Description: per-go-la (pur’ge-le) n. Pergola is a curious word, although frequently mispronounce, it is the most popular outdoor living structure in the market place today. Basically a pergola is an architectural feature. Similar to an arbor, but larger.

Purpose: As an architectural feature pergolas are used to define an outdoor living space. Depending on the style, pergolas do provide a modest amount of shade but do not provide protection from rain or snow. Their popularity is due in large part to the quaint or rustic ‘feel’ that they bring to your back yard.

Types and options: Pergolas can be constructed from a wide range of materials. Anything from tree limbs and branches, to rusty iron scrap have been fashioned into pergolas. Minimal maintenance vinyl, aluminum, or the all new thermally modified lumber products are most popular. Pergolas can be freestanding or attached to another structure. A wide variety of posts and columns are available in market today.


Style vs. function: The number one rule in selecting a pergola style: select the one you like. Just as important however is to consider how the pergola will function. Far too many people have spent a large amount of money building a pergola only to discover it did not provide the shade they desired. An experienced, professional contractor can help you determine your needs and recommend the right pergola for your particular application. The advantage of working with an expert and not your local handyman can not be under stated.

Shade issues: If having a comfortable shaded outdoor living area is a priority, there are several ways of providing it. A fixed overhead lattice will provide a reasonable amount of shade. Slanted ‘slats’ are a creative method of maximizing shade. Depending on your location, snow loads are a concern for all fixed shade structures.