergolas make versatile settings for everything from a peaceful retreat for some relaxing alone time to lively parties and other social gatherings. Here are some ideas of how you might like to use your pergola:

Cooking in your outdoor kitchen

Kamado BBQ 22" Ceramic Grill Egg in Matte Green - £799

Integrate bar stools or a high-top table near your outdoor kitchen. Guests can chat and sip drinks while you grill for a social and interactive cooking experience under your pergola. Incorporate a bar cart or outdoor buffet table to keep all the essentials within arm’s reach, ensuring the chef and comfortable bar stools are never far from the fun.

Click here for even more outdoor kitchen ideas.


Relaxing in the shade during the summer

PergoSTET 4m x 4m Square Pergola with 3 Drop Sides and LED Lighting with Wood Effect - £5,399

Place loungers or a hammock under your pergola to create a serene escape. Soft scatter cushions and throw pillows add comfort and a cosy feel for those long, lazy summer days. Add a small side table for all of your refreshments and snacks, and even a light fabric curtain for extra shade, privacy and tranquillity.


Snuggling up around a fire pit in the winter

PergoSTET 3m x 4m Rectangular Pergola with 3 Drop Sides and LED Lighting in Grey - £3,999

Luna 6 Seat Teak Firepit Bar Set in Grey - £3,799


A semi-circle of cosy armchairs around a firepit draped with thick blankets and plush cushions creates a warm and inviting spot for cooler summer, autumn and even winter nights. Add a durable outdoor rug and a few lanterns to enhance the cosy atmosphere.


Hosting garden parties and events

3m x 6m Rectangular Pergola with 4 Drop Sides in Grey - £8,639

Choose a lush sofa set and tables that can be rearranged whenever you need. Twinkling fairy lights and hanging plants from the beams of your pergola can create an enchanting setting for memorable get-togethers.


Ideas for designing your pergola seating area


Uncovered vs. covered pergola seating area

For an uncovered Pergola, consider lightweight, movable chairs and a fire pit for a flexible space that allows you to bask in the glowing sun, and accent it with additions like tall, leafy potted and sun-loving climbing plants that are perfect for draping over beams and lattice for a touch of shade. Covered pergola seating areas, on the other hand, are perfect for incorporating a permanent dining set or cosy soft sofas and chairs with weather-resistant fabrics for practical comfort come rain or shine.


Patio vs. garden pergola seating area

If you have a garden pergola seating area, consider natural wood or wicker furniture to complement your natural surroundings. Accessorise with scattered, plush, floral print cushions for a burst of colour and added comfort. For patio-located pergolas, go for sleek, modern furniture to mirror the home’s exterior with cushions with bold patterns and rugs to add personality and create a unified look that’s a natural extension of your interior. 


Where to place a pergola

A pergola placed near the home can double up as an outdoor living room, complete with a lounge set and side tables for added convenience — perfect for warmer days! 

If you want more space between your property and the pergola structure, opt for a garden corner with a bench and a small table for coffee or cocktails to create a secret getaway. Surround your pergola with outdoor lights like lanterns for soft lighting that’s both functional and creates a magical evening ambience.


Sunken seating area with pergola

Sunken seating areas with a pergola offer an even more cosy vibe! Adorn the space with multiple cushions and throws to create the perfect relaxing sanctuary after a long, hard day. Add a central, low-lying table for somewhere to place all your snacks and drinks and hang string lights or pendant lighting overhead for a warm and inviting glow that enhances the sunken effect.


What height should a pergola be?

In the UK, if your pergola is within 2 metres of the boundary, its height can’t exceed 2.5 metres. However, if it is further away from the boundary, the height of your pergola can be up to 3 metres, and if it has an a-shaped pitched roof, it can even be as tall as 4 metres.

A taller pergola would look great if you have a larger garden with more expansive space and a two-floor home or higher. In contrast, bungalows or homes with smaller gardens would look better with a shorter pergola that isn’t taller than your property and won’t overpower your outdoor space.


Pergola material and colour

For those with wooden pergolas, think about staining or painting your structure in hues that either contrast or complement your outdoor and indoor colour palette, depending on the look and feel you’re going for. Pair with garden furniture that highlights the natural grain and texture.

For metal pergolas, match with sleek, metallic or glass-topped tables for a modern aesthetic. Warm it up and add a pop of vibrant energy with brightly coloured cushions and blankets or neutral colours if your goal is to create a calm and sophisticated area.

Ideas for decorating and furnishing your pergola seating area


Dining sets

Julia 6 Seat Rectangular Dining Set in Volga Grey - £4,999.00

Elevate your outdoor meals with a stylish pergola dining set. Choose a long, rustic table for family-style gatherings or a round table for intimate dinners and pair it with comfortable, cushioned chairs that’ll make your guests want to stay for longer. 

