When talking shady structures there are generally three options you will encounter; pergolas, covered patios and pavilions. Though sometimes the terms are used interchangeably, there are differences between the three. And to understand which one is right for your space, it’s helpful to understand these differences.

What is a pergola?

Pergolas are a traditional form of shade covering that are free standing. These structures are held up by columns or posts and typically utilize a slatted roof structure. Pergolas were first utilized in the Mediterranean where the slatted style rood provided filtered shades to gardens. Pergolas very rarely have a solid roof, and most often are rectangular or square in shape. They offer a perfect place to introduce climbing plants such as roses and ivy that add both beauty and additional shade. In addition, some homeowners choose to use UV resistant retractable canopies that provide the option of allowing the area to be open to sunlight or shaded.

What is a patio cover?

Though it may seem like a catch-all term, patio cover actually refers to a specific type of roof. One of the key differences to a pergola is that a patio cover is attached to another permanent structure such as a house or garage. Patio covers function as an extension of a house, providing a definite space of the outdoor living area. They are typically solid roofed structures and are held up by posts. The materials used in patio covers is determined based on the attached structure. The roofing material and even supporting structure are designed to blend seamlessly with the house or garage. One of the main advantages to building a patio cover is that it provides shade to nearby windows, which can reduce indoor cooling costs.

What is a pavilion?

Pavilions are stand-alone covered structures. A pavilion can give you the best of both the pergola and a patio cover. They give you shade and shelter in an area away from your house. Many pavilions become the epicenter of an outdoor living area, housing the outdoor kitchen, living room or party room under them.

So, what do you choose?

Deciding between a pergola and a covered patio starts with understanding the key differences. Pergolas are stand-alone structures best used to define an outdoor space. They offer more filtered light to reach the area. They are perfect for a space that has growing greenery.

If you prefer to extend your living area, and require more shade a patio cover might be right for you. They provided excellent structural integrity for outdoor entertainment areas. An outdoor patio becomes an extension of your home, it turns your outdoor living area into an open air room.

If you want the freedom of the pergola, but with the cover of a patio then a pavilion could be right for you.

Patios, pavilions and pergolas can all offer a range of practical solutions that will enhance the quality of life in your outdoor space. They all add to the beauty and value of your home. 

No matter your choice, our design process can help ensure that all your plans for your yard meet your expectations. From concept to fruition, we have the experience and expertise to bring your backyard dream into your backyard reality.