A pergola is one of the most effective ways to add interest to your landscape. Whether you’re looking to bring shade to your outdoor living space or create additional patio space, pergolas provides a simple, cost-effective solution that will add value to your home. And because they are versatile in design, they can be customized to complement many styles of home or landscape.

Rick’s Custom Fencing & Decking has put together the infographic below to help homeowners visualize some of the most common types and styles of pergolas.

[Click image for full size version]

Outdoor Living in Style With Pergolas

Outdoor Living in Style With Pergolas

A hot landscaping feature in the western U.S., pergolas are catching on across the nation as homeowners seek to enhance their outdoor living areas.

What Makes a Pergola?

  • Open rafters or add polycarbonate roof for weatherproofing
  • Simple rugged construction
  • Support posts
  • Can be free-standing or attached to home

Facts About Pergolas

Ancient Egyptians built pergolas to provide shade in their gardens – some of which were placed on upper stories of their homes.

Pergolas were depicted in murals as early as the 1st century AD in Pompeii, Italy.

They resurfaced during the Italian Renaissance and were later incorporated as covered walkways into some of England’s greatest gardens.

In the U.S., home designers Gustav Stickley incorporated pergola porches and arbors into his Craftsman-style homes.

Types of Pergolas

  • Traditional / Open Top
  • Gabled
  • Arched
  • Promenade
  • Pitched

Vinyl VS. Cedar

Vinyl and cedar are two of the preferred materials for building pergolas. But which to choose?


  • Vinyl: Immune to weather, insects & rot
  • Cedar: Resistant to weather, insects & rot


  • Vinyl: Typically available in white or ivory
  • Cedar: Natural wood – can be stained or painted


  • Vinyl: Never needs staining or painting
  • Cedar: Can be left natural but regular refinishing prolongs its life


  • Vinyl: Won’t succumb to the elements – lifetime warranty
  • Cedar: Long-lasting but will degrade over time

Why Build a Pergola?

Create an Outdoor Room

Top reasons for adding an outdoor room:

  • Create space to relax
  • Spend more time outside
  • Add value to a home
  • Extend a home’s living space
  • Create a space to entertain

Provide Shade

Pergolas beat most other types of outdoor shade for popularity.

  • Arbors – 89%
  • Pergolas – 85%
  • Awnings – 53%
  • Pavilions – 52%
  • Columns – 50%
  • Gazebos – 49%

Highlight a Walkway

The pergola is a more permanent architectural version of the “green tunnels” used in late Medieval and early Renaissance gardens to provide a cool, shady passageway out of the rain.

Support Climbing Plants

Common pergola climbers:


  • Clematis
  • Honeysuckle
  • Grapevine
  • Wisteria
  • Climbing Rose
  • Trumpet Vine
  • Black-Eyed Susan Vine