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What is a Pergola?

Updated: Mar 20

What is a Pergola?

One of the most satisfying home projects to build is an outdoor place for family and friends to gather and connect. After buying a home, many of us dream about that luscious backyard for hosting barbecues, maybe relaxing by a pool, creating a safe spot for kids to play, growing a few flowers, and establishing a place where we can forget the responsibilities of life and the office for a while.

It’s a good dream to pursue, and the pergola is a great first option to consider. It is more of a minimal purchase, and with its classic Mediterranean look makes for a beautiful landscape feature.

The amount of decisions that go into turning a dream space into reality can be a bit overwhelming. We’ve had several years experience helping folks choose outdoor and backyard buildings at Ulrich Lifestyle, and have set up a short guide to help you cover a few basic questions.

Skim this Post

  1. Basic facts about pergolas.

  2. What is the difference between a pergola and gazebo, or pavilion?

  3. Should I buy wood or vinyl?

  4. Is building a pergola a good home project?

  5. Show me: design inspirations

Basic Facts about Pergolas

Pergolas are the deluxe version of the garden arbor, and are built open-air with a square or rectangular shape. Most come with a lattice top, making it a perfect place to grow climbing plants, hang flower pots, and create a semi-shaded area for comfortable relaxation. Some pergolas come with an option to purchase extra canvas covers for more shade, and another popular choice is to have one side built in for extra shade or privacy.

What is the difference between a pergola, gazebo or pavilion?

Good question. We have a couple of different blog posts to help you get started with this decision. Pavilions are built with a roof and supports, but no floor, while gazebos are made with floor and roof, and partial sides. Gazebos and pavilions are considered more of an outdoor building, while pergolas provide semi-protection against rain and sun.

Should I buy wood or vinyl?

There are a few considerations. The first question to consider is whether vinyl or wood will better fit the style of your home or business. What is the current siding on your home? Once you decide this question it has already narrowed down a major choice.

The other question is will you want to keep it on a maintenance schedule for re-staining, or keep the vinyl cleaned? Vinyl will typically need to be cleaned every year or every other year, and wood will require a re-stain every 5-10 years. Both of these are somewhat dependent on the climate.

For this stunning pool area the homeowners decided to go with an extra long pergola to fit the area and create several “rooms” for dining and relaxing.

This pergola was set on a base of stone and used to create a classic outdoor dining area. The table would’ve looked fine solo, but the pergola really finished the area.

Is building a pergola a good home project?

It can be done, but if you have no professional experience with construction or installation the short answer is ‘leave-it-to-the-pros.’ A pergola may look like an arbor, but it is a bit more complicated. If you choose to buy, some businesses will include free delivery up to certain distance. General policy with orders through Ulrich Lifestyle is free delivery within a 20 miles radius of our business, and in most cases the installation is already included in the cost of the pergola.

Show me: design inspirations

We’ve collected photos of pergolas we sell to help you get the dreaming started. The best way to know what you want is by seeing ideas of those who have done it before. Each photo may not fit your home exactly, but this is great way to get those random bursts of inspirations for your own space. Enjoy!

Notice how this pergola really turns that whole drinks-and-dining end of the pool into a show-stopping feature. It was lovely as it was, but adding the pergola made it into something really noteworthy.

Here we have more of an area of elegant relaxation. It is still a superb place to gather, but the ambiance is more a sophisticated cocktail party than a pool party. An area such as this can be easily converted from formal into casual, and vice versa.

Pergolas have less sun, wind, and rain protection than gazebos and pavilions. Optional curtains offer added protection.

Some pavilions are designed with an arched roof to give them a more distinctive look.

Almost any pergola can be customized to your preference. To get ideas for options and pricing, or to ask Ulrich Lifestyle specific questions, click here.

Thank you for stopping by!

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