Pergola vs Arbor

Creating pleasant patio covers can seem challenging at first glance, especially if you’ve just started decorating your garden. But if you did a little bit of research, you’ve definitely come across two terms – pergola and arbor. These terms are quite often used interchangeably when describing outdoor living structures, but they are far from being the same. So, when it comes to pergola vs arbor, what is their main difference, and which structure is ideal for your backyard?

In this article, we will explore the details behind pergolas and arbors, their similarities and differences, to help you make the right decision about your patio space.

Pergola vs Arbor

Although these two structures have similarities in their composition and add a distinct visual appeal to landscapes, their difference lies in their specific purpose. 

The arbor is often used as an entrance to the yard and garden, while the pergola is a larger structure that functions as a living space. This is just the main difference between the two; however, they have more differences and similarities than this.

Pergola vs Arbor


Pergola vs arbor similarities

Both Arbor and pergola share similarities which makes them a desirable option for beautifying the outdoor space.

As we said, both structures are used for adding a bit of shade and privacy to outdoor spaces. Both the pergola and arbor are made out of wood with an open roof, and you can add an outdoor fireplace, fire pit, and seating areas if you are looking for a classy and cozy feel during those summer nights. 

A common feature of these two structures is that there are countless ways to adjust them according to the environment and individual preferences. In that way, they can add architectural freshness to the yard or home.

Pergola vs arbor differences

If you can’t decide whether pergola or arbor should be your choice, it is best to look at the differences that will help you make the right decision. These are the key differences that can be decisive for your choice.


The first difference you will notice between these two elements is their appearance. Arbors are generally made of two or four slatted posts with a curved roof. On the other hand, pergolas have four or more columns, while the roof is, in most cases, flat. 

In addition, the sides of pergolas are usually open, while arbors contain a trellis or lattice. Regarding building materials, arbors can be made from composite, metal, vinyl, or wood, while pergolas are made from fiberglass, different types of wood, and other materials. 

If you decide on a combination of several materials, we recommend the best alumawood pergolas, which will fit perfectly into the outdoor setting of your yard.


Whether an arbor or a pergola, the installation depends on several factors, such as size, shape, materials, and design. Regardless of which structure you decide on, in both cases, you must ensure proper installation.

In regard to the installation, pergolas take more time to install due to their size, and you will probably need more people to help you. You can install it yourself, but hiring professionals is advisable to ensure the elements’ quality and durability.

Scale of planting

Although we have already mentioned that these two wood-like structures have similarities when it comes to climbing plants, there are still a few essential details that distinguish them. Namely, the pergola can support larger plants due to its massiveness and structural strength. Many homeowners often opt to include plants to create a green canopy overhead.

On the other hand, the arbor can support climbing plants, but in smaller numbers, due to its structure and strength.

Scale of Planting


Pergola vs arbor pros and cons

Now that you know the difference between arbor and pergola, it is good to know their positive and negative sides.


Pros Cons
More massive construction compared to the Arbor axis More difficult installation
It supports accessories like swings and curtains High-cost price
It provides great shade for gatherings
Multiple plant support


Pros Cons
A cheaper option Not as practical 
Great for decorating paths
Easy to install
Better variant for smaller spaces


When we compare pergola vs arbor we can conclude that both structures play an important role in outdoor design. While arbors highlight decorative elements in the garden and serve mainly as decor, pergolas offer wider outdoor gathering and entertaining spaces. However, your choice between pergola and arbor will mostly depend on your personal preferences and the function of the outdoor elements.

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