What Is A Pergola? How Does It Beautify Your Space?

Are you interested in outdoor aesthetics? If you have seen several outdoor structures but are not familiar with their terminologies then follow this article to know what is a pergola and why people prefer it in their outdoor spaces.

Do you ever look outside your house and find that your empty landscape or spacious backyard can be turned more beautiful with additional architectural structuring? Then you should consider a pergola as it can turn your space into a satisfying stylish space to accommodate hosts or friends. This way you can enjoy the time in your backyard and make it equally cozy and pleasant as it is inside the house.

Pergola contains vertical columns that provide support to the open lattice and provide shaded outdoor space. One can design it according to their preference as there is no fixed length of it so you can go for shorter or longer pergolas according to the size of the place. There are a variety of options available for pergola construction.

If you are not very familiar with the term pergola then you might be having a lot of questions and misunderstandings regarding it. It is often misunderstood with similar-looking structures and to have a clear idea of it one should know the types, benefits, and differentiation of it.

This article covers all the aspects of a Pergola including the reason for its preference, the materials used for its construction, and its maintenance so that you get a complete idea of what is a pergola.

What is a pergola?

Pergola is a kind of solid shelter that is structured in outdoor spaces. It can or can not support roofing on the top of it so it can provide coverage. This is created in outdoor spaces to either provide shelter to a spot or for beautification reasons. It can be attached to the building outside of which it is structured or stand on its freedom. The attached pergolas cost lower than the standalone pergolas because the columns required in the standalone are four while the attached pergola only takes two columns.

These are spacious enough to accommodate people or vehicles in it whether it involves their length or height. They have their top in a flat rectangular shape and with added architectural features they are displayed as masonry columns. Pergolas are traditionally rooted back to renaissance times and their architecture. Modern pergolas are structured to give an impression of an extension of your house’s interior.

More of the pergolas are being made bioclimatic which means during their construction environmental and climatic conditions are kept in mind so that they are suitable for environmental and climatic changes. In this way, optimal comfort can be achieved by the person who wants to create a pergola and make their building architecturally beautiful. The method of bioclimatic is not new and has been used in traditional constructions as well. Applying it on a pergola can refrain it from depending on many mechanical systems and protect the space from rain and uncomfortable weather conditions.

Pergola is an airy structure that is made of wood, aluminum, or vinyl and installed on concrete patios or pavers. This provides an outdoor space where people can put their furniture and make sitting arrangements under it. It serves as a great sitting area in the garden or backyard of your house where people often hang out to enjoy the weather.

All the pergolas add an elegant touch to the space they are constructed on be it your garden, backyard, or pool area. Pergolas are themselves considered a sign of beauty but the beauty of it can be further enhanced with several styling options. Several factors add to the beauty of a pergola. These factors include the material that one chooses in the construction of a pergola as there are several materials that pergolas can be made of such as vinyl, aluminum, fiberglass, and wood.

Further, the style of it also depends if the owner wants it to have a modern or a classical touch. After it has been constructed, you can further beautify it by hanging your favorite plants on it such as Bougainvillea, Honeysuckle, rambling roses, etc. Another way to decorate your pergola can be by adding drape lighting to it across the beams. If you are into classic styles then you can also add linen curtains around the pergola.

Do pergolas offer shade?

Pergolas add shade to the backyard of your building so that shelter can be provided from harsh and rough weather conditions. Pergolas are designed in a way that they provide shade but do not cover the space from the needed sunlight. Pergolas can be structured in various styles so you can choose the type and amount of shade you want to attain through it. If you want to cover the maximum area then a retractable canopy design can be constructed; otherwise with other designs, one can always add plants, bamboo, or fabric materials to block the rays of sun entering your space.

How is pergola different from other outdoor options?

Pergolas can be confused with similar-looking constructions but pergola in their design and construction differs from them.

Difference between arbor and pergola

Arbor in appearance looks very much like Pergola but there is a difference between the two structures. Arbor has curved arches at the top of it and the material used to construct it is usually vinyl. They are not attached to the house like pergolas can be sometimes. Arbor covers a small area while Pergola covers a larger area. Arbor is a separate free-standing structure but Pergola can be considered a continuation of the building.

Difference between gazebo and pergola

The gazebo is an outdoor wooden structure with its roof closed and covered from all sides. Pergola is opened from its surroundings though it does have a roof which is sometimes closed but other than that it is an open structure that only has pillars on which it stands.

