pergola is an outdoor structure consisting of columns that support a roofing grid of beams and rafters.

The roofing grid itself might be left open or closed, depending on the owner’s preferences. Some pergolas are also designed to be attached to a house, but the majority of them are their own individual free-standing constructions more often than not.

Traditional pergola design goes back to the Italian Renaissance times, but in the modern day the term itself is used much more loosely than before, often including structures from wooden materials, as well. It’s not uncommon for a pergola to be attached to a house, too, forming an outdoor space that serves as an extension of the house’s interior.

Pros of a Pergola

A traditional pergola is a structure or an archway that shades a path or patio. The framework is often covered with climbing plants. 

Gazebos and Carports vs. Pergolas

A related outdoor structure is the gazebo. But gazebos always have a closed roof, which is not true of pergolas. Many (but not all) gazebos are further distinguished from pergolas by having:

Of course, it’s unlikely that a canopy would be able to offer you a complete shade and protection without growing for a really long time, that’s why some users just cover their pergolas from above. The coverage materials can be either fiberglass or some form of a retractable shade canopies.

A “carport” is a structure defined more by its purpose than by how it is made. Carports are used to shelter one’s automobile at home in lieu of the more expensive option: a garage. The basic carport is a roof supported by posts. But we have seen more elaborate carports that are essentially pergolas co-opted for car storage.