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The Pros and Cons of 11 Different Types of Pergolas

The Pros and Cons of 11 Different Types of Pergolas

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You may have a certain vision for your backyard space. That vision may involve adding a pergola, but what kind?

As you browse through this outdoor structure, you’ll find different types of pergolas in the market. From freestanding and arched options to wooden or fiberglass ones.

Each choice has its ups and downs. For instance, wooden pergolas are a classic option, but they tend to require a bit more maintenance than other types available.

Stick around to learn more about each pergola’s pros and cons so you can decide if it’ll fit in with your backyard vision.

1 – Attached Pergola

Attached pergolas, as their name suggests, are connected to your home. They’re usually attached to your patio or deck area to enclose it.

This type of pergola cozies up your outdoor space. Plus, you can decorate the pergola with vines and light fixtures for aesthetic appeal.

The pergola also gives your outdoor space an indoor feel, where it’s an extension of your home. They usually come with two pillars, but if they cover a larger space, that number can exceed.


  • Defines your deck and patio space
  • Provides a seamless transition to your outdoor area
  • Gives more opportunity to create a dining and entertainment space


  • Not ideal for DIY installation

2 – Freestanding Pergola

Unlike attached pergolas, freestanding options stand alone with no wall support. In turn, it gives you a defined space to escape from your home’s noise.

Freestanding pergolas have a lot of potential to become a mini bar, sitting, BBQ area, and more. Plus, the design features are endless.

You can style this type of pergola with foliage for a more nature-like design. Alternatively, you can attach some fairy lights and give it a romantic feel with a few comfy seats.

It can even become your meditation spot. All you need is a long chair, some cushions, and your favorite books.


  • Offers versatile styling options
  • Provides a mini escape from home
  • You can DIY this type of pergola


  • Can be pricey

3 – Arched Pergola

Most pergolas you find in homes are usually flat-topped. Meanwhile, in public areas, you can spot arched structures more frequently.

Arched pergolas exude elegance and romantic vibes. They’re sometimes located in parks, bridges, and pathways.

These types of pergolas don’t usually come with four legs. Instead, they stand on two supports or walls, almost like a tunnel.

Overall, arched pergolas have graceful designs. Walking through one, you can expect to see hanging plants, flowers adorning the walls, and light fixtures wrapped over the slanted roof.


  • Perfect for romantic evenings
  • Enlarges the space inside the pergola
  • Exceptionally showcases foliage


  • More common in commercial areas rather than in homes

4 – Louvered Pergola

Otherwise known as modular pergolas, louvered structures are ones built with slanted rafters that can close and open the roof.

The moveable rafters can work automatically and manually. The former allows you to move the rafters through a remote or button.

You can use them to shield your outdoor space from excessive sunlight or heavy rainfall. On the other hand, if you’re looking to get a tan, you can keep those rafters open.

Aside from that, louvered pergolas can come as freestanding or attached options.


  • Automatic options are easy to use
  • Rain and sunlight protection
  • Comes with freestanding and attached pergolas


  • Manual louvered pergolas can be difficult to close

5 – Retractable Pergolas

Retractable pergolas are similar to louvered options where you can take the shade off and on. Nevertheless, with retractable pergolas, the roof completely comes off.

The pergola can also come with a retractable fabric roof. Overall, it offers the same advantages as the louvered pergolas.


  • Flexible shading provided
  • More ventilation
  • Automatic options provided


  • May require additional maintenance

6 – Wooden Pergola

Aside from the different types of pergola designs, let’s get into the material differences. Wooden pergolas are one of the commonly used options in the market.

They offer the most aesthetic and natural design among other kinds. The traditionally used material comes in a variety of options ranging from cedar to redwood.

One of the main selling points of wooden pergolas is their relatively cheaper price. Nevertheless, this comes at a cost.

As a porous material, wood tends to be the most affected by its surrounding environment. It requires lots of maintenance such as staining, mold inspections, and not to mention termite control.


  • Classic appearance
  • Multiple types and colors are available
  • Cheaper than other pergola types


  • Requires a lot of maintenance

7 – Steel Pergola

If you’re looking for strength and sturdiness, then steel pergolas are your best bet. Aside from the heavy-duty appeal, steel choices also give off a modern look.

Now, if you’re after a soft and cozy vibe, then steel pergolas may not make the cut. Aside from that, living in a humid-rich environment can take its toll on the material.

For this reason, you’ll need to make sure you apply rust prevention methods to keep the pergola lasting longer. One of these techniques includes painting the steel pergola with a rust inhibitor.

Aside from that, steel pergolas are highly customizable, and you can spray them with different powder-coat colors that match your home. These coatings also help your pergola last longer.


  • Gives your yard a modern look
  • Heavy-duty
  • Long-lasting


  • Tends to rust

8 – Aluminum Pergola

Aluminum pergolas, like steel ones, also offer a contemporary appearance to your backyard. In contrast to steel, aluminum material is lightweight, giving you an easier time in terms of installation.

In addition to this, aluminum pergolas are less prone to rusting. Subsequently, they won’t add up in maintenance costs.

Now, when it comes to the downsides of aluminum pergolas, they tend to be highly heat-conductive.

In turn, they can get extremely hot during the summer, so you’ll need to be cautious around them, especially if kids are around.


  • Easy to care for
  • Less vulnerable to rusting
  • Lightweight


  • Highly conductive to heat

9 – Vinyl Pergola

Vinyl pergolas are a common low-maintenance choice. The material is easily moldable, so you can customize it to any shape you wish.

Plus, it’s highly durable against extreme weather. Unlike wood, it’s water-resistant and can last much longer.

The main downside to vinyl pergolas is that they tend to run a little high in terms of price. Nevertheless, their value might be worth it compared to other pergola types.


  • Customizable design and color
  • Low-maintenance
  • Weather-resistant


  • Tends to be on the pricier end

10 – Fiberglass Pergola

Fiberglass pergolas are one of the easiest choices to build. They’re relatively light, plus all the parts are cut to length so you just need to screw them all together.

On top of that, fiberglass pergolas are comparatively low-maintenance and long-lasting. The material doesn’t corrode or rust like steel.

That being said, the only disadvantage to this type of pergola is its high price.



  • Can be costly

11 – Concrete Pergola

Concrete pergolas are likely the most long-lasting structure on this list. They’re made of brick and require little to no maintenance.

You mainly need to power wash it if it gathers up too much dirt. Other than that, the solid pergola is easy to care for.

In addition to this, concrete pergolas are highly versatile when it comes to design and color. You can create any sort of structure, whether it’s arched or flat-topped.

The design can be intricate and elaborate with lots of detail or you can keep it minimal and opt for contemporary architecture and landscape.

Aside from that, one of the best parts of this pergola type is that it’ll last a lifetime with you. Nevertheless, building a concrete pergola may require some time and high expenses.


  • Easy to care for
  • Customizable design and color
  • Long-lasting


  • Can be expensive to build

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re looking for an indoor extension or a separate outdoor space to spend time with your friends, pergolas are your answer. Luckily, you can find several types of pergolas available.

If you’re after a serene and natural look, then a freestanding wooden pergola can be a suitable choice. Meanwhile, you may be looking for a more avant-garde choice for your yard.

In this case, a steel pergola can help you achieve that vision. Fortunately, each pergola type also comes with varying price differences, so you can find one that fits your budget.

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