Some popular cedar pergola designs include the classic column pergola, the Asian style pergola and the modular pergola. The cedar wood design may also be altered by adding acrylic panels that provide more shade but still allow natural light to shine through.
The classic pergola style is square or rectangular in shape. It has open sides, a column at each corner and a slatted roof to provide dappled shade. Variations in the design include twin columns in each corner and, rarely, a circular shape. The roof design is typically flat, with a solid frame and thick slats running parallel in one direction. Smaller slats, running in the other direction, are often used to provide more shade.
Asian style pergolas are often found in Japanese gardens. The roof is peaked instead of flat, and in some styles the corners have the traditional flared ends pointing upward. The columns are usually simple cedar posts, creating a minimalistic look. Occasionally, Asian pergolas are built in hexagonal shapes, usually to accent a large area.
A modular pergola starts out as a simple square or rectangular structure, but it can be expanded by adding more columns and extending the roof line. The roof may be arched or flat. Some companies ship modular pergolas out in kits to avid DIY enthusiasts. The kits include all materials and instructions.