Building your own pergola allows you to customize the style, size, and material choices. Adding one of these structures to your yard provides filtered shade that can help protect against the sun while giving your property a unique and stylish focal point. A pergola is typically a freestanding structure that covers a pathway, defines a walking space, or enhances a patio or outdoor entertaining space. Learn more about the benefits, styles, and types of pergolas and how we can use these outdoor structures to beautify our yards.

Benefits of Building a Pergola

Pergolas offer homeowners numerous benefits, starting with their appealing sculptural and architectural design. Adding a pergola to your property can give the area a point of visual interest that helps to define spaces. Pergolas are not only beautiful on their own, but they can also be enhanced with live plants. Ivy, vines, and climbing flowers can be planted at the base of the pergola and allowed to weave up and around the beams. One of the biggest benefits of pergolas is their cost. Pergolas are fairly inexpensive to build but can have a major impact on your yard.

Styles of Pergolas

arched pergola

Arched pergolas provide both beauty and function. ATTRIBUTION: Photo by inkflo (Pixabay)


This open-top pergola provides filtered sunlight. ATTRIBUTION: Photo by Julo (Wikimedia Commons)

Arched Pergola: An arched pergola has a classic look with soft graceful lines that draw the eyes to the structure. Arched pergolas can take on one of two distinct looks. Concave arches offer an Eastern feel, while convex arches offer a Western feel.

Open-Top Pergola: Also referred to as flat-top pergolas, open-top structures are considered one of the most basic and traditional styles of pergolas. They offer the area a unique Mediterranean feel and feature an open-roof structure designed to support trellises and vines.

Gabled Pergola: In a gabled pergola, the beams of the structure come together to form a triangular roof shape consisting of two sloping roof halves.

gabled pergola

A gabled pergola features a distinct triangular-shaped roof. ATTRIBUTION: Photo by deborahdanielsmail (Pixabay)

promenade pergola

Promenade pergolas are often used to enhance walkways. ATTRIUBTION: Photo by Manuel de Sousa (Wikimedia Commons)

The gabled roof is able to not only support climbing plants but can also be used to suspend a shade cloth or screening material.

Promenade Pergola: Promenade pergolas are often used to highlight walkways and pathways. When climbing plants, such as roses, wisteria, or trumpet vines, are incorporated, the outcome is a whimsical passageway.

Pitched Pergola: A pitched pergola has a roof that is attached to a house, standing structure, or tall wall. The roof of the pergola typically slopes down, providing an extended living space under the pergola for families and entertaining.

Options for Building Materials

pitched pergola

A pitched pergola has a roof that is attached to a house, wall, or structure. ATTRIBUTION: Photo by Geoffrey Franklin (Flickr)

Selecting the proper materials for your outdoor pergola will depend on the style and size of the structure you’re building. Wood is the most commonly used material for pergolas, as it provides strength, beauty, and versatility. Common types of wood used for building pergolas include cedar, mahogany, teak, and redwood. Other options for building materials include vinyl, aluminum, fiberglass, brick, stone, and PVC. While options like wood and brick or stone offer a more natural or rustic look, vinyl, aluminum, fiberglass, and PVC can provide a more modern appearance.