Confused about what a pergola is? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. People have the tendency to interchange a pergola with other backyard structures or embellishments.

A pergola is described as a structure that has posts, rafters and or additional features such as battens or plant training wire. It may be a stand-alone or attached as an extension to your home. Pergolas may look unfinished to the untrained eye, but for those who have come to fall in love with the pergola and what it has to offer to your home, it is anything but.

What is the Purpose of a Pergola?

It really depends on the homeowner, which goes to show how versatile a pergola can be!

A pergola may be built as an attachment to your home so that when you step outside, there’s a special place dedicated to giving you sunlight and seclusion, both things that we are sure you value.

It is also an option to have a pergola somewhere in your garden, away from your home. This structure can breathe new life into your yard and will be a definitive area in an otherwise plain space.

The Difference Between a Pergola and an Arbor

By now you might have come across structures like arbours, decks, and gazebos, all of which have their own purpose and are different from a pergola. Out of the other structures mentioned, it’s the arbour that is mostly confused with a pergola.

An arbour and a pergola are both popular home improvement options that look strikingly similar. However, their subtleties are what sets them apart. For example:

An arbour is:

  • Usually a freestanding structure, sometimes attached to a fence
  • Much smaller in comparison to a pergola
  • Simpler in design and lacks architectural flair
  • Made of vinyl nowadays, as opposed to traditional materials
  • Curved on top


A pergola is:

  • Much larger than an arbour
  • Usually flat on top
  • Given a more specialized treatment when it comes to its design
  • Attached to a house

A modern-day pergola is loosely based on a medieval structure called a pergula, which was essentially an extended roof popular in Italy. The term was first coined by John Evelyn in 1640 when describing the cloister in Trinita dei Monti in Rome.

Pergolas are an extended living space, one that is still considered to be a part of the home, and this is what makes it vastly different from an arbour.

Different Types of Pergolas

Pergolas come in a range of different styles, but here are the most commonly built ones:

Open pergola: no roof for this one. It is open on top and may be an ideal space to highlight some special lighting features in your backyard.

Gable pergola: what makes this pergola stand out is its triangular-shaped roof.

Sail pergola: just like a boat’s sails, there are fabrics that stretch from beam to beam

Flat pergola: while the name may suggest that its roof is flat, it isn’t. It is still installed at an angle that will allow rainfall to trickle down easily to avoid drainage issues.

How Much Does a Pergola Cost?

A pergola does not come with a packaged price. There are several factors that affect how much it would cost to have a pergola built.

  • Size: its final size would affect the price. Larger pergolas would be more expensive compared to smaller ones.
  • Materials: another deciding factor is what kind of material you would want the pergola to be made out of. Common choices are steel and timber. Both have their pros and cons, but ultimately it all boils down to what you want for your home.
  • Additional features: a custom pergola would also increase its price. You may want Roman columns, fibreglass roofing, or even bamboo blinds installed. Such requests can be easily accommodated at an added cost.
  • Site: where the pergola will be constructed might also play a role in how much it will eventually cost.
  • Additional construction work: If an existing structure needs to be removed or renovated to accommodate a new pergola, this will incur additional costs.

These are just some of the common factors that we take into consideration whenever a client inquires’ about having a pergola built. Each pergola will always be differently priced according to the specifications of the client.

Contact Affordable Pergolas

For pergolas that meet your heart’s desires, contact us for more information about how we can help you create a special area that complements your home perfectly.