What is a Pergola?

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While gazebos and arbors are both very popular outdoor structures for homes and parks alike, pergolas are also quite a popular choice. A pergola differs from a gazebo and an arbor in that it is typically larger, may feature actual columns in place of simple posts, and often has a roof, but open sides. Additionally, a typical pergola differs in that it is not always constructed for use as a place for people to sit; instead, it may be designed for the sole purpose of supporting growing vines, as well as providing shade for sensitive plants that may be grown underneath it. As the vines grow up and over the structure, additional shade is provided below.



Just as gazebos are often quite distinguishable due to their octagonal shape, and arbors are often square-shaped, most pergolas are rectangular in length, and often cover the length of a long garden or walkway.

Pergolas are typically constructed out of plain wood, though the wood may be stained to a desired finish. Since most pergolas are outdoors and are thus exposed to the elements, they may be treated with special stains that protect the wood from water damage, as well as potential damage wrought by extreme temperatures. The roof of a pergola is typically made out of wooden beams that are crossed over each other, while the pergola's sides that are exposed between the supporting vertical columns may have latticed framework attached. Sometimes this same type of framework is used for the roof of the pergola.


Pergolas are ideal for any type of plant that grows vines. These include wisteria, roses, jasmine, clematis, and even grapes and tomatoes. But pergolas are also ideal for people who enjoy sitting outside to enjoy the sunshine, but at the same time would like an occasional reprieve in the shade. The open design of pergolas allow for plenty of cool breezes to pass through underneath, while the roof provides shade that can be especially enjoyable during the summertime months.



If you're considering ideas for improving your backyard landscape, consider hiring a company that specialises in building custom softwoods pergolas. Professional landscapers will work with you to determine the best size and placement of a pergola in your yard, and together you'll decide on shapes, types of wood, and any other finishing touches you'd like to add, such as built-in wooden benches or tables.