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Pergola vs. Arbor

Patio season, is there anything quite like it? Pergolas and arbors both add intriguing features to your yard, patio or garden, but they can also have very different purposes and styles. While a pergola can be used as a patio roof, arbors are considered decorative accents in a gorgeous garden. Learn the main differences between pergolas and arbors, and decide which one is right to make your outdoor space the place to be this season.


Pergola vs. Arbor






More expensiveLess expensive


More space neededLess space needed

Available as Stand-Alone


Climbing Garden




Advantages of Pergolas

  • Shaded Patio - You can use pergolas with a canopy cover to create a shaded area over your patio for outdoor dining or casual seating sets.
  • Climbing Garden - Pergolas are great for creating a cozy nook with climbing flowers and other vine-like plants that will slowly make their way up and across the structure.

Limitations of Pergolas

  • Cost - Pergolas are often larger structures, and tend to cost more than an arbor.
  • Space - Pergolas often take up a significant amount of space, so they may not be suitable for small yards or gardens.
  • Support - Many pergolas require the support of a large structure like a house or a garage. This type of pergola comes out from the structure and is supported by additional columns.
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Advantages of Arbors

  • Cost - Arbors can be significantly less expensive than pergolas, but small arbors serve a different purpose than large pergolas.
  • Space - Arbors are typically smaller than pergolas, so they take up less space. This makes them more versatile in both location and installment.
  • Garden Entryway - Because arbors are smaller than pergolas, they're ideal for creating an entryway into a garden, with climbing plants surrounding the structure.

Limitations of Arbors

  • Support - Arbors are often lighter and smaller, so they need to be planted firmly in the ground to ensure that they don't tip over during strong winds or storms.
  • Size - Because arbors are often small structures, they can't be used to cover patios or other large outdoor areas. They serve more as gateways and decorative focal points.
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