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When trying to improve your patio and make it more enjoyable, you may find yourself struggling to make sense of the different names for the various structures you can erect in the area. One of the terms you are likely to come across is “Pergola.” Pergolas are often confused with other outdoor structures like gazebos and trellis because of their similar shapes and functions. But the term refers to a specific outdoor facility with unique features.

What is a pergola?

A pergola is an open structure with a framework of sturdy vertical posts and a lattice roof. The roof of a pergola is usually open and designed to provide partial shade for a deck or patio. The lattice and posts of the pergola may serve as support for vines and climbing plants, which become part of the structure’s roof. Though most pergolas only have a lattice roof, some have a retractable roof or cover (often made of tarp). You can construct pergolas with different materials, wood, fiberglass, aluminum, stone, brick, and vinyl. They may be freestanding or attached to the sides of a home. Attached pergolas are more likely to have rafters and a roof to provide shelter from the elements. The roof and posts of a pergola provide a place for hanging lights, so you can still use the area at night. Pergolas are broader than other outdoor structures like arbors and trellises.

Why you should choose a pergola for your patio

Given a choice between a pergola and other structures you can erect on your patio, here are great reasons to choose a pergola.

1. They are easy to install and inexpensive

Pergolas are quick and easy to install, requiring simple tools and a few hours of work. The pergola’s materials are readily available, and you may even find pergola kits with pre-cut wood. Depending on the materials and the size of the structure, pergolas are very affordable.

2. Let you extend the use of your outdoor areas

Installing a pergola on your patio will let you expand the area’s use without radically altering its quality as an outdoor area. You can create an outdoor room for your favorite indoor activities – dining, lounging, gaming, or chatting – while enjoying the view and ventilation of your yard. If you entertain often, a pergola gives your guests more options.

3. Get more use out of your yard

With a pergola, you do not have to leave the yard when the sun gets too hot. It offers a beautiful shaded area where you can safely enjoy the warmth of summer without worrying about getting burned by the sun. If the pergola has a natural roof of climbing plants, it will replicate the chill environment you find in the woods.

4. Define the spaces in your yard

Every part of your yard serves a specific function. Installing a pergola lets you define the patio area as an entertainment lounge or dining area. You will be able to do this without imposing the strict boundaries that a walled structure would introduce. Pergolas allow you to retain the free- flowing design of your yard, in addition to designating an area for a specific use.

5. Pergolas don’t need a lot of maintenance

Most of the cost and work of owning a pergola will be at the beginning when you erect the structure. After the pergola is in place, keeping it in good shape takes minimal effort. Depending on the material you use, you may not even need to do any maintenance work for months.

6. Create more space for plants

Homeowners who love gardening or like to have several plants can find additional spaces around the pergola for their green friends. You can use the posts and rafters to support vines and climbing plants or suspend pots from the structure. Some pergolas have earthen floors for raising plants. You may also arrange pots and vases around the area to accommodate more greenery.

7. They add value to your home

Pergolas are charming structures that improve the visual appeal of a home. Buyers love these structures, especially if accompanied by a mature garden. Installing a pergola in your home will enhance its value. By designing the pergola to compliment your landscaping, you can generate more interest from buyers and add about 20% to the home’s value, says Bighorn Management.

8. Pergolas combine well with other structures

Installing a pergola on your patio does not have to mean excluding other outdoor facilities from the yard. Pergolas work well as a lead-in to other structures. You can pair it with a gazebo to create a versatile and eye-catching outdoor area. It will also combine well with the hardscaping features in your home’s garden.

9. Pergolas are beautiful

They are simple, minimalist, and beautiful. Pergolas will not take attention away from the house or obstruct features you want to highlight around the yard. Instead, pergolas are beautiful in an understated way. They introduce the kind of elegance that grabs attention without being loud. They are pretty in a way that is hard to overlook.