What is a Pergola?
Perhaps you’ve seen stylish pergolas in backyards of homes in nearby neighborhoods, on TV, or even on our website. You know they look good, but you don’t really know anything about them. Worry not. We’re here to tell you everything you need to know about pergolas.
An outdoor pergola is the perfect way to transform your backyard into an outdoor oasis. These classic open structures create a beautiful covered gathering area. At Backyard Discovery, you'll find pergolas for your patio, poolside cabana, fire pit or outdoor kitchen. It's a gorgeous way to extend living spaces to the outdoors and entertain family and friends in premium comfort.
So…what exactly is it, and what is the purpose of a pergola?
A pergola is a columned structure typically consisting of four or six columns interlocked with an open-style roof consisting of beams that form a horizontal lattice.
A pergola can do many things. For starters, it can create a stylish overhang for a gathering area, provide a walkway in your outdoor space or help tie together a garden in your backyard. Properly installing and maintaining it will give you enjoyment and entertainment for years to come. If you’re looking for inspiration, here are six creative pergola ideas for your backyard.
Are there different types of pergolas?
Yes! Pergolas can vary in size and shape, as well as material and purpose. Backyard Discovery’s traditional pergolas range in size from 10’x10’ to 20’x12’, giving you options for various outdoor spaces. Most modern pergolas are made from either wood or metal. We use cedar for our wood structures and galvanized steel for our metal ones to provide maximum strength, longevity and style.
In addition to traditional pergolas, we also have cabana pergolas. These smaller pergolas have two walls, providing both shade and privacy in a more intimate setting. They can still accommodate multiple people under the canopy, and some even come with built-in seating.
What is the difference between a pergola and a gazebo?
Pergolas and gazebos have the same vertical column structure, but the main difference between the two is the roof. While a pergola’s roof is open and consists of a row of horizontal beams, a gazebo has a closed roof, often made of metal. This provides shade, as well as protection from weather.
The downside to a gazebo is you don’t get the sun, which means a pergola is a better option for gardening or enjoying a sunny sitting area. If it’s shade you’re looking for, some of Backyard Discovery’s pergolas do have an integrated soft shade canopy. This is a great option for those hot days when you’re looking for a shaded retreat.
Because pergolas don’t have a closed roof, they’re often cheaper when looking at the same size and material as a gazebo.
Are pergolas easy to install?
All Backyard Discovery pergolas come in a kit. This means that all pieces are pre-cut and pre-drilled, so all you have to do is assemble. The step-by-step instructions that come with the kit are easy to follow, and we’ve also partnered with the BILT™ app. BILT™ allows you to see the instructions in 3D, with detailed explanations and movable diagrams, making assembly easy.
We do recommend at least two people for the installation. If you can’t (or don’t want to) assemble the pergola yourself, you can hire a team to come assemble it for you. A two-person assembly team should be able to install the pergola in a few hours.
Are they safe? And how long do they last?
A pergola with the right material that’s properly installed and maintained can last decades. At Backyard Discovery, all of our wood pergolas are made with cedar, one of the strongest woods there is. Our metal pergolas are made with galvanized steel, which is up to 300 percent stronger than other metals such as aluminum. Regardless of which material you choose, all of our pergolas are PRO-TECT® Certified to withstand winds up to 160 kph, making them the industry leader in strength and durability.
As for maintenance, there’s very little that you have to do. Cedar is naturally insect and rot-resistant. With cedar, we recommend sealing and staining your pergola once a year, as well as using wood filler to fill in cracks or chips. Our steel pergolas are designed to be virtually maintenance-free. It is corrosion-resistant, and our powder-coated steel resists fading, scratching, chipping and wear. We do recommend washing it once a year.
Enhance your outdoor space with a pergola
Now that you know what a pergola is and its purpose, what’s stopping you from getting one for yourself. Pergolas are a great addition to any outdoor space. They can provide a great gathering area, whether large or small, or add style to a garden or walkway. You can enjoy dining outdoors when the weather allows, relaxing under the sun or entertaining at night.
Backyard Discovery has a number of pergola choices for your patio, pool, garden or yard. Whether you’re looking for a traditional cedar pergola, a modern steel option or a cozy cabana, we have options for you!