A pergola is a structure that could very well serve as the roof of a patio, but can also be free-standing. It is a type of gazebo, but it looks rather peculiar. It's open on all sides, and most pergolas also have semi-open or lattice-patterned roofs.

A beautiful pergola terrace  (also known as belle terrasse pergola in the French language) is essentially an open area. It is Italian in origin, and many pergolas can be seen throughout Italy, where such outdoor structures become meeting places for friends, families, and parties. 

When vines are trained on it, the vines can grow and climb along with the pergola nicely and provide the shade that the lattice-patterned roof cannot. A row of pergolas positioned one after the other with wisteria, grapevines, or other lush, woody vines trained upon them creates a peaceful covered walkway from one place to the next.

If you so chose, a pergola can be the centerpiece of your backyard. Since there are no walls and not much of a roof either, a pergola puts you both inside and outside at the same time. Not only is a pergola very low-maintenance, but the structure also creates a very relaxing environment that is conducive for backyard entertaining.