To ensure the longevity of your dining and seating sets, consider the materials your furniture is made from and select durable options, like wrought iron, which can withstand the elements and add a touch of elegance to your outdoor dining area.


Sofa sets

Quay 3 Seat Sofa Set in Linen - £1,749


Create a living room under the sky with a plush pergola sofa set. These versatile, modular pieces can be rearranged according to the occasion and seating plan. Introduce captivating focal points in your space with accessories. Incorporate textiles in diverse textures, bringing the essence of a living room through interesting patterns and colours. Finish off the look with a stylish coffee table.


Firepit Sets

Cosipure 100 White and Teak Square Fire Pit - £1,665

Make your covered pergola seating area really stand out with a firepit set for cosy evenings. Choose low, comfortable seating that easily encircles the firepit, ensuring all your guests have equal access to toast their marshmallows and bask in the fires' warm glow. Add wooden seating with outdoor blankets for extra warmth and a chic ski chalet feel.

Check out more fire pit ideas here.


Loungers & Daybeds

Luna Outdoor Fabric Sun Lounger in Oyster Grey - £749

Luna Side Table - £179

Monterrey 8 Seat Rope Dining Set with Oval Ceramic Table in Grey - £2,649


For ultimate relaxation, add loungers or a daybed to your pergola. Not just for summer holidays abroad by the pool, adjustable loungers are perfect for sunbathing or reading in your garden at home. Meanwhile, a daybed can double as a guest bed for lazy afternoon naps or enjoying outdoor film nights with a projector. 


Pergola Lighting

PergoSTET 4m x 4m Square Pergola with 3 Drop Sides and LED Lighting in Grey - £4,999.00

Safe and stylish lighting extends the usability of your pergola into the evening. Illuminate your structure and show off your seating area with a mix of functional, weather-proof and stylish ambient lighting. 

String lights create a magical, twinkling canopy, and lanterns and gravity candles add a soft, warm glow with a twist. For targeted lighting, consider eco-friendly solar or LED options around dining areas for an inviting brightness that significantly cuts your carbon footprint. 

Pergola Heating

PergoSTET Wifi & Bluetooth Heater in Grey - £349

You can use your pergola all year long thanks to a wide range of available heating options. A stylish standing heater will become a focal point and add warmth, while infrared varieties can be mounted to the pergola structure and beams for a more cohesive and integrated look. 

Choose from various styles and fuel options, like electric or natural gas, and mix and match with smaller fire lantern styles, larger fire pits and powerful wall-mounted variations to carry on and enjoy the space even when the temperature drops. For more outdoor heating inspiration, check out our outdoor heating ideas.


Discover more pergola seating area ideas

The potential to create your perfect pergola is limitless — all you need is to add your personal touch and you’re good to go. From seating ideas to materials and decorations, we’ve gone through it all. But remember, each suggestion is merely a starting point and inspiration for your own creativity and style. 

Get creative and dive deeper with Harbour Lifestyle’s selection of luxury seating options, and find pieces that speak to your unique needs and tastes to create your perfect outdoor space. 

Each piece reflects our commitment to quality and excellence, designed to elevate your outdoor living experience. Our award-winning collections combine durability with style and comfort, guaranteeing your pergola becomes such a cherished extension of your home that you’ll spend all your free time under it!

Choose Harbour Lifestyle and make your pergola seating area the heart of countless memorable moments — click here to browse our full range.


Pergola seating area FAQs


Will a pergola block the sun?

Whether or not a pergola blocks the sun depends on your chosen design and structure. 

Some pergolas feature an open lattice design that provides partial shades and filters the sun’s rays instead of blocking them altogether, while others have a full roof to block the sun completely. The amount of shade can be increased with climbing plants or added fabrics like curtains and retractable canopies that can be opened and closed as needed.


Are pergolas a good idea?

Pergolas make a great addition to any outdoor space, providing the perfect blend of aesthetic appeal and functionality. They provide a designated area to relax and entertain while enhancing the overall look of your garden or patio, and can even increase the value of your property. 

With various design and customisation options to choose from, pergolas can suit a wide range of preferences and needs. 


How close can a pergola be to a neighbour's fence?

A pergola's distance from a neighbour's fence is up to 2 metres from the property boundary. However, distances can vary by local regulations, so it's always best to check with your local council and building codes, as well as discuss your plans with neighbours to avoid any potential disputes down the line. 


How high can a pergola be without planning permission in the UK?

In the UK, pergolas typically don’t need planning permission. That being said, this is only if they are no higher than 2.5 metres. Once again, it’s always best to double-check with your local council and planning authorities as specific rules may vary.