Pergolas vs. Arbors – What’s the Difference

by  Lauren Lockett-Summers
Published: Oct 28, 2020
Pergolas vs. Arbors – What’s the Difference

When upgrading your backyard, common recommendations include adding pergolas or arbors, and while on the surface, they may seem very similar, they actually do have their differences. However, with both structures, you can expect they will add lasting value to your property and create an inviting space for your family and friends to gather.

These beautiful and functional structures will give you the most enviable backyard in the neighborhood, but choosing between them can be overwhelming. We’ve taken the guesswork out for you, so read on below to learn more about pergolas vs. arbors!


pergola patio cover

Pergolas are used to create an outdoor living extension and give your backyard space the feeling of a room. Perfect to shade outdoor kitchens or seating areas, pergolas are constructed with vertical beams and topped with a horizontal grid. This construction provides additional shade while still allowing sunlight and breeze to penetrate the area below.

Pergolas are also a landscaper’s dream! The perfect setting for vines to thrive, a pergola can be used as a support for your favorite plants. The most common and durable material to use in pergola construction is wood. The wood can be stained to fit your aesthetic preferences and provide protection against premature decaying and wood rot.

You can have a pergola attached to your home or have it freestanding – the choice is entirely dependent on your tastes and the layout of your yard.


white arbor

Arbors can be thought of as the pergola’s younger sister. Constructed in a similar way, but on a smaller scale, arbors are usually only used as a gateway covering. Because of their size, arbors aren’t a great choice if you’re looking to add substantial shade. Rather, arbors are primarily used as a decorative piece.

Some homeowners choose to attach their arbors to their garden fences, creating a more grand entrance to their yard or vegetable garden. Similar to pergolas, the grid design of the structure is perfect for vines and other vegetation to grow. Wisteria, climbing roses, and trumpet vines are examples of plants that thrive against arbors.

While arbors can be constructed with vinyl or metal, wood is by far the most popular option. As with pergolas, the wood can be stained or even painted to further boost your curb appeal.

How to Choose Between Pergolas and Arbors?

Choosing between the two structures drills down to the goal of your exterior structure. If you’re looking for substantial shade or a structure to cover a large area, you will need a pergola. On the other hand, if you’re just interested in a decorative piece, an arbor may be best.

Of course, if you’re still unsure of which structure is best for your yard or you still have questions, give our experts at Austex a call. Schedule your free consultation today!

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