What is the Point of a Pergola?

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This is a bit of a weird one. But we know you’re curious about this topic.

…”​​​​What is the point of a pergola?”

You may recognize that they look nice, but you might also wonder, “what’s the point?” Pergolas have no sides and sometimes have no tops – offering little to no wind or UV protection.

That’s not always the case.

what is the point of a pergola

One of our best performing posts is the best retractable roof pergolas (one of the best options for UV and rain protection).

Anyway, let’s deep dive into the world of pergolas.

What Factors Make a Pergola A Good Buy?

If you hadn’t previously thought about constructing a pergola, you may find them a bit strange. They sort of have a roof, but they sort of don’t. They don’t always have walls, but they can. They come in various shapes and sizes, but they all have a distinct look. They seem nice enough, but seriously, what is the point of a pergola, and what can they do for you? Let’s explore now.

Pergola Resources To Consider

Here is a curated list of posts to help you learn more and purchase the most appropriate outdoor structure for your garden.

This is a mixture of our own posts and some recommended reading from relevant external sites.

Lets get stuck in.

Definition of a Pergola

A pergola is an outdoor structure made up of vertical pillars, crossbeams, and an open roof. It is typically used to create a shaded outdoor area for relaxation, dining, or entertainment. Pergolas come in different shapes and sizes, and can be made from a variety of materials.

The Purpose of a Pergola

The purpose of a pergola is to enhance the outdoor experience by providing a functional and visually appealing structure. It can be used to create a comfortable outdoor space that can be enjoyed by family and friends. Additionally, pergolas can add value to your property by making your outdoor area more attractive and functional.

Benefits of a Pergola

Shade and Privacy

One of the main benefits of a pergola is the shade it provides. The open roof design of a pergola allows for a gentle breeze to flow through while still providing protection from the sun’s harmful rays. This makes it an ideal spot to relax and unwind on a hot summer day. Additionally, the vertical pillars and crossbeams can be used to create a sense of privacy and seclusion, making your outdoor space feel like a private oasis.

Aesthetic Appeal

Pergolas are a visually appealing addition to any outdoor space. They add a touch of elegance and sophistication, making your outdoor area look more polished and put together. Additionally, the open roof design allows for the natural beauty of the surrounding landscape to shine through, creating a seamless connection between indoor and outdoor spaces.

Entertaining Space

A pergola can serve as an excellent entertaining space for friends and family. It provides a shaded area for dining, relaxing, and socializing, making it an ideal spot for outdoor gatherings. Additionally, the open design of a pergola allows for easy flow of foot traffic, making it a comfortable and functional space for hosting guests.

Plant Growth

Another benefit of a pergola is the ability to support plant growth. The open roof design of a pergola allows for vines and climbing plants to grow and intertwine with the structure, creating a natural and beautiful addition to your outdoor space. This can also provide additional shade and privacy, making your outdoor space even more enjoyable.

Types of Pergolas

Pergolas come in various styles, shapes, and sizes. Some common types of pergolas include:

  • Attached Pergola: This type of pergola is attached to the side of a building or home.
  • Freestanding Pergola: This type of pergola stands on its own and can be placed anywhere in your outdoor space.
  • Cantilevered Pergola: This type of pergola is attached to a single post and extends outward.
  • Arched Pergola: This type of pergola features an arched roof, creating a unique and visually appealing design.

Materials Used for Pergolas

Pergolas can be made from a variety of materials, including:

  • Wood: This is the most common material used for pergolas, and can be stained or painted to match your outdoor space.
  • Metal: Metal pergolas are durable and long-lasting, and can be made from materials like aluminum or steel.
  • Vinyl: Vinyl pergolas are low-maintenance and resistant to moisture and insects.
  • Fiberglass: Fiberglass pergolas are lightweight and easy to install, and can be painted or stained to match your outdoor space.

Pergola Installation Process

Installing a pergola requires some basic carpentry skills, but can be done by DIY enthusiasts. The installation process involves setting the vertical posts in concrete, attaching the crossbeams, and adding the roof. It is important to ensure that the pergola is level and secure before use.

Pergola Maintenance

Maintaining a pergola is relatively easy, but requires some regular upkeep to keep it looking its best. Wood pergolas may require staining or sealing every few years to prevent weathering, while metal and vinyl pergolas can simply be washed with soap and water to remove dirt and debris.

How to Choose the Right Pergola

When choosing a pergola, consider the size of your outdoor space, the amount of shade you need, and the aesthetic appeal you are going for. You should also consider the material of the pergola and its durability, as well as any additional features or accessories you may want to add.

Pergola Accessories

There are a variety of accessories you can add to your pergola to enhance its functionality and aesthetic appeal. Some popular accessories include:

  • Curtains or Screens: These can be added for additional privacy or to keep insects out.
  • Lighting: Outdoor lighting can be added to create a warm and inviting ambiance.
  • Fans: Ceiling fans or portable fans can be added to keep the area cool on hot summer days.
  • Furniture: Adding comfortable outdoor furniture can make your pergola the perfect spot for relaxing or entertaining.

Popular Pergola Design Ideas

There are many different design ideas for pergolas, from rustic to modern. Some popular design ideas include:

  • Minimalist: A simple, clean design with clean lines and neutral colours.
  • Traditional: A more classic design with ornate detailing and natural materials.
  • Rustic: A design that incorporates natural materials like wood and stone, with a more natural, earthy feel.
  • Modern: A design that features clean lines, bold colours, and minimalist detailing.

The Cost of Building a Pergola

The cost of building a pergola can vary depending on the size, material, and additional features you choose. On average, a basic wood pergola can cost around £1,500 to £3,000, while a larger, more elaborate pergola can cost upwards of £5,000.

Pergolas vs. Other Outdoor Structures

Pergolas are often compared to other outdoor structures like gazebos and pavilions. While all of these structures provide shade and shelter, pergolas are unique in their open roof design and ability to support plant growth. Additionally, pergolas are generally less expensive and easier to install than other outdoor structures.


In conclusion, a pergola is a valuable addition to any outdoor space. It provides shade and privacy, enhances the aesthetic appeal of your outdoor area, and can be used as a functional and comfortable entertaining space. With a variety of design options and materials to choose from, a pergola can be customized to fit your unique style and needs.


Do I need a permit to build a pergola?

The need for a permit can vary depending on your location and the size of your pergola. It is always best to check with your local government or building authority before starting any construction.

Can a pergola be used in all weather conditions?

While pergolas can provide shade and shelter from the sun, they are not designed to protect against heavy rain or strong winds. It is important to take weather conditions into consideration when using your pergola.

Can I add a roof to my pergola?

Yes, a roof can be added to a pergola to provide additional shelter from the elements. However, this may require additional support beams and should be done by a professional to ensure safety and stability.

What is the lifespan of a pergola?

The lifespan of a pergola can vary depending on the material and quality of construction. A well-maintained wood pergola can last up to 20 years, while metal and vinyl pergolas can last even longer.

Can I install a pergola myself?

While installing a pergola can be done by DIY enthusiasts with some basic carpentry skills, it is always recommended to hire a professional to ensure proper installation and safety.

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