The pergola definition summons an outdoor frame structure into the picture; the structure is realized commonly out of wood and more recently powder-coated metal and in its usual setup includes posts with a roof or arch, ensemble designed to support vines. Pergola designs highly variate from setup to setup, the roofing grid can be both covered and opened as to protect one from the elements by creating an outdoor opened shelter, one refuge nestled in greenery. Freestanding or attached to a home, the pergola is built to provide shade and privacy, in certain cases the establishment functioning as a border and transitional item towards and into the garden, their roll is to block views and work as a intermediate rest point in the daily route. Pergolas are built mainly to support vines, inviting beautiful greenery ensembles into the vertical plane without disturbing circulation routes, the framework of  the pergola can be tailored perfectly regardless of setup, creating an inviting cozy ambiance filled with naturalness regardless of setup.

Pergola Pronunciation – per´go`la

Origin of The Word Pergola -Dates back to 1645-55; from the Latin pergula used for roof or arbor

Mediterranean scenery with pergola design anchored on a brick home

The common pergola is commonly confused with the following terms reason for which we are going to compare and contrast their similarities and their differences to avoid misunderstandings, some of these terms are also associated from time to time. The terms are as follows:

  1. Arbors
  2. Gazebos
  3. Trellises
  4. Lattice (or “latticework”)
  5. Carports

transparent balcony with emphasized by a pergola filled with white roses

Arbors and Pergolas

An arbor, very much like a pergola, is a landscaping simple structure that lacks the architectural design flourishes, like masonry columns. Garden arbors are structures smaller than pergolas that often present curved arches at the top and today are far more often realized out of vinyl rather than more traditional materials. They`re in most cases freestanding, in isolated cases they`re attached to a house or to a fence, case in which they might host a gate in their ensemble.

By contrast the ensemble entitled pergola is a large structure on height, width and length alike. Pergolas are customized far more than arbors and they often receive masonry columns and other flourishes, very often, their top is usually flat. The traditional pergola goes way back to the grand masonry pergolas of the Italian Renaissance; today the term “pergola” is far wider and it includes “new” materials like wood and iron.

The common pergola is used as an outdoor extension for the living space and it essentially constructs a new living area outdoors, protected, shaded, nestled between green, natural elements.

If you were to ask a construction expert “What is a pergola?” one would distinguish a pergola from a garden arbor simply by pointing out that that would shape a “colonnade” while the other does not.

“The primary difference in an ‘arbor’ and a ‘pergola’ is that an arbor is a free-standing structure (also used to support vines), whereas a pergola is a long linear structure over a garden pathway.” Landscape Architect, Cynthia Cash Relates.

How Do Pergolas Compare to Gazebos and Carports

A beautiful, useful and common outdoor wooden structure is entitled a gazebo. Unlike most pergolas, gazebos have a closed roof. Most gazebos built, not all, are distinguished from common pergola thanks to the raised floor and round shape.

The carport is a structure that resembles the pergola in shape and form but it`s defined by its function and purpose. A carport shelters an automobile at home when the most expensive option, the garage, cannot be constructed. A basic carport roof is usually supported by posts. Pergolas are used for leisure and comfort unlike the carport that is used for functionality, a beautifully realized carports can look very much like a common pergola, both being constructed out of wood in most scenarios.

dense vegetation around a wooden pergola covering an outdoor living space

purple flowers on a wooden pergola outdoor space

Pergolas and Vines

Outdoor garden structures have all been traditionally built to support vines like the Dutchman`s pipe, Virginia Creeper, Hardy Kiwi, Climbing hydrangea, Wisteria, Bougainvillea and many others. Structures like pergolas, arbors, latticework and trellises often populate modern gardens, beautifully welcoming greenery through their existence. The trellis is a portable framework built mainly for vines and climbing rose bushes, these come made in metal, vinyl or wood; they`re often confused with the word lattice thanks to the aspect of the latter which usually uses a checkerboard pattern or a crisscross pattern. The latticework is basically planted on the sides of pergola or arbor the patterns becoming anchors for vines, helping them climb up.

It is a common practice for a Gardner to guide the vines into a canopy like installation over a pergola, constructing shade and comfort during summer through this practice.

shabby chic pergola design in an airy scenery

A pergola defined would be an arbor-like garden structure that shapes a shaded sitting area, passageway or walkway that consists of vertical pillars or posts that support cross beams along an open lattice on which vines are trained to grow by being anchored onto it. The pergola ensemble sculpts space through its presence being able to redefine an outdoor living space thanks to the shaded provided and the immense beauty of the flowers and vines popped into the design scheme. A pergola can be crafted to cover a car alley, case in which it becomes a carport; its common usage is protection and comfort, inviting the inhabitants to get out in the backyard where they can sit and relax, entertaining their guests in immense amounts of comfort.

In the following rows you will find ten good informative tips for anyone interested by a pergola. Cast a glance.

