modern urban patio with white bio climatic pergola

If you’re thinking about garden design or ways to transform your outdoor area, you’ll likely have come across the term ‘pergola’.  But what is a pergola? As expert builders of structures like porches and pergolas, we know a thing or two about them.

We’ve compiled this guide to explain exactly what a pergola is, a pergola’s benefits, how much pergolas cost to build, and how they can enhance your outside space. You may be surprised at just how much there is to learn about them.

What Is a Pergola?

A pergola is a structure that stands in a garden or outside space and which consists of vertical posts that support a roofing grid of cross-beams. The slats of the roof are usually left open but other coverage options are available. 

A pergola can be free-standing or attached. A free-standing pergola is built into the ground and supported by itself, whereas an attached pergola is built attached to the side of a property. 

3D render pf luxury villa with wooden outdoor patio and white motorized bio climatic pergola. Barbecue area and sofa set surrounded by tropical garden.

What is the Point of a Pergola?

Put simply, a pergola is designed to provide protection from the elements as well as be a beautiful design piece. They provide respite from the sun without blocking it completely, offering a shady area that is still filled with light. 

Pergolas also offer a beautiful outdoor structure to grow climbing flowers on, greatly enhancing the overall landscape design of your garden. It’s an appealingly different way to cultivate more foliage into your outdoor living space

What Are the Main Benefits of Pergolas and How Are They Used?

Along with the above, a pergola creates an extra living area outdoors that allows you to spend more time in your garden. They are easy to install and look great, too. Adding a pergola to your garden is truly a wonderful enhancement. There are many uses for pergolas that you may have never thought of:

Outdoor Entertaining Area

A pergola is perfect for outdoor entertaining. Larger pergola designs can cover an outdoor dining table and chairs along with a BBQ to create a great space for bringing people together. A pergola can help to tie disparate pieces of furniture together to create a put-together garden design that will look impressive to guests. 

There are a number of ways you can customise your pergola, like adding fairy lights to create a cool ambience in the evenings or hanging plants to create a truly appealing space to entertain.

frame Outdoor kitchen and dining area under a pergola at the spacious patio of a home

Relaxation Space

A small pergola attached to your house with a few comfy garden chairs placed under it provides a lovely relaxing space. Picture tranquil weekends reading in the shade and enjoying a nightcap while you watch the sunset and talk the evening away. A pergola helps you achieve this like nothing else.

Picture of beautiful residence with garden at night

Shaded Workspace

If you’re working from home in the warmer months, you’ll be thankful for a pergola. You can easily fit a desk and chair under a pergola and working outside like this will provide a welcome change of environment for you.

Decorative Walkway or Entrance

Using a pergola for this purpose is a wonderful way to welcome people into an outdoor space or provide a beautiful transition area from indoors to outdoors. If you have a larger garden, a shaded walkway covered with plants is an eye-catching feature that can separate out different areas for different purposes.

Garden with Pergola structure with bright colors during late summer season

Lend Privacy to a Hot Tub Area

If you’re lucky enough to have a hot tub in your garden, you’ll want to make sure you can enjoy it in the privacy it’s meant for. Pergolas built over hot tubs can include intricate trelliswork which acts as a decorative wall that hides the hot tub area from any prying eyes. The protection from the weather that pergolas also offer means you can use your hot tub all year round. Read more about how your hot tub can benefit from a pergola.

Create a Design Focal Point

You can elevate the look of your garden with a pergola designed as a focal point. Add cascading flowers and plants to evoke a floral paradise and show off your decorative prowess.
If you’re searching for even more inspiration for how you can put a pergola to good use or how to decorate a pergola, just read our creative pergola ideas.

What is a Pergola Made Of?

Side view of a multi-generation Caucasian family sitting in the garden outside their house at a dinner table in the evening for a celebration meal together, talking and eating

Pergolas can be made from a number of materials, each with its own benefits. You can get vinyl pergolas, metal pergolas and many more. But the most popular choice for garden pergolas is wood. 

This is because wooden pergolas make for the most classically beautiful designs that are also very versatile. Their natural look means wooden pergolas fit seamlessly into outdoor areas whether modern or traditional in look and pair perfectly with flowers and greenery.

Most wooden pergolas will be made from pressure-treated wood, which means that they are extremely weatherproof and durable. You won’t suffer from things like rust – a wooden pergola will stay looking stunning for longer. 

You can also build your own pergola in your garden with our useful tips.

Looking for a Bespoke Wooden Pergola?

If you’ve read through this guide to what a pergola is and what a pergola does, you’ll likely be thinking about installing one in your garden or outside space. With a kit from The Porch Specialist, this couldn’t be easier. 

We craft beautiful wooden pergola kits in green oak or Douglas-fir timber to the bespoke specifications of our clients. Our state-of-the-art machinery and highly skilled carpenters craft exceptionally well-made kits that you can easily assemble yourself.

Get in touch with us today for a free, no-obligation quote on a beautiful wooden pergola kit for your home improvement project.