Everything you need to know about pergolas


A pergola is a great way to increase your outdoor living space, making it a popular summer renovation project for many homeowners across the UK. What is a pergola

? A pergola is an outdoor structure that is usually found in patios and gardens. A pergola is an outdoor structure that’s usually found in gardens and patios. These pergolas are usually larger than an arbor but smaller than a gazebo. They’re the perfect shaded spot for your backyard. Bigger than an arbor but usually smaller than a gazebo, they’re the perfect shaded spot for your backyard.

You can get:

Wooden pergolas

Metal pergolas (a steel pergola or an aluminium pergola are the most popular choices)

Vinyl pergolas

  • Your choice of material will depend on climate and personal preferences. They come in many sizes and styles, or you could even make one yourself if your DIY skills are strong. You might be thinking about installing a pergola. What is the purpose of a pergola
  • ? A pergola will provide shade in your garden, allowing you to enjoy your outdoor space away from the direct sun. Because pergolas have an open framework, they’re still really airy, allowing air to flow through and keep you at a comfortable temperature.
  • As well as this, they’re a great aesthetic design feature for your garden. You can get yours built with intricate designs such as lattice or trellis-style sides, or grow climbing plants up the beams to decorate yours with blooming flowers.

By building yours with side panels, you can also add privacy to your garden, extending your outdoor living space for dining or lounging away from the eyes of neighbours or people passing by.

How to decorate your pergola

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Plants – by planting flowers and vines, you can create a leafy canopy for your pergola whilst giving it a natural, scented aesthetic.

Garden furniture – create a seating or dining area under your pergola using chairs, pillows, outdoor rugs and a low coffee table or dining table. Make sure to pick weather resistant options that are well suited for the outdoors.

Fairy lights – nothing creates a magical atmosphere quite like fairy lights. Wind them around your pergola beams or drape them from the rafters to create a cosy atmosphere to enjoy your pergola in once the sun goes down.

Picture of a garden pergola with plants

Decorations – small details go a long way in creating the perfect spot in your garden. Consider wind chimes, water features like birdbaths, outdoor sculptures and pottery or even hanging lanterns or planters full of flowers.

There are plenty of decorative accents and garden furniture options for you to choose from, and that will help you create a pergola that matches your garden’s style and aesthetic. You can also decorate it based on the purpose you plan to use it. Why not build one on top of your deck or hot tub? A skilled garden landscaper can help you decide:

  2. What is the difference between a pergola and a gazebo?
  3. The main difference between a pergola and a gazebo is that pergolas are open structures with an open roof that lets sunlight through. Instead, gazebos are usually partially or completely covered by walls and a roof, making them a standalone structure that protects you more fully from the elements.
  4. Because of this, pergolas only really offer an airy, partially shaded spot to sit or dine in, whereas gazebos are more of a room that is fully sheltered from rain, sun and insects.

If you’re choosing between the two, ask yourself what you want to use the space for. A gazebo will be the best choice if you plan to host outdoor dinners. You won’t need to worry about the weather. A pergola with a cover is also known as a covered patio. Opting for this offers more shade and protection from the elements, allowing you to use your pergola in different weather conditions.

The most common pergola roof materials are:

Polycarbonate sheets

Metal panels


Fabric canopies

Picture of a outdoor area with pergola

Which you go for will depend on how much weather protection you need (how durable you need the roof to be) and aesthetic preferences.

Is it cheaper to build or buy a pergola?

In general, building your pergola yourself will usually be more cost effective than getting one custom built or buying a pergola kit. You can find a garden landscaper here:

  • How much does a pergola cost?
  • If you want to DIY your pergola, you will pay anywhere between
  • PS300



or more, depending on how large you want it to be, the materials you choose, and any additional design features. You can do so here:


How much does a pergola cost?

Picture of a small pergola with seating underneath

If you want to DIY your pergola, you can expect to pay anywhere from

PS300 to PS1,500 or more, depending on how large you want yours to be, your choice of materials, and any additional design features.Pre-made pergola kits can normally be bought from around

PS600 to anywhere upwards of PS3,000. With a pergola kit, you’ll get given everything you need to install the pergola yourself.Lastly, custom built and professionally installed pergolas can cost anywhere from

PS2,000 to upwards of PS10,000, again depending on the scope of your project, and where you live in the UK, with cost of labour rising in the South.Do I need planning permission for a pergola?

Whether or not you’ll need planning permission for your pergola depends on its size, location and how close it is to other buildings. Small pergolas may well fit under permitted development rights, but we recommend you make sure before you get yours installed.

To find out more, read our planning permission guide.

What are the cons of a pergola?

Picture of a outdoor space with a pergola and plants

Though pergolas are a great addition to any garden, they do come with some drawbacks:

Though they offer some shade from the sun, their protection from the elements is limited. Unless you get a covered pergola, you should keep this in mind.

  1. Pergolas have an open design. You can create a more private area by using outdoor curtains, drapes or plants. You might want to consider outdoor curtains, drapes or plants that can help you create a more secluded spot.
  2. Your pergola will require regular maintenance (especially if it’s made of wood) and you may have to occasionally prune the climbing plants on your pergola if you choose to wind them around the structure.
  3. Despite these things, loads of people still choose to get one despite these drawbacks. Find out more by speaking to a garden landscaping specialist. Speak to a garden landscaping specialist to find out more.


How to look after your pergola

To keep your pergola in good condition, so that you can enjoy it all year around, we recommend you:

Regularly remove debris like twigs and leaves using a brush or leaf blower, and ensure no dirt builds up on the roof of your pergola, if it has one, by washing it with soap and water or by getting it pressure treated.

  • Occasionally, check for damage or wear such as warping wood, cracks or loose nails. This will ensure you deal with issues before they get worse.
  • During the winter, remove fabric canopies or curtains and store them indoors, opting instead for more weather-resistant materials to protect your pergola during the winter.
  • Trim climbing vines and plants to prevent them from overgrowing and causing damage to the structure or roof of your pergola.
  • Periodically apply protective stains and sealants to your pergola (especially if it’s made of wood) as this will prevent moisture damage and rot.
  • A pergola is a great addition to your garden, creating a relaxing focal point to enjoy the warmer months under and the perfect spot to entertain guests in. There are so many sizes and design features for you to choose from, allowing you to build one that fits your needs and interior design preferences.
Picture of a pergola in a garden

Are you ready to get started? Contact a landscape gardener to get a quote.