  • Latticework and Pergola

Wood-posts, beams and latticework are common components in common pergola designs. Latticework is usually installed on the sites and its many purpose are to encourage the growth of vines, in time this plants adding privacy and comfort through shade. Redwood is recommended for minimal maintenance on a pergola, redwood is also known for its longevity.

a white pergola define by a stark look and air like transparency

  • Columned Pergolas

Columned pergola can really change the picture. You can use four or six Corinthian or Roman styled columns that are made out of PVC more often than concrete today. Needless to say that a concrete or stone column will always dominate lesser materials like Vinyl or Polyvinyl Chloride. To create a beautiful lightweight contrast use wooden beams to create a pergola`s top and use trellises on the sides for a really stunning look. Traditional country living often showcases this beautiful ensembles, Tuscan home designs features this often as well. The great presence of the column simple changes the landscape beautifully and dramatically, especially when your vegetation reaches maturity, wrapping the hole structure into something memorable.

stone columned pergola design with wooden roof top and outdoor fireplace

  • Arched Pergola

They are quite present the arched pergolas. The arch roof of a pergola creates a more sensible, delicate space with a fill of airiness; you can use redwood, steel and iron to shape the desired arch as well as you can purchase prefabricated arches designed for great resilience in harsh weather, these are usually made out of steel and iron rather than wood. Arched pergolas are often features on garden passages or entry pergolas, beautifully adding a little dinamicity with its curb shape, inviting you to continue your path rather than staying put, the effect of a roof top terrace that is meant to stop you, it invites you to relax.

Simple large outdoor arched pergola emphasized by a outdoor fireplace

  • Japanese Pergola Designs

If you already follow the Asian guidelines for your majestically garden it would be only natural to continue this act with your pergola.  You ought to be using a shape that should be simple, it can become a focal point through the vegetation emphasized or its sculptural shape. A good example is showcased below but keep in mind that it`s all about proportions and scale.

asian-japanese pergola design sculpting space

  • Modern Pergola Solutions

Today new solutions for pergolas include recycled plastics and vinyl, elements that bring forward no maintenance, no need to paint or worry about rot and decay. These alternatives do come with a lower price, emphasizing their scenery with ease thanks to the vines anchored on them.


  • Metal Pergola Designs

Know for their longevity, metal pergolas are gaining ground as well; thanks to their great attributes they can be far thinner, more elegant, fancier. Usual metals are not recommended as they require maintenance too where cast iron does not; cast iron can take any shape desired.  Copper metal is also appreciated thanks to its patina of blue-greens and copper brown earned in time.  Metals wear curved and angular designs with ease .

superb iron pergola design in france

  • Living Pergola

A pergola can be constructed with other living materials, bamboo is a fast growing plant flexible enough to support a vine, able to shape it any form necessary, beautifully keeping only natural elements into the ensemble. Flexible trees or shrubs can be used as well; you would need to tie and train the branches of each vine carefully to tailor them as pillars in the end meeting up on the desired height to form the natural roof.

  • Envision the Perfect Pergola

A perfect pergola can only be designed by you; you know how your dream backyard landscape should look and no picture online can change that, it might inspire you but the overall image cannot be changed entirely. A pergola can be heavy or light, minimal or decorative, simple, rustic, large or petite. Any environment has different requirements, you many need to change the scenery by adding transparency or by emphasizing a focal point. Regardless of choice and setup, your garden will be enhanced with a pergola, the vines will sculpt space beautifully.

  • Privacy Screens and Pergolas

Pergolas are often built for privacy, meant to divide visual areas and interrupt unwanted views in a beautiful way. The living sitting area subdues the privacy role in the end, transforming space and create a great opportunity to entertain outdoors. Pergolas are also used to emphasize a meditation areas, fire features outdoors and swimming pools, tailoring outdoor suites of great beauty .

The Garden Issue Hints

-If you build the pergola at home get at least two people to help. Three individuals working with proper planning can raise a pergola in a day or two max.

-Safety comes first, take all possible measures and always follow the instructions for materials and power tools precisely, purchase safety equipment and wear proper working clothing.

-You can purchase pergola kits that will do your job easier.

modern pergola design made out of iron

iron pergola with retractable roof system

simple bare corner pergola ensemble

extraordinary outdoor living space emphasized by a pergola

columned pergolas doubled with lattices and trellises and wooden roof

beautiful garden path leading to a circular columned pergola

plane simple columned pergola ensemble

heavy wooden logs used to extend the living space outdoors

Splendid columned outdoor pergola design

wooden outdoor dinning area covered by a pergola

stone and wood pergola design idea

glycine wrapping a simple pergola, changing its appeareance

stark white pergola defining an outdoor space

splendid oriental inspired pergola-like cover for a roof terrace

arched pergola ensemble with cooking area and outdoor fireplace

wooden pergola with rectangular shape hugging an outdoor fireplace

outdoor metal pergola

small stark white pergola living space

terraced garden ensemble with multiple living spaces

outdoor living space emphasized by a wooden pergola

simple pergola design carrying outdoor swing set

living pergola design covering a small living space

white pergola design kit realized from vinyl

outdoor terrace by the swimming pool

What is a Pergola Pergola Defined -Design Ideas- Q&A garden issue (34)

splendid outdoor hammock living area covered pergola

pergola design with orange curtains

outdoor bar with spatiality defined by a pergola

simple mixt corner pergola covered space

beautiful wooden pergola desiign with white curtains

triangle pergola design with vertical green walls in the garden

You can find a Detailed Tutorial on How to Build a Pergola For Your Backyard here if you need more information for this marvelous garden ensemble.

What do you think about pergolas? In general? How would you define a pergola? A simple short explanation always subdues the experts opinion, synthesizing beautifully a definition. Leave your valuable feedback in the comment section below.


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