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Pergolas vs. Pagodas vs. Pergodas (A Look at How They Differ)

Pergolas vs. Pagodas vs. Pergodas (A Look at How They Differ)

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Whether you’re looking to create a shaded or a mini-escape area from your home, outdoor structures are an exceptional solution.

Between pergolas vs. pagodas vs. pergodas, you’ve got a lot to choose from. Each option varies in design, size, and shade levels.

For example, pergolas are ideal for housing a little garden since you still get rays of sunlight shining through the roof. On the other hand, pergodas and pagodas provide minimal sunlight due to their closed roofs.

Having said that, stick around to learn more about the difference between the three constructions and which will suit your garden best.

Pergola Overview

In essence, a pergola is an outdoor structure fitted with columns, beam supports, and a cross-patterned roof.

The structure brings an aesthetic addition to your garden landscape. Pergolas come in different shapes, sizes, and materials.

Not only are they found in home gardens, but you may have come across one in your park walks. They come in arched forms that resemble a tunnel entrance.

Pergolas are often decorated with ornamental light fixtures and vining foliage and blooms. Overall, the structure provides you with a touch of shade and open entryways.


Pergolas come in several forms and materials. They can be designed to be freestanding where they remain a defined space unattached from your home.

Alternatively, the attached versions are supported by a wall and offer a smooth transition from your indoor space to your outdoor one.

Aside from attached and freestanding options, you can also opt for louvered pergolas that have moveable rafters to bring in a little more sunshine.

Pagoda Overview

Unlike a backyard garden pergola, pagodas are larger, multi-tiered structures. In most cases, they’re referred to as religious temples for Buddhists and Taoists.

The tower-like construction is hollow and contains multiple stories. That being said, pagodas are supported by pillars or columns at their base.

Above the base, the pagoda is walled with intricate Southeast Asian designs. A pagoda’s roof is fully covered and often tapered.


Pagodas have a long history in Asia and are primarily rooted in Indian tradition. The structure is meant to resemble an ancient monument known as a stupa.

The piece of architecture houses a dome-like top and is meant to hold sacred relics of ancient kings and saints.


The historical construction has evolved through several dynasties. Its shape and architecture reflected these eras.

For instance, during the Han dynasty, pagodas were square-based and had the same shape and size in each story.

Other eras such as the Song dynasty had pagodas with hexagonal tiers. One of the famed structures of the time is the Iron pagoda.

Despite what its name may suggest, this pagoda wasn’t made of iron. Instead, the structure’s color made it seem like it was built with the material.

Pergoda Overview

As its name suggests, pergodas are a mixture of pergolas and pagodas. The hybrid construction derives from a pergola’s column base.

Meanwhile, the roof is similarly fully covered and tapered like pagodas. Pergodas are as flexible as pergolas, in turn, you can design them however you like to match your backyard vision.

What is the Difference Between Pergolas, Pagodas, and Pergodas?

To determine the difference between pergolas, pagodas, and pergodas, we’ll be looking into three main factors. The structures’ design, construction, and shade will allow you to understand how each one differs.


When it comes to design, each structure offers a unique take. From base design to placement, here’s how pergolas, pagodas, and pergodas are designed.


Pergolas are designed to provide you with an extra sitting area in your outdoor space. Aside from that, their open entryways provide you with a versatile placement.

You can put your pergola on your patio or next to your pool. It can become a mini hangout spot, a BBQ area, or somewhere to meditate or read.

Plus, the design options are endless. You can opt for weaving vines around the structure for a graceful appearance.

Alternatively, you may favor an avant-garde vibe and choose a steel or aluminum construction for your pergola design.


Pergodas are mainly designed for religious reasons. The hollow building is usually adorned with cultural embellishments and a tapered top.

The stacked appearance of the pagoda differentiates it from pergolas. Plus, pagodas are much taller.

While standard pergolas can be anywhere between 8 to 12 feet, pagodas can reach an impressive 13-story height.

That said, in Japan, pagodas are often five stories tall. This is to represent the five elements, namely, water, wind, fire, water, and void.


Pergodas, like pergolas and pagodas, are pillar-based. Similar to pergolas, they are one story tall.

The pointy-roofed structure has similar design elements to pagodas. They resemble pagodas in their historic embellishments and eaves pointing upwards.

Apart from that, pergodas are designed for shelter and can serve several purposes. They could be integrated into a wedding ceremony in place of an altar to provide a picturesque scene.

Alternatively, they can be a dining area if you want an al fresco brunch.


Construction mainly refers to the materials of the structure. You may notice several similarities in this factor.


Pergolas are highly versatile in terms of construction material. The one-story structure can be composed of wood, steel, aluminum, vinyl, and more.

Each material offers its benefits and disadvantages. For instance, wood pergolas offer a classic and timeless design.

Nevertheless, wood tends to rot faster due to its porous nature, Plus, it’s more vulnerable to termites and mold.

On the other hand, materials like fiberglass or vinyl offer a longer-lasting solution thanks to their durable build.


Pagodas are more traditional when it comes to their construction. You’ll likely find pagodas either constructed from wood, stone, or brick materials.

This is similar to pergolas since most designs are wood-constructed because they’re a cheaper option.

You may also find pergolas made out of brick or concrete. Nevertheless, vinyl and fiberglass materials aren’t commonly used materials in pagoda construction.


You can find pergodas constructed of similar materials as pergolas such as wood, aluminum, and concrete.

Overall, pergodas and pergolas are more versatile in construction compared to pagodas. The latter are taller architectural structures and require more durability.

Aside from that, aluminum pergoda options offer a more contemporary look for your garden landscape. Plus, they’re easier to care for compared to wood options.

Shade Levels

Apart from the design elements that you want to integrate into your garden, pergolas, pagodas, and pergodas all serve a similar purpose. They all provide your outdoor space with shade.


Pergolas offer a few shade options. Louvered roofs on pergolas allow little sunlight to pass through the rafters.

Nonetheless, most pergolas have a patterned roof that lets in peeks of sunlight and may not offer full protection from the rain.


Pagodas are fully covered from the top and protect you from sunlight and rainfall. They offer the best shade out of all three choices.


Since pergodas have similar roofs to pagodas, they barely let in any sunlight. Most of the sunlight will be coming through the open entryways.

Final Thoughts

When deciding between a pergola vs. pagoda vs. pergoda, you’ll want to think about design, shade, and material aspects.

If you’re looking for a defined transition to your outdoor space with a modern take and low maintenance, then a vinyl attached pergola could be your best bet.

For a more traditional and historic design in your garden space, you may want to think about getting a pagoda. Although, you have to keep in mind that the structure is relatively large and will require a lot of space.

Finally, if you want to integrate the best of both worlds and own a fully shaded spot with a uniquely decorated roof, then pergodas will fit the bill.

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