Your shopping cart is empty.

To pergola or not to pergola? Backyard peeps!!

April 26, 2014
I just don't know what to do about this ugly concrete square and small rectangle along the back of my house. We plan to move in about 2-3 years so I'm looking for something that we can enjoy but that doesn't break the bank. Also the pergola footings are UGLY! Should I just yank down the pergola? Our view is put to the ocean and since we live on the hill of our street there are really no blocks of our view. Please help. It's that whole back side of my house

Comments (25)

  • Maria Smith
    Not sure what breaking the bank means in numbers, but you could extend the concrete pour past the pylons and other door, this would give you more move around space for your dining table. The pylons would be less noticeable and could have some container plantings or vines coming up the columns. Alternatively, you could place large grey flagstone pieces to step on to off the concrete and keep the grass to fill into the gaps, create a flagstone walk / path off the patio to the other concrete area still do plantings or vines at pylons. Remove the large rock (put it somewhere else.) How much direct light comes into the house in the summer? I think that you may want to keep it for now.
  • Beth Bevington
    How lucky, view of the ocean. Leave it for a while. Maybe you could soften with weaving fabric. I had a similar problem, found
    A bolt of fabric at a party rental sale. I love the look. I just take the fabric down in changing weather. Have fun.
  • Lisy
    We live in San Diego so we don't have severe weather and its really never hotter than the upper 80s so the Pergola is more of an aesthetic thing than anything. its just those ugly footings
  • olldroo
    Definitely would not yank down the pergola, they aren't cheap to build and will be a lovely selling point for your house.

    I would be looking for some inexpensive pavers and replacing all the concrete, the way the concrete has been done is not even attractive. Paving is a DIY job and a compactor can be hired to ensure a solid even base if you wanted to save contractors' costs. I would leave the planter box for some colour in plants. Not sure of levels as to whether pavers would cover the concrete at the base of the pergola columns, but if not some plantings along the edge between the columns would soon cover the concrete.

    Pavers going right across the area would give you a far more usable part sunny and part shady area. I notice you have a young child or children - extending this hard surface area, would reduce dirt coming into the house, increase play area for the children and be far more practical. I can't see this not adding considerable value to your home - everyone likes to sit out and enjoy an ocean view
  • PRO
    SoCal Contractor
    If the pergola is not serving a purpose, take it down, it's not pretty and your yard would feel larger.
  • lessismoore
    I love pergolas, but I see what you mean on yours. I'd keep it though, and simply (we hope) have some concrete planters made to box it in as shown. That would conceal the posts and pilings. You could then plant a climbing vine (I show a clematis, but many others would work as well) . If you don't want the hassle of the planting, you could top the concrete surrounds with a wooden board top, with or without pillows, for nice side benches. Like and you could incorporate Maria aboves idea for draping with fabrics and still extend out into the yard with some flagstone.
    Lisy thanked lessismoore
  • PRO
    Design Details
    I love pergolas. When they are done correctly they add elegance and a sense of place to a yard or patio. Unfortunately this one just doesn't do it. A proper pergola would be ledged to the side of the house and have scrolled extended rafter ends and columns of Classically correct proportions. It would also sit on a hardscaped area so there would be no ugly oversized footings. I would take it down and let the next owners do it right.
  • sarainitaly
    I would keep the pergola, especially if you are moving. Lots of people would really enjoy the shade - especially living in SD. I know many people who try to stay out of the sun. And families with small kids.

    Enlarging the patio and perhaps building planter boxes or leaving planting areas around the legs of the pergola would do wonders.

    They area also handy to hang heaters under in the winter, which in SD are usually nice enough to stay outside even in winter, with a little bit of heat... oh how I miss SD winters. Also good for keeping your BBQ under.
  • Janie Burton
    Fill the red brick planter with colorful plants - thickly planted. Plant vines all the way around each pergola footing and train then to grow up each post. Remove the hammock. Try to place all the kid's toys and outdoor play sets, etc. all in one area if the yard and enjoy!!
  • Janie Burton
    I would also stain the concrete on the walkway and patio an earthtone shade. Plain concrete is not attractive.
  • Dar Eckert
    I like the third photo sarainitaly! The bricks would make a nice transition to the yard and also to the wooden deck. Building up the stone/bricks around the posts would be a good solution to the ugly footings.
  • anne dee
    You might consider a canopy with hanging panels to hide the posts etc.
    ref/insp. pic
    Pool · More Info
  • acehelper
    I think there is nothing wrong with the pergola. Mine is different and I have spent more than what it necessary on my current home but your house has very clean lines and so does the pergola. I buy and sell property quite often and always turn quite a profit. I can tell you your pergola will add more to your resale value than no pergola. There is nothing wrong with it and there are many ways to dress it up...it is all about asthetisics. There are a lot of inexpensive ways to adress this.. It all has to do with your budget and what you like and most importantly...the rest of the neighborhood. You can literally spend $100,000.00 on your yard in some areas and it be worth every penny. In other areas, you will be lucky if it adds $10,000.00 to the value of your home.

