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What is a Pergola?

A pergola is another common term for an arbor. These are commonly found in outdoor gardens as a visual feature to highlight or cover something such as a bench, a patio set, or a hot tub. They can offer a shadowed walk way as a focal point as well.

The term is Latin, meaning “projected walk way”. They are commonly used to help support vines, which are popular in almost any traditional garden space and gives the garden an almost magical feel about it. Sometimes they are used like an extension of a building, to link it to an outdoor space or another building. Throughout history pergolas have been made of wood, stone, or even constructed from the careful formation of trees and shrubs.

Tuscany II Deluxe Reinforced Fiberglass PergolaPicture of a Tuscany Deluxe Reinforced Fiberglass Pergola

Pergola Kits

Many companies sell pergolas that are prefabricated for people to use in their yards. These pergola kits usually come with all the hardware necessary to put them together, requiring only a drill and an extra set of hands to put it together. Many of them have been specially designed to be lightweight so that a single person can put them together if necessary. Most will find that having a second person makes the task much easier, but it is nice to know that it is possible to put some of them together on your own. The ability to feel independent of others is an important thing to many people nowadays.


Build Your Own Pergola

It is also possible to build your own pergola. This requires substantially more work than putting together a prefabricated one. A concern to keep in mind if you decide to build your own is to make sure the structure is stable. An unstable pergola could easily cause injury to you or your family. The materials you use for the pergola should also be specially designed for use outdoors or you will find yourself having to make repairs or rebuild it altogether within a short time frame.


Pretty Sonoma Arched Wood PergolaPicture of a Sonoma Arched Wood Pergola

Is a Pergola Different from a Gazebo?

Nowadays, these two terms seem to be used interchangeably. Most people will tell you that yes, a gazebo and a pergola are in fact the same thing. However, technically speaking, they are not the same. A gazebo is meant to be more enclosed than a pergola. Gazebos typically have floors, solid roofing, and railing all the way round it, except for the entrance, which may be an open space or a gate depending on the design. Pergolas on the other hand have a more open design. They are often constructed over open ground and may have more open and airy designs on the sides. Usually they have lattice on two or possibly three sides, with the forth being completely open. The roof is also not usually solid, but instead allows sunlight between the slates, whether they are flat or arched.

Traditionally, pergolas were used to allow vines to grow over walkways or benches. In modern times they are often used over outdoor hot tubs, patio living room or dining sets, memorials, or small garden attractions. Sometimes they are just used as an empty outdoor room, giving people a specified place to congregate.


Pergolas offer a great way to improve the appeal of your home and garden, they are a great way to make a nice stone patio feel like an outdoor room and can be a great area to host an outdoor party or to grill dinner with the family. Make sure to do some research if you decide a pergola is right for you as you want to make sure you get one that is durable enough for the climate in your area.

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