24 Perfect Pergola Designs for Your Garden

Wooden pergola in front of sun and foliage

The Spruce / Almar Creative

What used to be called a patio roof is now commonly referred to as a pergola―it provides shelter from the sun, rain, and wind while extending your home's living space. A major architectural structure, pergolas consist of rafters, beams, and posts, and can be attached or detached to a house. While opinions vary on what differentiates it from a gazebo, usually a gazebo is freestanding and has a pitched roof, while a pergola's roof is flat. The terms arbor and pergola are often used interchangeably, but an arbor is more of a structure used to support vines or to direct foot traffic within a garden.

If you have a patio or deck, a rooflike structure will extend the amount of time you spend outdoors entertaining guests or relaxing. With the growing popularity of outdoor living spaces, it can increase a home's value. Before jumping into a pergola project, consider the following:

  • Orientation: North, south, east, or west-facing.
  • Materials: These can include hardwood to plywood, metals, prefabricated materials, fabric, and glass.
  • Budget: The two biggest expenses will be labor and materials. If your budget is limited (and that's most of us), this is where resourcefulness, smart planning, DIY skills, and creativity come into play.
  • Contractor vs. DIY: Who is going to build it? Will it be a do-it-yourself project or will you hire a contractor? A prefab pergola kit is an alternative.
  • Building codes: Also, who is going to design it? Most outdoor structures require the approval of a building inspector or planning commissioner. Your local government office should have guidelines on setback and height restrictions.
  • Zoning laws: Do you need to obtain city, county, or regional zoning laws and approvals? Depending on where you live, this process can take a long time, so stay on top of it if you want the project done within the next few months or even year. Committees sometimes meet sporadically and applications can fall through the cracks. 

We've found 25 diverse pergolas that represent different styles, sizes, materials, and budgets certain to inspire you!

  • 01 of 24

    Cedar and Reclaimed Barn Wood

    Pergola attached to brick home
    Sweet Pea Design

    After completing the interior renovations of this charming, 1920s-era home in Chicago’s northern suburbs, the team at Studio Brunstrum added a limestone patio sheltered by a natural cedar pergola trimmed with reclaimed barn wood. The pergola anchors and defines a curvaceous patio and rear entry while providing architectural interest, texture, and heft. The natural cedar, which will turn gray over time, is a rustic complement to the vintage bricks of this nearly 100-year-old home, while the barn wood is echoed in the shutters on the carriage house.

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  • 02 of 24

    Southwestern Patio

    Southwestern-style pergola and patio
    Forte Homes

    Connecting to three exterior walls of this Chandler, Arizona-based home, the rugged-beamed pergola shelters this area into a courtyard-style patio. Not only does it unify the area, but the roof also helps to cool down rooms inside, helping to cut down on air conditioning use. The home was designed and built by Forte Homes.

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  • 03 of 24

    Cleveland Contemporary

    Modern pergola on a swimming pool patio
    9th Avenue Designs

    While the architectural style of this house in the Cleveland, Ohio suburb of Pepper Pike is considered traditional, its backyard and pergola are contemporary or even modern. Designed by ​9th Avenue Designs, the pool is rectangular, the landscaping echoes or frames the pool and patio, and the pergola is flat and simple. A sleek, modern outdoor sectional, rectangular fire pit and slat tables make this a clean, inviting space.   

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  • 04 of 24

    Outdoor Dining

    Pergola over an outdoor dining table
    Michele Lee Willson Photography

    Built between two outside walls, this pergola takes on an arbor-like role in that it supports vines and a New Zealand tree fern (which resembles a feathered palm). Constructed by Bay Area Custom Homes, the home is located in Atherton, California.

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  • 05 of 24

    Midcentury Ranch Pergola

    Minimalist pergola
    CJ South / Exactly Designs

    Space between the new addition of this Detroit-area house and the garage became a deck. Homeowner Elin Walters of Exactly Designs added a partition wall to block her family's view of their next-door neighbors and serve as a window treatment for the sliding door. The pergola ceiling is made of plumbing pipe, while the house, partition, and garage are faced in cement board. 

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  • 06 of 24

    Light-Filtering Pergola

    Traditional pergola
    Tom Olcott

    Designed by Emeritus Design & Planning ​in Nantucket, Massachusetts, this pergola helps define the south-facing outdoor space, which is located directly off the interior living areas and filters the strong southern light. The pergola also serves to animate the space as the sun moves from east to west throughout the day.

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  • 07 of 24

    Pergola in Paradise

    Pergola with outdoor firepit
    Tropical Light Photography

    On the southwestern shores of Maui, this Makena Beach home designed and built by Architectural Design & Construction, Inc. features seamless transitions from indoors to outdoors. Not surprisingly, from any angle, the view is breathtaking—whether it's the turquoise sea, lush tropical trees, or carefully selected native plants throughout the landscape. Supported by stone-covered posts, the wood beams and rafters are flat, simple, horizontal, and do not block that view. The architect was Nishikawa Architects, Inc. and interior designer was Ahura Designs.

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  • 08 of 24

    Hot Tub Hideaway

    Pergola for hot tub
    Paradise Restored

    While this pergola doesn't project too far from the back of the house, it does serve an important purpose: It provides shelter and privacy for the homeowners' hot tub. Designed and built by Paradise Restored, the Portland, Oregon yard was completely redesigned to incorporate separate areas of activity that blend effortlessly.

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  • 09 of 24

    Greenwich Pergola

    Pergola over an outdoor patio with dining area
    Nathaniel Cooper

    While an overhead is practical, it also creates a dynamic architectural element to a landscape. Luminosus Designs' simple wooden pergola makes the outdoor dining area more intimate while providing shelter.

