What exactly is a pergola?
Take a look at the pergola definitions below to help you decide.
When designing my first garden, I was confused about the difference between a pergola, a pagoda and gazebo, mainly because pergola and pagoda sound very similar, and a pergola and gazebo seemed to be one and the same thing!
The distinction between the three tends to be blurred, each borrowing style elements from the others. Here are some pergola definitions and pictures to help you.
Where a syllable of a word is marked in bold type, that is the syllable where the emphasis lies.
Synonyms: arbor, arbour, bower.
This is a pergola in Valencia. It clearly shows the supports and rafters found on a pergola. The rafters are flat and run, at intervals, down the length of the pergola structure. The supports have climbing plants growing up them. For a garden pergola, you may have trellising at the sides, as an added support for plants. Pergolas can be constucted out of a wide range of materials including wood, wrought iron, vinyl or brick pillared.
To see free pergola plans, pergola ideas, climbing plants and pergola kits visit - Pergola Home Page
So there are your pergola definitions - now lets take a look at the others.
The picture of the Shitennoji pagoda shows that a pagoda is a much more complex structure, with layer upon layer of pinnacled roof turrets. A garden structure may be 'influenced' by the pagoda style but they would not normally be found in an ordinary garden, although there is one that has come onto the market that definitely reflects the pagoda style...
This gazebo can be found in the Terrazza Mascagni in Livorno, Italy. It shows the covered roof structure typical of the gazebo style.
The roof of a gazebo doesn't have to be completely covered, although it usually has a domed or turreted style. This is where it differs from the pergola, which tends to have flat rafters, unless of course it is an Asian style pergola, which may have turret shaped rafters, reflecting a pagoda style.
The shape here is circular but a gazebo can be any shape, including square, rectangular or multi-sided. Fabric gazebos borrow the turreted style of the pagoda - in fact, try to picture a marquee without the side panels. Fabric gazebos became very popular recently, for dining 'al fresco' (outside - 'in the fresh air'). Gazebos, like pergolas can be made from a variety of materials.
So, to summarise - these three types of structure are closely related in terms of style or construction but they do actually have something that is particularly distinctive.
I hope these pergola definitions - and of course those for the pagoda and gazebo - clear up any confusion you may have had. Like any thing else, it all becomes clear when you know what you are looking for!
Join the 'Love Gardening!' Ezine and receive garden and landscaping tips, exclusive voucher codes and updates to the website. More...
Pitched Roof Hexagonal Pergola
Free Simple Pergola Plans
Attached Lean-to Pergola
Free Raised Bed Plans
"The plans were great, very concise, easy to follow and I couldn't have managed without them!" T.
“Well done for a really useful site!” Mike.
Love the templates for the Rafter Tails! Using Design #5. Thanks so much." Laura.
"I love your website! Your entire site is incredible. I was able to get ideas for my pergola, which looks fantastic." Wayne.
Great service. Now all I have to do is build it! Martin.
"Your plans look amazingly comprehensive. I see you are intending putting the plans for the corner pergola on this fabulous site. Could you please tell me when the corner pergola plans will be available to purchase...yours is the nicest design I have seen." Michelle.
Savings of £53 - £362
Beautiful 'Gainsborough' gazebo
See the 'Fantastic Offers' page for more bargains on pergola kits, tools and all things gardening!