March 1, 2022

Pergolas Vs. Arbors: How They Relate & Differ

In the midst of a landscape design consultation, two potential recommendations you might hear are pergolas and arbors. Before you opt for one or the other (or perhaps a combination if space allows), get a feel for the shared benefits of these outdoor structures as well as what sets them apart.

Pergolas Vs. Arbors: The Similarities That Bond Them

Pergolas and arbors are outdoor structures that add a distinct visual appeal to landscapes. Typically composed of wood with an open-lattice roof, each structure can help define specific areas of a landscape while adding a bit of shade and privacy to outdoor spaces. 


Patio pergola. Source: Green Impressions

With posts to support plants, both pergolas and arbors can function as a garden space that breathes new life (and provides an extra dose of shade) to your backyard. This can come in the form of vines that wrap around the structures’ posts, or hanging plants that frame in the exteriors. 

Pergolas Vs. Arbors: The Differences Between The Two

The biggest difference between pergolas and arbors is their size. Whereas arbors act more like doorways that invite you into a backyard or guide you between different areas of the space, pergolas are larger structures that function more like a living space. Pergolas are often equipped with lounge seating, TVs, fireplaces, and other amenities reminiscent of the indoors. In some cases, arbors may include bench seating, but they are primarily open structures through which people can walk.


Walkway arbor. Source: Green Impressions

To this end, pergolas serve more as a place where homeowners can entertain themselves and guests. Arbors, on the other hand, function more as an accent piece to your outdoor space that can help direct guests through your backyard. (Both helpful assets when you’re playing host!)

Another common difference between pergolas and arbors is their shape. Arbors typically have an arched roof with beams or latticework on each side, while pergola designs usually have a flat roof supported by four posts — with an open framework on the sides. So while you’ll get shade from the sun on those hot summer days, your pergola still invites in that Northeast Ohio breeze.

The last difference ties back to the placement of pergolas vs. arbors. With pergolas, you have the option to install it as a freestanding structure over a patio area or include it as an extension to your home for easiest access to shade. As gateways within a backyard, arbors can be added to existing fence structures or be installed as a freestanding structure over a walkway.

No Matter the Structure of Choice, Green Impressions Can Help 

Love to entertain? If so, a pergola may be calling your name. Looking to add a little ambiance to your pathways? Then an arbor might be just the right fit. Or maybe you’re seeing the potential for both options in your outdoor space…

Whatever route you choose, Green Impressions can help you design and install your outdoor structures. From patio pergolas to garden arbors, our team has years of experience bringing landscape design ideas to life in Northeast Ohio backyards. Ready to enhance your outdoor living? Contact us today!




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