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  • 10 of 24

    Pergola in a Petite Space

    Pergola and pool
    Andrea Calo Photography

    Austin, Texas Architect Elizabeth Baird cleverly worked around the challenge of a small space by incorporating a casita (pool house), pool/spa, patio, deck, built-in seating, and a pergola. The custom-built steel trellis was welded from steel pipe, with part of it sitting on a custom wood and concrete bench. The challenge of working with limited space: smart design and creating levels, or using vertical space.

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  • 11 of 24

    Shady in Austin

    Large pergola off a farmhouse style home
    Casey Dunn Photography

    Austin architectural firm Webber Studio Architects designed a pergola that extends from the back exterior wall of the house, using the same materials and colors. Ideally, a pergola and outdoor space are designed at the same time as the house, and everything relates. Lime green chairs provide a pop of color to the subtle taupe/brown and tan of the structure.

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  • 12 of 24

    Urban Escape

    Tiny backyard pergola
    Arjan Boekel

    In Amsterdam, where outdoor space is tight, a basement door leads to an outdoor living room sheltered by a pergola. Designed by Arjan Boekel, the outdoor space is an even mix of plants and hardscape. The pergola is covered with outdoor shade cloth, and lights were added for evening use.

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  • 13 of 24

    Desert Beauty

    Desert-style pergola
    Beau MacDonnell

    For this Arizona backyard, Elle Interiors handled everything from furniture selections and placements to materials and overall exterior design schemes and plans. The firm is well-versed in plants and trees suitable for the Arizona climate. Cushions and pillows in jewel tones help to create a stunning outdoor oasis.

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  • 14 of 24

    Custom Shades

    Pergola with fabric sun-shade
    Dian Garbarini

    Instead of using the standard 2 by 2-foot slats that tend to warp, Dian Garibaldi of Designs by Dian's solution was custom-fabricated fixed Roman solar shading panels that provide filtered shade. Made of Phifer shading material, the panels block out about 90 percent of the sun's harmful rays. To clean, just hose off as needed. The panels also help to cool down the home's interior, saving energy by cutting down on air conditioner use.

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  • 15 of 24

    Tranquil Space

    Rattan pergola
    Jodi G Designs

    Santa Barbara, California-based Jodi G Designs focuses on interiors and landscapes—a growing necessity in California and other warm climates, where outdoor spaces need just as much design and detail as interiors. This is Jodi's home in nearby Montecito, which is a Balinese-style retreat. Thatch-roofed palapa/pergolas give authenticity to the rainforest-like landscape, which features lush, tropical plants and places to meditate and relax.

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  • 16 of 24

    Modern Pergola

    Pergola made of wooden beams
    Dale Alocock Homes

    Inspired by the Midcentury modern style, materials, and colors, this outdoor space by Dale Alcock Homes in Perth, Australia features an inset concrete block feature and pergola with panels that allow light to shine through. 

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  • 17 of 24

    Wild West

    Western-style pergola
    David Wakely

    A rustic, California ranch-style home designed by the Carlson Design Group and ​built by Carroll & Strong Builders incorporates a wood-beam pergola under the tile roof that cools off the porch. The house is located in Santa Lucia.

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  • 18 of 24

    Mountain High

    Rustic pergola off a farmhouse
    HighCraft Builders

    Designed and built by HighCraft Builders, this charming, cozy country house in the foothills of Loveland, Colorado features a cross-beam pergola decorated with string lights for simple gatherings to dine or gather around the fire pit.

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  • 19 of 24

    Kitchen Pergola

    Outdoor kitchen pergola
    9th Avenue Designs

    In order to be used for as many months as possible, 9th Avenue Designs created this custom-built outdoor kitchen in Cleveland, Ohio with a pergola and fireplace, which provide warmth and shelter as the homeowners grill and dine.

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  • 20 of 24

    California Dreamin'

    Beach-style pergola
    Meghan Beierle-O'Brien

    For a California coastal house with an ocean view, SFA Design created an outdoor room with a clean, flat-roofed pergola in soft greys and off-white.

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  • 21 of 24

    Solid Cover

    Pergola with stone pillars
    HighCraft Builders

    Supported by posts sunk into stone pedestals, this solid pergola from HighCraft Builders is illuminated with light strands to coax people outdoors in the evening.

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  • 22 of 24

    Private Porch and Pergola

    Pergola on an all-white house
    Mariko Reed Photography

    Architectural firm Zero Ten Design collaborated with landscape architects Randy Theume Design, ZFA Structural Engineers, and Beaman Construction for a contemporary farmhouse in Napa, California. This gazebo is off the primary bedroom, providing a  private retreat on the covered deck.

    About This Term: Primary Bedroom

    Many real estate associations as well as the Real Estate Standards Organization have classified the term "Master Bedroom" as potentially discriminatory. "Primary Bedroom" is the name now widely used among the real estate community and better reflects the purpose of the room.

    Read more about our Diversity and Inclusion Pledge to make The Spruce a site where all feel welcome.

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  • 23 of 24

    Solarium and Pergola

    Solarium and pergola
    Darragh Hehir

    A rooftop deck in Milan, Italy includes a solarium with an attached pergola that supports climbing vines. Walls are painted in plum–repeating accents throughout the interior of this modern urban home. Courtesy of Darragh Hehir Photography.

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  • 24 of 24

    Quad Scotia Beams

    Pergola with outdoor fireplace
    HighCraft Builders

    The ends of beams or rafters in a pergola have names to identify how they are cut. Most are designed to complement a home's architectural style. This particular cut, from HighCraft Builders, is a quad Scotia.