ABC Blog

How To Build a Pergola

a pergola

If you are a fan of spending time outdoors, consider giving your backyard an upgrade with a pergola. A pergola is a customizable outdoor structure with vertical pillars and horizontal beams.

Pergolas have various uses that can be tailored to match your needs, the style of your home and the landscape. Adding a high-quality pergola to your backyard can even give you more usable space for summer BBQs.

Plan Your Pergola Design

Before you start building your pergola, decide on your design. There is ample inspiration to help you dream up your ideal pergola online.

Some pergolas are simple and modern; others are more ornate and traditional. Consider the size of your yard, the shade it can provide and the overall style of your home when choosing your pergola design.

Choose the Right Location

A level area with ample room will be best for setting up the pergola. Consider your home’s layout and any other outdoor structures you might have before you finalize the placement.

Source Suitable Materials

Between vinyl and metal, wood is friendlier on the pocket and simple to work with, so it is the most popular choice.

Prepare Your Site

Before you start building your pergola, you’ll need to get the site where you will construct the pergola prepared for building. This might include clearing the area, leveling the ground and putting up the pillars. This is also a great time for a landscaping professional to take over.

Constructing the Pergola

Once the site is prepared, it is time to construct the pergola. First, you or a landscape expert will attach beams to the posts and rafters to the beams. After that, you’ll also need braces to make the structure steady and strong.

Follow the design plan carefully and use the right screws and bolts to attach the lumber tightly. Measure and cut the lumber to size, and remember to double-check that the pergola is level and square during construction.

Add Finishing Touches

After building your pergola, you can add a personal touch to the finishes. You can enhance its appearance and functionality by staining or painting it and adding climbing plants and other decorations.

And just like that, you’ve built a pergola. Contact a landscaping expert if you would like a professional to handle this project and build the perfect pergola for your property.

a pergola

Types of Pergolas

If you are considering a pergola for your yard, getting familiar with the options is important.

It’s also a good idea to rope in landscaping experts, as they can give you solid advice on the technical aspects by assessing your environment and offering tailored suggestions. Then, they can do the hard work of building the pergola for you and even advising you on how to build a flower bed.

Traditional Pergolas

These pergolas are the most popular kind. Their design is typically flat or sloping roofed pergolas with open sides. They are supported by vertical posts and horizontal beams, covered with slats or lattices for shade.

Attached Pergolas

These pergolas are made to attach to the side of a house; they provide excellent shade. This pergola style is ideal for outdoor dining, entertaining or simply resting.

Freestanding Pergolas

Freestanding pergolas are made to stand on their own. They are perfect for outdoor areas with ample space or as a standalone feature in a spacious garden. Like the attached and traditional pergolas, freestanding pergolas are also available in various sizes.

Arched Pergolas

Arched pergolas are built using four posts supporting a series of horizontal beams, then covered with a lattice or fabric material. The defining feature of an arched pergola is its curved, arched shape, which gives any outdoor space a touch of grace and class. Arched pergolas can be changed to meet the homeowner’s wants and style choices.

Gabled Pergolas

Gabled pergolas feature a roof that slopes on two sides, making a triangle shape. This type is shadier than traditional pergolas and can cover larger outdoor areas, such as a patio or deck.

a pergola

The Differences Between Pergolas and Patio Covers

Pergolas, as pictured above, and patio covers can add outdoor living space to your home. However, some key differences between them should be considered when selecting the one most suited to your outdoor area.

Design and Construction

A patio cover and pergola differ mainly in their design and construction. A patio cover made of metal or vinyl offers greater protection from the elements than a pergola. Pergolas typically made of wood with open lattice roofs allow more natural light in while not providing as much shelter from rain.

Both options provide enclosed spaces designed to meet specific needs for privacy or shelter from the rain. Their main differences lie in how each can be utilized. Pergolas provide more openness while offering less shelter from the elements.

Construction-wise, patio covers must be attached directly to a house or the walls of its structure to remain strong and secure. Pergolas may either stand alone or connect to a structure like a deck or a wall.

Pergolas’ simple design usually means less construction work than patio covers do. Both require careful planning beforehand to guarantee structurally sound installations.


Functionally, patio covers and pergolas differ considerably. Patio covers protect from rain, sun, wind and other elements while permitting some visibility.

Pergolas are ideal for outdoor entertaining areas that encourage people to be outside while remaining protected from the elements. Climbing plants may provide extra coverage but need waterproofing in heavy rainfall.


Cost estimates for patio covers and pergolas may differ significantly based on size, material selection and design choice. Due to their construction materials and enclosure style, patio covers tend to be more costly than pergolas. Pergolas tend to be less expensive, but it depends on the size and complexity of the design.

Advantages of Pergolas

  • A pergola can create an idyllic outdoor living space, enabling you to take advantage of your garden and backyard in an engaging way.
  • Pergolas have simple and straightforward installations compared to patio covers requiring complex construction techniques.
  • Pergolas can be customized with various colors, materials and designs to complement the home or landscape design style of any property or landscape.
  • Pergolas are less costly than patio covers due to their simpler construction requirements.

Disadvantages of Pergolas

  • Pergolas do not provide complete protection from rain or wind.
  • Since they are open and feature an exposed lattice roof, these buildings do not provide much privacy.
  • These structures may be susceptible to damage due to high winds.
  • Maintenance can be time-consuming since wood requires regular care to look its best.

a patio cover

Advantages of Patio Covers

  • Patio covers, as pictured above, provide additional protection from the elements than pergolas, so you can comfortably entertain outside in any weather condition.
  • Closed-off spaces offer more privacy and can be customized further with curtains or blinds to suit individual tastes.
  • Their stronger construction makes patio covers more secure and long-term maintenance-free, thus requiring less upkeep over time.

Disadvantages of Patio Covers

  • Patio covers are more costly than pergolas due to the complex construction requirements involved.
  • Patio covers block natural sunlight from entering an area.

A pergola and patio cover both offer options to enhance outdoor living spaces. Each possesses different qualities and should be carefully considered before making an informed decision and creating your ideal outdoor sanctuary.

Contact a landscaping specialist if you’re unsure whether a pergola or patio cover is best for your outdoor needs.

The Bottom Line

Building a pergola can add beauty and shade to any outdoor space, so take time and care when planning this project. Make sure that all aspects are considered before embarking on this venture.

Consider what your intended uses of the pergola will be before starting to build. With proper planning and attention to detail, a breathtaking pergola will enhance your outdoor living experience for years.

Ready to start building? Contact a landscaping specialist to advise you on the next steps.

ABC’s Landscape Experts Can Transform Your Yard

While adding a pergola to your outdoor space can make it easier to spend time outside, it can be daunting to do on your own.  Instead of spending all your free time researching how to build a pergola, contact the landscaping professionals at ABC Home & Commercial Services. Our experienced designers can either implement your vision or give you inspiration, so you have a beautiful, practical space to spend time. We can even give you advice on how to start an herb garden.

Learn More

Comments are closed.