The basic design of a pergola has not changed much for over 3,000 years. The basic structure is the same, four pillars or posts supporting horizontal cross beams and decorated lattice. 

Modern pergolas are now made from materials such as wood, vinyl, fibreglass and metal. The pergolas also served a more practical purpose like shade and a place to stay and relax.

Pergolas are also used as a poolside cabana, outdoor kitchen’ shade for a deck or patio, open-air dining, hanging vines, flowers and plants. Pergolas can also be attached to existing buildings to increase their living space or be placed separately in the middle of a garden. 

This page will help readers learn important information about pergolas and how it takes to own one. It will also discuss the different types of pergolas to help people choose the best for them. 

Parts of a Pergola

  1. Columns or posts – there should at least be a minimum of 3-4 columns to support a freestanding pergola. They support the beams that go horizontally at the top of the pergola. 
  1. Horizontal Beams- are attached to the columns and supports other parts like the stringers and rafters. The beams bring structural integrity to the top of the pergola and hold it in place. 
  1. Rafters – are similar to beams and run perpendicular to them and can also serve as a decorative piece to enhance the pergola’s look and design.
  2. Ledger boards and stringers – they support other parts of the structures like the beam to strengthen the pergola and at the same time create more shade from direct sunlight.

History of Pergolas 

Ancient civilizations have long used pergolas and date back to more than 3,000 years ago. For generations, families have enjoyed their great shade and relaxing ambience. 

The Egyptian court official, Thebes, owned the earliest known surviving garden design, which contains details of a pergola placed in the garden’s entryway. 

Pergola comes from the Latin root word pergola, which refers to a projecting eave. In the past, pergolas were reserved for the elite and served as a hanging garden where they place their beautiful plants and flowers. 

In the 17th century, Great Italian Renaissance pergolas featured smooth stone pillars designed for beauty rather than functionality.  

What is the difference between patios, verandah and pergolas?

Verandahs are usually found on the ground level and are narrower than a verandah and pergola. Porches and patios are generally covered, while pergolas traditionally have an open roof or top.

Patios are similar to pergolas, but they don’t incorporate climbing plants. Patios are usually attached to the main house and have a roof. On the other hand, pergolas can be freestanding structures that traditionally have climbing plants like vines and has an open-top made from horizontal cross beams and lattice. 

What Are the Different Types of Pergolas

Pergolas were traditionally made from timber or wood, but many pergolas are now built using modern materials. 

  1. Wood Pergolas – they are usually made of redwood, cedar or local wood available in the area. They are more traditional and brings out the naturals look in your home or garden.
  1. Aluminum Pergola – they are easy to install and are very light, and can stand the elements because its made from aluminium that is rust and moisture-proof. 
  1. Vinyl, PVC or Fibreglass Pergola – These materials are highly resistant to moisture and termite resistant compared to wood. They can easily be transported because of their lightweight and usually have several designs that can match the homeowner’s need. 
  1. Metal or steel Pergola – they are sturdy and can withstand adverse weather condition compare to pergolas. They can also extend to a much longer span compared to other materials. They are painted or powder-coated to protect them from moisture and rust.