Should My Pergola Be Attached?

To attach or not to attach? That is the question. When it comes to planning your pergola, that is.

One of the most significant decisions you will make concerning your pergola is whether it will be attached to your home or freestanding. While neither option is wrong, one might just be a better fit for your space and your needs.

Attached Pergolas

An attached pergola is an outdoor shade cover boasting a lattice-style roof. The roof is supported by beams on one side and attached to a home’s wall on the opposite side. This type of pergola is essentially an addition to your home.


  1. Seamless Extension of the Home– In addition to being visually appealing, a pergola attached directly to the home creates a seamless extension of your living space. Walking out into your pergola will feel just like walking from one room to another inside your home.
  2. More Protection From the Elements– Since one side of an attached pergola is a solid wall of your home, and it provides more protection from the elements. This means more shade and fewer wind and rain intrusions. An attached pergola also prevents you from having to brave the blazing sun to get to your shaded area. You simply have to walk out the door of your home. No umbrellas, sun hats, or even shoes are needed.
  3. Less Expensive– An attached pergola uses fewer supplies than a freestanding one, so the former is often less expensive.
  4. Structurally Secure– Having support from the exterior wall of your home creates a structure that is exceptionally sturdy and secure.
  5. Less Required Space– Without the need for additional posts, attached pergolas allow for a higher amount of open space.
  6. Improved Energy Efficiency– An attached pergola not only provides shade to your patio area but to your home as well. This shade will help keep your home cooler, improving your home’s energy efficiency.
  7. Accessories– Being connected to the house makes adding accessories to a pergola a breeze. Adding electricity to an attached pergola for TVs and lighting is much easier than adding it to a freestanding one.


  1. More Permanent– While the permanency of an attached pergola may be considered a benefit to some people, it is a downside to others. If you ever change your mind about the style or design of your pergola, an attached pergola is much harder to remove than a freestanding one.
  2. Permit Required– Because an attached pergola is quite literally an extension of your home, a building permit may be required. Permit requirements vary from state to state and even city to city, so check your local ordinances.
  3. Fewer Design Options– To complete the feeling that your pergola is an extension of your home, you will want to choose colors and styles that match the exterior of your home. This narrows down your options. Additionally, the size and shape of your attached pergola will be based on the size of the exterior wall to which it will be attached.

Where To Install

  1. Backyard Deck or Patio Area– The most common spot for attached pergolas is as a cover for patio or deck areas in the backyard. This location makes the perfect spot for outdoor dining and entertaining. Consider adding an outdoor kitchen, TV, and comfy furniture, and you will have an outdoor space you never want to leave.
  2. Front Porch– Another optional location for an attached pergola is over the front porch. This type of pergola is perfect if you want an eye-catching, sun-blocking space to watch your kids ride their bikes or share some iced tea with neighbors.

Freestanding Pergola

A freestanding pergola is an outdoor shade structure entirely separate from your home. It is just like an attached pergola, except that no part of the pergola will be attached to your home or any other structure.


  1. Flexibility of Use– Since a freestanding pergola is not connected to any other structure, you have much more flexibility. You can essentially place your pergola anywhere in your yard.
  2. More Design Options– When not attached to your home, there is less need for your pergola to match the same color scheme or style of your home, giving you many more options to choose from. There are more sizing options, as well.
  3. Tranquil Space– Sometimes, you need some peace and quiet outside the hustle and bustle of your home. A freestanding pergola can provide the perfect tranquil space without the need for you to leave your property.
  4. Easier to Build– Freestanding pergolas are often easier to build than their counterparts because there is no structure you need to work around.
  5. More DIY-Friendly– While we highly recommend hiring a professional to install your pergola, a freestanding pergola is a little easier to install if you are set on doing it yourself.
  6. Less Likely to Need a Permit– Depending on the codes for your area, a detached structure such as a freestanding pergola may not require a permit. But, as stated above, check with your local ordinances.


  1. Added Exposure– A freestanding pergola is open on all sides. This means more sunlight and wind-driven rain will find their way into your shaded area unless you purchase outdoor roller shades.
  2. More Materials– Not being attached to an existing structure means more materials are required when constructing this type of pergola.
  3. Brave the Elements– Unlike attached pergolas, freestanding pergolas will require you to brave the elements in order to reach the area.

Where to Install

The best perk to choosing a freestanding patio cover is that you can install it anywhere in your yard.

  1. Activity Areas– Playgrounds, pickleball courts, and pools will become even more enjoyable with adjacent shaded areas. Parents can stay cool while watching their kids. Also, those playing will have the perfect place to take a break.
  2. Carport– If your home isn’t equipped with a garage or you just need more space, a pergola can also be made into a stylish carport on the side of your home.
  3. Viewpoint– If you have mountains or a lake you can see from your yard or the perfect spot to watch the sunset, you’ll want to install your pergola somewhere you can enjoy these beautiful views regularly.

Whether you add an elegant extension to your home with an attached pergola or opt to highlight the center of your yard with a freestanding one, one thing is sure; you are about to take your outdoor entertaining to the next level.

Your new pergola will be the perfect place to host parties, relax with a good book, or simply enjoy the beauty of your own backyard. So, what are you waiting for? Contact a patio cover contractor today!

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