Difference between carport and pergola

A Carport is specially made for the purpose of providing shelter to automobiles. It is preferred rather than a garage because of the fact that it is less expensive than a garage.

Difference between latticework and pergola

Another similar structure that can be confused easily with a pergola is lattice work but it is a portable framework that supports extended vines of sorts or climbing rose bushes. Latticework comes more often in crisscross patterns which is not the case with pergolas. However, the pergola uses lattice within its boundaries for the support of vines that are climbing up.

What is a pergola good for?

Pergola has been a part of architectural development for centuries. There are multiple reasons for it being a permanent part of the outdoor architecture.

Perfect sitting spot

A pergola is built for multiple reasons including coverage and aesthetics but it also makes a great sitting area. They are constructed in a way that sitting in them is preferred because it provides a sort of privacy as well as shade. If someone wants to add more privacy to their pergola they can decorate it with curtains and vines. This will make the space look beautiful and also enrich the quality of time you spend there.

Addition to outdoor aesthetics

The outdoor space of your house can be made appealing with the addition of a pergola. Its spacious and airy framework can make any open space seem more attractive. For this reason, a lot of outdoor restaurants have also designed their sitting arrangements with pergolas. People add vines and climbing roses to their pergolas and give them an aesthetic look. If you have a bigger garden then pergolas can also serve as a scented walk-away with climbing plants.

Valuable investment

A good landscape can increase the value of your home. Outdoor decorations have a very high demand and the pergola is designed beautifully, providing shade adds great market value to your house. Outdoor aesthetics are as important as indoor aesthetics so a pergola can be your preferable outdoor addition because of its comfort and shelter providing nature. It is better to give a space a look so that it can be utilized and give out a creative view to the people who see it.

Long-lasting nature

No matter what material you use in your pergola construction, it will last for a long time. Pergolas are usually made of wood or vinyl and with proper maintenance, they can have a long time of use. Both vinyl and wood need maintenance from time to time so you would need to see the sunlight exposure and repaint requirement of the material.

Less affordable

The price of a pergola is much less than the other outdoor construction choices. It costs you less than the gazebo and pavilions. There are even DIY pergolas available in the market that are cheap and easy to set. The cheapest DIY pergola will cost you only $600. Although a pergola in general is an affordable outdoor construction, the material used in making it also determines the price. An aluminum and Vinyl pergola starts from $1000, a cedar pergola starts from $2500 whereas a redwood pergola will cost you at least $4000.

Perfect outdoor venue

Pergola can be a perfect venue to host an event or barbeque party. You do not have to book overpriced halls or restaurants for the event as your own space can become the venue. If the space of the pergola is perfectly decorated it can become a perfect spot to have a fun time with your friends. It can also be considered your go-to place if you want to enjoy a cup of coffee with your friends and enjoy pleasant weather. The best thing about it is that one can arrange it the way he wants. Pergola can be your outdoor space but you can also cover it with screens and drapes if you want.

Types of pergolas based on styles

There are many designs available for pergolas some of the most opted styles are listed below:

Standalone pergola

Pergola that stands on its own consists of four posts and is usually mounted away from the building. This type of pergola is usually seen in the garden, beside the pool, or in larger spaces where there are no restrictions on the height and orientation of it. Standalone pergolas are not attached to any building so the design possibilities are infinite.

If you want to cover your freestanding pergola then canopies or shade cloths can be used to protect from rough weather and harmful sun rays. Some people also add decks to this type of pergolas which gives them a traditional look. This type of pergola can be used to host mini outdoor events for example barbeque, outdoor dining, pool parties, etc.

Attached Pergola

This type of pergola is fixed to the wall or roof of your house from one side of it. Attached pergolas are usually built to provide shade or shelter to the small space outside your gate. This pergola looks like an exterior part of your indoor home, unlike a standalone pergola which has separate features and design.

Attached pergolas can look like an outdoor extension of your room which can be styled with patio porches, canopies, and awnings to create a relaxing spot for your family and friends. Some people also construct these pergolas to provide shelter to the automobiles standing outside the home.

Louvered pergola

These are modern-style pergolas that have movable louvers as rafters which are also called louvered roofs. There are different varieties of louvered pergola designs available in the market which allows you to adjust the louvers according to your wish so you do not have to worry about the excessive downpouring of the rain.

Louvered pergolas can uplift your outdoor sitting time by providing a roof that is easier to manage and is always in your control. If someday you feel like blocking the sun rays, you can close the louvers or if you want to enjoy a cozy windy evening then you can open the louvers as much as you like.

