Pergola VS Arbor: Which is Best for Your Home?

Pergola vs Arbor, which one should you choose? Looking at both, one might not note the difference between the two. They are related in various ways. Both of them have an open roof made of lattice or beams supported by posts on the sides. One can have vines and flowers in these outdoor rooms. In this detailed article, we shall look at pergola vs arbor in detail. You will understand more about the similarities and differences between pergolas and arbors. Their characteristics are what defines them. Let us have and look at each of them first.



Arbors are outdoor structures that are placed on a path, entrance, or walkway. Most people love using them in gardens and therefore you can plant vines on them. They are usually used as walkways to areas and therefore can be used as resting places. This is why they boast a design of taller heights than pergolas. They are also small in size, unlike per


pergola structure
pergola structure

These are outdoor rooms with a design of four supporting posts on the side. They are also open and therefore one can see their surroundings. A pergola roof is covered with lattice and has enough flow of air. It is usually made for family gatherings as they are comfortable and ideal for entertaining. These freestanding structures are big in size and will offer much privacy even though they don’t have walls. Some pergolas have an attachable design fitting on one side of a building

Pergolas and arbors-Differences

  • Arbors are much smaller
  • An arbor is taller than a pergola, or decks making it easy for you to pass without hurting your head.
  • Pergolas are ideal for gatherings and entertainment while arbors serve as garden or yard entrance.
  • A pergola is usually wooden while arbors can be made of various materials including metal and vinyl.
  • You can connect a pergola to a house or any other outdoor structure while an arbor stands on its own.
  • Pergolas have trellis which allows you to plant vines and climbing plants on them providing enough shade for you as you rest in the pergola.
  • You can easily do some additions to your pergolas like curtains and furniture but that can’t be done to an arbor.
  • Pergolas such as these white pergola have four posts while arbors have two posts on each side.
  • Another notable difference in a pergola vs arbor is that pergolas can be used to provide a roof for a patio or deck or any outdoor room.
  • Arbors are usually cheaper than pergolas.
  • In terms of space, pergolas often take much space compared to an arbor because of their designs.
  • Pergolas can stand on their own or be attached to a patio or deck while an arbor is made to stand on their own.
  • An arbor provides shelter for not more than two people, unlike a pergola that can host more.

Pergola VS Arbor- Similarities

  • Both of them are outdoor structures and can have a trellis.
  • A cross beam roof design is a notable similarity between the two outdoor rooms.
  • They are both commonly wooden made
  • The two can be decorated with flowers and vines, which provide shade.
  • You can buy the two structures or DIY.
  • Their sides can have lattice or remain open.
  • A pergola and an arbor add a touch of style to your garden or backyard.
  • Both of them do not have walls.

Advantages of a pergola

pergola benefits

Some pergola benefits include:

  • You can grow climbing plants in a pergola that has trellis thus elevating the overall look of your home. Also, these plants give shade. Examples of the plants you can grow in a pergola.
  • Pergolas offer a comfortable environment for relaxing and hosting guests.
  • They add value to your home in case you ever decide to sell it.
  • They can be free-standing or be attached to a house or deck.
  • A pergola canvas offer protection from elements like sun and rain.
  • You can have a kitchen in this structure
  • A pergola perfectly extends the outdoor living space.
  • They create a new privacy level on your patio
  • This open structure enhances family and friends bonding
  • You can often personalize a pergola by adding some furniture and curtains for utmost privacy
  • They are built with easily available materials and easy to choose
  • A pergola is an easy-to-install structure and doesn’t require hiring a contractor.
  • They offer a good site to behold within your backyard
  • Great in subdividing your backyard space and therefore you can have different areas behind or in front of the pergola and use them differently.
  • They are movable
  • They support all kinds of plants and vines.
  • The structures are more versatile
  • Can be used for weddings

Read Next: Pergola VS Gazebo, which is the right structure for your home? 

Disadvantages of a pergola

  • Cost-A pergola being a bigger structure tends to be expensive than an arbor.
  • Space-These structures occupy much space because they are big. This makes them not ideal for a small garden or small yards.
  • Support-Pergolas require support from a garage or house.
  • Durability- This freestanding structure might not last for long. It is exposed to harsh elements that might cause the wood or vinyl material that has made them get spoilt.
  • You have to have to build a pergola up by yourself. This will take much of your time and work.
  • Most of them are light in weight hence not stable.

Advantages of an arbor

  • They perfectly support vines and plants on the trellis.
  • An arbor offers a great entrance to your garden or yard.
  • Another advantage of this structure is that it gives protection from the sun, wind, and other elements thanks to its shade.
  • They add value to your home and increase the selling price of your home.
  • An arbor upgrades your garden and dresses up your backyard especially the one with an open roof.
  • They don’t take much space in your yard.
  • This structure is less expensive.
  • They are easy to install.
  • They add decoration to your path or walkway.
  • There are several materials to choose from when making an arbor.

Disadvantages of an Arbor

  • They are not used to support all types of plants in a garden.
  • They are less practical and more decorative.
  • They can only provide shelter for not more than two people.
  • Difficult to personalize.
  • They are small and light in weight and therefore you have to plant them firmly on the ground.
  • Because they are much smaller, you can use them to cover a patio to large outdoor spaces.

Best climbing plants and vines for pergolas and arbors

There are many beautiful plants and vines that you can grow on your pergola or arbor. Here are some of the most preferred plants that you can grow in your yard.


These plants boast an exotic look and are bee-friendly. You can grow passion flowers in partial shades with well-watered soil. Also, passionflowers can be grown in trellises.


Grapevines grow within the season between summer and winter. Having them grow in your pergola or arbor will offer you a good and dense shade. However, the temptation of picking the fruits might be high.


You will fall in love with the impression of this plant. Its flowers are fragmented and beautiful. When grown in these freestanding structures, Wisteria will often create a good shade beating the hot summer heat in your arbor.

4.Trumpet vine

These vines are known for some exotic tastes and produce showy blooms during the summer season. The blooms are red and orange in color and therefore they will enhance the beauty of the yard.


What is an arbor used for?

A good arbor is used to provide shelter, decoration, and shade in a garden. They also offer some privacy for benches in your yard and gate. Additionally, you can plant vines on them and enhance the look of your garden.

What materials are used to make an arbor?

An arbor can be made using wood or vinyl.

How tall is an arbor?

Since it is meant mostly for people, an arbor should be around 6 feet. This height will ensure that you walk through without bending or squatting.

What can one plant in an arbor?

There are different flowers, fruits and vegetables that can grow in an arbor.

What’s the difference between an arbor and a trellis?

A trellis is a structure with a metallic or wooden framework. Trellises are used to create support for climbers, fruits and vegetable. The difference between a trellis and an arbor is that a trellis is meant for supporting climbers while an arbor is used as a walkway to a gate, backyard or garden.

Conclusion: Pergola vs arbor

A pergola and an arbor play a great role in the appearance of your backyard or garden. They have a roof which is good for the provision of shelter and protection from elements that could hinder your comfort. Additionally, they are commonly made of wood. A good pergola or arbor should be covered with lattice. The benefits that the two bring to your home will give you value for your money. This article has discussed everything you need to know about a pergola and an arbor.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.