The warmer weather can never come soon enough in Calgary. The moment that the leaves start to come in gets everyone thinking about spending more time outside. The daytime heat quickly turns into warmer evenings which means it’s time to work out how to use your outdoor entertaining space after the sun has set.
Your pergola makes for a perfect setting for dining or just lounging long into the summer nights. However, you’ll want to think about how to keep the area lit in a way that creates the right atmosphere. The string lights (both battery powered and grid connected) are almost clichéd, even though they will give you a classic look. If your pergola sports this look, it may be time to look at some other lighting options for your dreamy pergola nights:
- Fire pit – installing a fire pit serves a dual purpose of providing light and heat to your pergola party. There are so many fire pit options for your pergola that you will be sure to be unique. For a more informal, campfire feel, choose a shallow dish shape pit that sits in the middle of your space, while a taller chimnea will feel like a fireplace and will lend a certain elegance to your gatherings.
- Paper lanterns – plain white lanterns are a classic pergola look, but you should move beyond the normal look by hanging them at different heights. This will cast different shadows and light intensities, and you can even change the length each day so your pergola feels like a new space every night. You can also add your own touch by buying different colored lanterns; this will allow you to create a color palate for your outdoor entertaining area.
- Suspended candles – there’s something incredibly romantic about the flickering light cast by a dozen candles, but even if you’re not setting the mood for love, suspended candles give a gentle, soft light to your pergola. If you get bugged by bugs, try putting citronella scented candles in the holders, while a floral scent provides relaxation for you and your guests. Be careful with the positioning and holders as the last thing you want is hot wax spoiling the look of your pergola.
- Built in fixtures – if you’re looking to really upgrade your pergola nights experience, consider installing recessed built in light fixtures into the very post and beams of your outdoor structure. This allows you multiple lighting levels, and many people choose to have lights at both the top and bottom of the pergola posts to create different levels. You will need to run wires out to your pergola to make this happen, which makes it a popular option for deck pergolas.
Whatever you choose for your lighting option for your pergola, you need to think about how you will suspend or install the features. Given the working height of most pergolas is around 2.5 meters, you only have a small amount of headroom to play with before people start knocking your light fixtures over. Try using the posts as well as the beams as supports to keep the lights shining on your party.