Arched pergola

The roof of the pergola is not always flat, some pergolas have arch-shaped roofs. The arched roofs come in different styles to give your space an aesthetic look. It does not look usual and conventional so you get to add a modern. These pergolas are usually found in garden areas designed in a way that provides either walk away or an open sitting spot.

Awning pergola

These pergolas are mounted into the wall closely and do not require any support from columns. It is not structured like other pergolas as it is smaller in size and does not have any enhanced framework. People further add climbing vines or plants to these awning pergolas so that the shade and aesthetic get enhanced.

There are a variety of awning pergolas available in the market including portable awnings, retractable awnings, and fixed awnings. Awning pergolas are to be fixed outside the door or window to provide shade to that place.

Types of pergolas based on materials

There are many choices available in material to choose for the construction of a pergola. All these materials have their separate attributes and are chosen based on those attributes.

Vinyl pergolas

Compared to other materials, vinyl pergolas require much lower maintenance. You just need to power wash it after every two to three years to preserve the color and look. If you are searching for high-quality vinyl then it can be a little pricey. Considering its ease of maintenance and universal design, it is preferred by people for their space.

It can be made in a lot of styles and frames so you can go for vinyl material that will give your pergola a beautiful and long-lasting design. Vinyl pergolas are usually of white or beige color but if you want to get it in another color it can get painted but the paint will increase the maintenance and touching up costs.

Often coming in bright white or beige colors, they offer a more formal look in comparison to natural or painted wood. If you are set on a vinyl pergola for one reason or another but also want a more unique color, it is possible to paint the vinyl with an acrylic paint that is more to your liking.

Wood pergola:

Wood is one of the most used materials for pergolas. If you are choosing an original wood then Cedar or redwood is most likely to be chosen where redwood is more elegant and moves towards a royal aesthetic. Cedar can not be colored and only requires to be stained if you want to refresh its look.

The only drawback of wood is that it needs maintenance more often than any other material. As pergolas are outside the house so they will be exposed to sun and extreme weather conditions which can affect their paint and leave stains. It needs to be prevented from pests and rot to secure its design. While making wood pergolas extra pressure treatment is put in so that the wood becomes irresistible to rot and mold but even then they require maintenance more often as compared to vinyl and aluminum.

Aluminum pergola:

Aluminum is a stable material that leaves you with much more customization to your pergola. This material does not require any maintenance so it can last for a longer time without needing to retouch after extreme weather conditions.

This material also allows you to apply textured coating on the pergola so that your pergola can match the overall design of your home or the rest of the outdoor structure. These pergolas are powdered coated so they are easier to maintain because the paint once done lasts forever. Compared to vinyl, an aluminum pergola is a more convenient option as the color palette used on it is not restricted and does not require any repainting.

Fiberglass pergola:

Fiberglass can be a perfect pick if you are looking for a long-lasting weather-resistant option. It can be designed according to your choice as it can hold the paint for a long time without maintenance so you do not need to worry about it getting rusted or corroded. You can easily paint it according to the rest of the outdoor structure and make it look like a part of the house. However, fiberglass is a quality material but can also cost you much higher than the rest of the materials.

How to build a pergola?

Pergola is a permanent addition to your space so it should be kept in mind that whatever style or material you choose for your pergola is going to be there for a longer time. For this reason, you need to think more realistically as your investment should be in something that enhances the beauty and also facilitates you. The budget, look and maintenance should be kept in mind when finalizing any kind of pergola design.

If the preference is towards the pergola that can be easily cleaned with a quick wash then you should go for vinyl or aluminum which can be customized according to your preferred style. Wood can be your choice if you want to add a rustic and classic look to your pergola and you are okay with its maintenance.

You need to measure out the space you want to add a pergola in and then consider the design options. Keeping the space in mind will help you draw a clear image of the pergola you go through while choosing the design. You can either opt for properly constructed pergolas or DIY pergolas for your space. The rest of the decoration can take place after the pergola set is ready.


Pergola is a perfect way to add style to your garden so that you make use of your garden and maximize the time spent there. Pergolas can be made of multiple materials but the most frequently used materials include vinyl, aluminum, and wood. It can be designed according to the taste of the person who owns it as some people add plants to it while others add curtains or canopies to make it an outdoor room. Pergolas are often confused with arbors, carports, and gazebos but due to their distinct frame and design, it differs from all these structures. Pergola has been preferred by people for many years and with time innovations have been added to it to further enhance its function and beauty.