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Different types of pergolas and their pros and cons

Pratic Pergola Nomo - sold by London Essex Outdoor Living


A garden pergola is an exciting addition to any back garden or yard. It can help to transform an otherwise dead space in your garden into a cosy, comfortable socialising space, or area where you can relax in shade away from the sun and/or the elements. There are many benefits to installing a pergola at your home, and a few different styles and materials to choose form. Whatever you decide, you’ll end up with the right choice for your needs.


What materials are used to manufacture pergolas?


You’ll find that most people choose between wooden pergolas and aluminium pergolas, so we’ll focus on the pros and cons of these, though there are still some people who like plastic pergolas as they do withstand the elements and offer longevity.


Wooden pergolas

Wooden pergolas have been a design choice since the 1640s, Pergolas have often been used in parks and gardens as a way of growing climbing plants, and by necessity were built with wood originally. Timber is very versatile and sustainable as a material, working well for smaller projects like back garden pergolas or patios where there is not a lot of daily use. The drawbacks include the need to stain or paint the wood to protect it from the elements, and also the chance of insect activity and problems that are associated with moisture. Over time, a wooden pergola is susceptible to cracking and chipping. Over time it may suffer from dry rot and become less stable.


Aluminium pergolas

Aluminium pergolas are just as attractive as wooden pergolas and offer low levels of maintenance, stronger durability and offer versatility. When you are looking for a more modern design for your pergola, using aluminium as the material opens up a wider choice of options. They are also much better suited to urban landscaping when compared with timber, so for a certain style of home and garden, the aluminium pergola fits really well.


What are the different styles of pergolas?


There are a few different styles of pergolas that are suitable for different gardens and patio setups. Take a look at the options and decide what is best for your specific garden and needs.


Collapsible pergolas


These look great as temporary structures that are designed to be easily folded away after use, whether at the end of each night or after the summer months. Good for lower budgets and lightweight enough that make them easy to install, they are also not that robust against the elements and can sometimes not look as grand as a permanent pergola structure because they are temporary.


Attached pergolas


Sometimes called lean-to pergolas, these are attached directly to an external wall of a house and also include some supporting posts along the front. It opens up the area that you are installing them in and offers extra robustness than a collapsible pergola. 


Free-standing pergolas


These pergolas are a fantastic addition to an open garden space, allowing your creative juices to flow as you can transform any area with a pergola, creating a free-standing structure for socialising or as a quiet, contemplative area of the garden.


Bioclimatic pergolas


This is an adjustable pergola. The bioclimatic edition allows you to regulate light and temperature with ease, offers greater wind protection than the other types of pergolas, has greater protection from the rain, and offers versatility and energy efficiency. The downsides are that the price might be a little more expensive, and you might need to prepare the land a bit more thoughtfully, employing a professional pergola installation service.


Your choice of pergola could come down to a style issue and your preference for a certain style of pergola, it might be down to energy efficiency in the type of material used to produce the pergola, or as simple as what fits the space available to you and the budget you have. Every person and garden is different, and there is a pergola to suit everyone.


Once you have decided what type of pergola you would like for your garden the next stage is to choose a supplier that also offers professional pergola installation. You want to ensure that whatever design choice you have made, and the materials used to build the pergola, that it is installed with care and professionalism. That way, you know that it will function exactly as you intend it to and that it will be robust against the elements. Whether you are searching for a pergola for the season, something that can be folded and put away, or a permanent structure that is a centrepiece of your garden aesthetic, having a professional company to offer advice and practical guidance always helps.