    To begin with I love plants. Thats what pergolas are all about. If you strategically place some plantings it would hide the legs of the pergola and it will add value to your home. Your home will be listed as having landscaping. There are many options to extend out the paving such as...
    More concrete
    Checkerboard with Concrete blocks and grass, gravel, or crushed granite.

    It would not add any more value to the home to have what some might consider a better pergola with what they might consider a better patio. If it looks better it will sell better and faster but you can make it look better without removing a thing. It is all about adding a little and then staging it correctly.

    Personally if I was getting it ready to sell tomorrow (I like to think that way if I am not keeping a place long), I would add small beds around the posts with some fast growing vines and small bushier plants. Add a few scattered concrete block pavers mixed with some if the whitish gray crushed granite in a checkerboard of sorts...extending it out to a curved edging beyond the posts. Add a couple of hanging baskets and enjoy the beautiful view.
    Lisy thanked acehelper
  • libradesigneye
    Easy to build a stone base around the ugly concrete footings. Plantings too. I'm in sd - keep the pergola for resale.
  • rainymorning
    You are right about those footings. Hire someone who specializes in hardscapes to fix those without it becoming a major project. Keep the pergola. Stay within a budget. All will be well.
  • fissfiss
    We used to live in SoCal, and I definitely agree that you should keep the pergola for resale. You seem to have another raised area that is a different color concrete...I would think that for your own personal enjoyment, as well as for resale, extending your patio to meet the footings and staining all the concrete surfaces to match would be money well spent. At the moment it looks like a hodgepodge...a warm, green, sunny.....sorry, miss the weather!
  • Jolene
    What about planters/pots that are built to go around the posts? I have seen them and they fit around and your can put plants in them. If you wants a little shade you could put that shade material on the top. Provides shade and drainage from rain (although I know we haven't gotten much lately).
  • Jolene
    You could have brick or stone out around them also and extend the patio, just depends what the budget is.
  • nwduck
    Even though you may only be staying there a few more years, I would invest in this outdoor area,especially since you are in San Diego. I would do a decking that runs from the end of the house with the small pad, all the way to the end of the current covered area, in a width that would cover the pads of the pergola posts. This would make the whole outdoor area seem cohesive and attractive for resale, as opposed to just "fixing" the strange post arrangement that falls short of the concrete patio. I think you will certainly get your money back.
  • km kane
    first commenter gave the best ideas/options!
  • tiffany66
    There is nothing wrong with the pergola you have. You could enlarge the posts to just a few inches smaller than the size of the footing and paint the square column and the footing bright white. There are square column wraps that you can get. Painting the whole patio cover white white will match your windows better. Some people use gloss white.

    Use 2 foot square and 2 inch thick concrete pavers to enlarge the patio leaving grass or groundcover between.

    Use a resurfacing product on the concrete patio to renew it.

    Surround the entire extended patio area with a curving planting bed – not flat, something with rolling hills and some realistic faux boulders and a fountain feature and black mulch.

    If you do all white flowers in the flower bed, it makes a great showy night garden. With just a little lighting, the white flowers really pop at night.

    Some Cooloroo outdoor drapes to hang off a rod between each post.

    You have no color on or near the patio. Definitely need some great patio furniture with colorful cushions and maybe even an area rug. Tons of great sets on Craigslist.
    A corner sectional set with a rectangle dining table and use it as a banquet.

    Straighten the trellises in the brick planter and paint out the planter or resurface it. Remove the potted plant sitting in it.

    Wicker Park Contemporary · More Info

    Peterson Property · More Info

    Alderwood Landscape · More Info

    Hailey Residence · More Info

    Classical entryway · More Info
  • tiffany66
    Okay I have to know, what did you end up doing with the backyard?
  • olldroo
    LOL - frustrating isn't it Tiffany.
  • tiffany66
    If this goes anything like my outdoor projects, it could easily take months.
  • jacksonbeth
    Pergola's can really make a yard transform into an outdoor living area. We love ours. We actually had someone from Jims Building Maintenance do it ( http://www.jimsbuildingmaintenance.com.au) and it looks amazing. I have had a lot of compliments from my friends and family.

Need help with an existing Houzz order? Call 1-800-368-4268 (Mon-Sun).