The Pleasures Pavilions and Pergolas Provide
By Nikki Alvin-Smith
Pavilions were traditionally places for pleasure and relaxation and their place in architectural history takes many forms. The word pavilion is from the French ‘pavillon’ and from the Latin ‘papilio.’ While today we think of a pavilion as a small garden outbuilding or summer house, their classical history reveals them as temples, follies and palaces and their design can be free-standing, or attached by walkways or pergolas, to other parts of the house or palace.
Pavilions are often noted in traditional architecture of Asia but their popularity spread across the world and include grand designs such as the Royal Pavilion at Brighton in England, the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul. In the 18th Century they garnered much favor in Britain and were added as small rooms on the roof of mansions that were accessible only from the roof of the house.
Very often pavilions were used for outdoor dining experiences and banquets. Today of course we think more barbecue than tea party, but their use as a place of relaxation and pleasure is the same. Pavilions make a great gathering spot for friends and family, and also are perfect for hosting more formal events in style such as weddings and family affairs and business gatherings.
Pavilions have a traditional role for use in sports as both changing rooms and areas for competitors and spectators to enjoy a reprieve from the hot rays of the sun. The most famous is probably the Lords cricket pavilion in the U.K. Often seen at polo matches and elite horse events, their role in the sport industry is as valid today as at any time in history. The bandstand in your village center is a form of pavilion, and pavilions are very popular poolside at both high-end hotels and residential houses. Commercial uses of the pavilion also include firehouses and community centers, retirement centers and all manner of neighborhood gathering spots. Whatever the event, it is always made more enjoyable with the addition of an outdoor living structure.
While you may not own a country property the size of Houghton Hall in England or the Place des Vosges of Paris, there is good reason to purchase a pavilion to provide additional space for outdoor living. The roof of the pavilion provides shelter from rain and shade from sun. The roof designs and styles and sizes vary tremendously, but more on that later.
Should you choose a pavilion or a pergola for your garden? What is the difference exactly?
The pergola, from the Latin word ‘pergula’ refers to a projecting eave. The pergola offers a shaded walkway or sitting area, and is commonly used as a structure to train woody vines and plants as their vertical posts with strong cross-beams provide the perfect spot for these types of plants to grow. Pergolas can be freestanding or can be attached to pavilions or main structures and offer an extension of the house forming a comfortable area on the terrace under which you are sheltered to some degree from the sun and can enjoy the fresh breeze at the same time.
The word pergola is often interchanged with the English arbor. Arbors are similar except they usually come with a fixed bench seat, and usually include a lattice surround. The pergola can be seen in many historical garden designs in the late 19th and 20th centuries and some were built with brick and stone pillars by prominent landscapers of the day such as Sir Edwin Lutyens and Thomas Mawson. Before that the pergola fell from favor in the design world of the day as they were seen as artificial structures that spoilt the naturalistic garden style of the 18th/19th centuries. Before you ‘add an arbor’ it is wise to think carefully about what materials you would like to incorporate and what its primary planned use will incorporate.
Today the modern pergola is not made often of brick and stone. The affordability of wood, vinyl, fiberglass, aluminium and CPVC (chlorinated polyvinyl chloride) make these structures easy to maintain and easily transportable. Wooden pergolas are usually made from red cedar or other weather resistant woods that may be painted, stained and sealed to preserve their longevity.
As pavilions and pergolas have traditionally been used with great success together, you may want to think about a grander design than a standalone structure. A pavilion to bookend each side of your home? A pergola from the sliding terrace doors that leads to the pavilion perhaps? The designs are as endless as your imagination and budget.
If you like the idea of a pergola but are concerned about an errant pop up shower spoiling your event, check out the option of adding EZ Shade Canopy or ES Shade Curtains. These items can give you much flexibility in the use of your pergola, instantly adding protection from a summer shower or shelter from the glare of a setting sun.
While building the pavilion or pergola yourself is an option, if you’d like it professionally crafted and quickly delivered try a leading producer of outdoor buildings that can offer custom sizes and designs and a full complement of building materials and colors and a large enough company that will also offer on site construction if you want a larger project completed in style.
The Amish are well known for their hard work ethic and superior craftsmanship and working with a company such as Stoltzfus Structures, based in Atglen, PA, will provide you with all the resources you need to complete your outdoor living project including help with site preparation questions, site planning, financing if you need it to get started now, and a keen delivery timeline. Summer is here after all!
As with any building endeavor, experience counts. With over 43 years in the business and a laundry list of happy and satisified customers, Stoltzfus Structures is known as the ‘go to’ company and it may surprise you to know that despite its success this company is still very much a family run enterprise.
Stoltzfus Structures produces buildings for residential and commercial use, and no project is to big or too small, so don’t be shy to ask for a ‘to the penny’ quote and enjoy shopping their wide variety of perfect pergolas and pretty pavilions.
The added value an outdoor living structure will bring to your world, whether it be a fun family event or a fundraiser for the firehouse, is not to be overlooked.
Give the friendly Stoltzfus team a call at (610) 593-7700 or if you’re in the Atglen, PA area, stop in M-F: 7:00 a.m-4:30 p.m, Sat: 9:00 a.m-1:00 p.m and take a look in person at all the super pergolas and pavilion styles available.