What is a pergola?

Do you want to give your outdoor living space a little something extra? Are you searching for a safe place to put your potted plants? If you answered yes to either of these questions, a pergola will provide a fast, easy solution.

Pergolas are built of various materials, such as metal, vinyl, or wood. Though many people confuse them with other patio cover types, there are a few notable differences. While a patio cover is typically small and simple in structure, a pergola is large, flat, and open.

Pergola-like structures are widely available at membership clubs and home improvement stores, but if you’re looking for one that’s customized to meet your needs, it’s best to have it built by an experienced contractor. In this guide, you’ll learn about the benefits and beauty of pergolas.

Pergolas Add Definition

One of the biggest reasons to add a pergola is that it adds purpose and definition to the landscape. A pergola or patio cover creates a defined space that can be used for dining, lounging, entertainment, and other outdoor activities. This is especially true if the deck or patio isn’t connected to the home. When a pergola is added to the yard, it becomes easier to decide how the space will be used.

Allowing for More Privacy

Good fences make good neighbors, and sometimes it’s nice to relax outdoors and out of sight. If building a privacy fence is out of the question, a custom pergola with drapes, screens, or latticework may be a viable alternative.

When pergolas are strategically placed, they can be used to cover or block unsightly objects from view, such as:

  • Roadways
  • Rusty equipment
  • Sheds and outbuildings

In these situations, pergolas enhance the landscape’s natural beauty while blocking less-than-appealing views.

Creating Space for a Lush, Green Garden

Because a pergola creates a space for a trellis or open latticework, it provides a place for vegetation to hang. Pergolas are an excellent habitat for climbing plants. As they grow upward, they’ll intertwine with the structure and create natural walls and ceilings. Some of the most common climbing plants are:

  • Grapevines
  • Ivy
  • Pothos
  • Clematis
  • Honeysuckle
  • Wisteria

Because of a pergola’s open structure, these plants can survive and thrive.

Giving Shade and Protection

The most common pergola styles offer a shade-to-sunlight ratio of about 50/50. Here, the top slats are of a consistent width and spaced evenly, which creates outdoor comfort and improves the home’s aesthetic appeal.

If you decide to add climbing plants, you’ll enjoy more shade once they’ve made their way up to the top of the pergola. Though it may take an entire planting season to achieve complete coverage, you’ll enjoy more relief from the sun’s harmful rays once that occurs.

People are becoming increasingly aware of the harmful health effects of sun exposure, and that has driven a demand for pergolas equipped with canopies. With this type of patio cover, the canopy provides daytime sun protection and an easy view of the nighttime sky.

Increasing the Home’s Value

Along with the benefits mentioned above, a pergola will add value to the home. This advantage alone makes it a worthwhile investment. According to the home improvement experts, having a well-maintained, attractive landscape will increase a home’s resale value by 20% or more. When a pergola and the surrounding area are well cared for, it increases the home’s curb appeal and makes it more compelling to potential buyers.


If you’re considering some landscape upgrades but the budget is tight, a pergola may be the best option. These outdoor structures are affordable, but they make a significant difference in a landscape’s appearance.

Some options are costlier than others, but in most cases, these pricing variations are due to a pergola’s material composition. No matter your budget, you’ll find it difficult to choose a more beautiful, affordable, and durable addition than a new pergola.

Low Maintenance

If it’s professionally installed, a pergola will only need minor maintenance—much like a wooden fence. Though it’s not necessary, an occasional coat of sealer or stain will prolong a pergola’s life. Red cedar’s natural oils make it last longer than other woods, which makes it an excellent choice for pergola builders.

Working Well With Other Structures

Another big advantage of a pergola is that it can be used as an entryway to another structure such as a gazebo or veranda. Some homeowners use pergolas between their back doors and patios, increasing the home’s livable space. No matter which way you go, a pergola works best when it’s combined with other outdoor design elements.

A Pergola For Increased Energy Efficiency

Did you know that a pergola can keep your house cooler in the summer? A patio cover will shade the home and keep the sun’s rays from coming in the windows. When the home stays cooler, you’ll use less energy and spend less money on utilities. To make it even cooler, consider adding ceiling fans and other features.

Protecting Outdoor Furnishings

With the right furnishings, outdoor living becomes a pleasure. In many cases, outdoor spaces are just as carefully decorated and furnished as a home’s other rooms, which makes proper coverage especially important. Outdoor rugs and furniture take a real beating when they’re exposed to the elements and replacing these items can be costly. Protect your investment and keep your outdoor living area looking fresh by installing a new pergola.

In Closing

If you’re looking for an easy landscaping upgrade, a pergola is an easy, affordable option. These structures add beauty and visual interest to any outdoor space. For instance, those living in gated communities may find that a well-placed pergola is one of the few ways they can make their home stand out. With these benefits, as well as the increase in curb appeal and resale value, it’s easy to see why more of today’s homeowners are installing patio covers and pergolas. By installing a pergola, you’ll add more living space and make your home feel more comfortable all year long.