Pergola Designs of All Shapes and Sizes

Welcome to the wide world of outdoor pergolas.  When learning about the different types of pergola designs or you’re researching how to build a pergola, there are several different approaches one can take.  As we’ll discuss in this article, there are different considerations to keep in mind depending on what your backyard or entertaining needs are.  The design of your pergola should take these into account in order to give you the best possible functionality.  No matter how you build your pergola shade is the key benefit.

Realize that we’re talking about the basic concepts or pergola ideas from which you can expand upon if you have any building knowledge of your own.  If you’re a DIY type of person, then this can prove to be a very rewarding project as a well-built pergola can last you many years.  Different patio design ideas will lend themselves to using a variety of materials to best suit your tastes and needs.  If you need or would like more detailed help, consider pergola design software that you can purchase online.  This will give you the ability to plan and design a wide variety of variables to take into account.

Pergola Styles

Here, we’ll list and discuss some of the various features and benefits of the different types of pergolas.  The overall idea is that you can use the basic pergola ‘skeleton’ or ‘backbone’ and build a variety of structures.  The names or styles of each are more a description of their look than anything else.  You can get a better idea of this by reading our article about pergola pictures.

As one example is the acute angle shape that you can build into your backyard patio space.  This would occur when space is an awkward dimension or has a specific need to fill.  Some patio covers are required to fit into tight spaces between a neighboring wall and the home itself.  To create any type of shaded area, an acute angle may be needed between these component parts.

Attached Pergola

This type of design includes the use of an existing wall of the home or other building structure to form a structural component of the pergola.  In many cases, like with the free standing pergola, the entire structure needs no additional support.  The attached version requires a ledger board anchored to the home or building.  This will create one end of the support structure for your patio roof.  The other end will be provided by the posts.

Free standing Pergola

Cedar Pergola Arbor has an adjustable opening. SAVE! Landscaping accent! Beautify any yard with this gorgeous all-wood Pergola Arbor. It’s made of genuine cedar, that naturally resists the elements. Unlike others, the opening of this beauty is fully adjustable from 36, 42 or 48″ wide to meet your needs. Perfect for sidewalks, gates or yard entryways. Assembly required. Weighs 55 lbs. Order Now! Please Note: This is a Heavy / Bulky item. .00 for heavy / bulky shipping and handling will be charged in addition to regular shipping and handling. Pergola Arbor.

With this type of design, the pergola is actually a free standing structure.  This requires no attachments to any other structures, thus the name.  With this design, you will need to have footers poured or use an existing slab.  Depending on the frost line in your particular climate zone, you may need to dig fairly deep to get the right depth for the footers.  In some cases, checking with your local building codes for your city will be necessary.  There are also issues with home owner’s associations (HOAs) so that may be another point to consider in your situation.

Covered Pergola

In the traditional sense, the lattice roof pergola is the most common.  Lattice is just a term that describes the way in which the wooden slats (wood in most cases) are laid that create a dappled shade effect.  That is to say, these slats are laid in a fashion that provides not only an aesthetic appeal to the roof, but it provides for shade when you need it most.  It can also provide a structure upon which you can have vines, plants and other climbing vegetation to grow.  This helps soften the look of the wooden structure and can even give you flowers if your plants allow.  These types of covered patio designs are some of the most popular and provide a lot of flexibility in terms of use.

Now you can enjoy the beauty and elegance of a gorgeous arched pergola – right in your own back yard with this . Take time to relax beneath this beautifully-crafted structure by creating your own outdoor living room today. The Sonoma pergola is sized at 10′ x 10′ and is made from white cedar wood, dip stained and precision cut. This pergola comes ready to assemble and includes an anchor system. Offers privacy, along with wind and sun protection. Optional lattice shade roof, privacy wall and decorative base.

These types of roofs are great for a variety of reasons.  Some newer models also have a motorized lattice assembly that can open and close, adjusting to the angle of the sun’s rays for maximum shade protection. If you are looking for a more solid type of cover, you can utilize many of the same elements that your traditional roof would be constructed of – shingle, metal or tile.  You can also choose to opt for a solar patio cover.  This type of cover provides you with solar panels atop your patio structure, giving you electricity that can help power your home or offset your home’s energy use.  Patio cover designs that incorporate these ‘green’ features are certainly going to be a greater, more sustainable way to build into the future.

Wooden Pergola

Most pergola plans involve the use of wood in some fashion.  It may be a bit redundant, but it’s still worth mentioning the materials that can be used to build a pergola.  By far, wooden pergolas are the most common.  The type of wood you choose will depend upon your needs, but a wood that weathers and ages well will be your best choices.  Woods like cedar, redwood and even some sustainably harvested exotics can create an elegant looking pergola.  The simple style of the pergola will give you a handsome look all its own.

The post and beam shape doesn’t need to be adorned too much to create a great outdoor room or living space.  With the proper choice in woods, a nice water-resistant stain can provide you with a striking look.  You will need to invest some energy each year or so maintaining the wood, but it is an investment that can last many years.  One way to avoid the maintenance issue is to use an alternative material.  Some patio cover kits even give you the ability to build a structure in even less time, with an easier time getting square joints that are more solid, too.

Pergola Kits


Grab a cool drink and settle in for a relaxing afternoon under our 12′ x 16′ Breeze Pergola. A pre-cut, notched and pre-drilled kit, this pergola is easy to assemble, functional and great looking. Enjoy a little bit of shade with whole lot of style.


  • Western Red Cedar construction
  • Pre-cut kit; no cutting required
  • Notched and pre-drilled girders
  • Notched and pre-marked joists
  • 6 posts, size 5 3/8″ x 5 3/8″ tight knot construction
  • Hardware included (screws, nails and lag bolts)
  • Step by step detailed assembly manual
  • Dimensions:
  • Post Height: 108″
  • Outside Post to Post Depth: 144″
  • Outside Post to Post Width: 192″
  • Outside Post to Center Post: 87 3/4″
  • 1 1/2″ x 5 1/2″ girders and joists
  • Post mounts not included in kit
  • Curbside Delivery Information:Delivery agents will unload your items from the truck, but will not move the items inside your home or business. You will need to have the ability to move your items at the time of delivery. Drivers do not assist with unpacking, set-up or clean up. The delivery company will call and schedule the time for the delivery, usually M-F 8AM-5PM, and span a 4-hour period. A signature is required for delivery, but before accepting and/or signing for your delivery, please inspect your order thoroughly. Please include a daytime phone number in the shipping information at the time of check out.
  • These pergola kits are really nothing more than patio cover plans that have been pre-made or measured for you.  Often, the brackets and wood are included.  You may be responsible for the hardware to assemble it and the tools, but much of the materials are provided.  Alumawood™ is a material that is a vinyl coated aluminum patio cover choice that can give you that near maintenance-free aspect.  It can be embossed or stamped to create the look of a real wood grain pattern.  They also come in colors that can mimic a wood stain or popular choices like white and brown tones.  While not custom pergolas, they can still be used in a way that gives your patio a unique look.

    Pergola Lighting

    One more aspect to great design always come down to lighting.  Outdoor lighting is no exception and it is something that can greatly enhance the look and feel of your patio and backyard space.  There are options with respect to how you light your pergola.  There are ways of ‘up’ lighting your pergola columns or posts, so that you achieve a more dramatic effect.  This will give your pergola more of a elegant appearance at night.  Then, there is another option of using spot lights or recessed lights hidden among the rafters to create spot lighting where you need it.  Any truly elegant and functional pergola designs will incorporate one or more aspects of these lighting ideas.

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