pergola vs arbor

Pergolas Overview

Pergolas and arbors are sometimes confused. Both are garden structures covered in latticework that provide shade and add interest to your landscape. But there are distinct differences between the two.

A pergola is a larger structure that has four open walls and a flat or only slightly curved latticework roof. Pergolas are used to cover anything from small walkways to large patios or decks. They can be made of wood, vinyl or metal.

How Much Does a Pergola Cost?

A basic pergola costs approximately $2,000 to $5,000. However, you could pay as much as $10,000 if you opt for expensive materials or build a patio to go underneath the pergola.

Pergolas Pros

  • Entertaining space – If you’re looking to create an outdoor room or entertaining space, you’re looking for a pergola, not an arbor. Most pergolas are large enough to fit a set of patio furniture underneath.
  • More shade – Pergolas provide more shade than arbors. Although most have latticework roofs that won’t provide complete shelter from sun and rain, you can purchase a separate canopy for full protection.
Average Pergolas and Arbor Prices

Pergolas Cons

  • Price – Pergolas are significantly more expensive than arbors.
  • Upkeep – There’s more maintenance work to do with pergolas, simply because of their larger size. There’s more surface area to paint every couple years if you opt for a wood or metal pergola. If you choose a vinyl pergola, there’s more surface area to clean.

Arbors Overview

An arbor is a much smaller latticework structure with an arched top. Arbors are generally used to create an entranceway to a garden or a shaded sitting area. Often, a bench or swing is placed underneath the arbor. Arbors also can be made of wood, vinyl or metal.

How Much Does an Arbor Cost?

Prefabricated garden arbors sell for as little as $200, while high-end or handcrafted arbors sell for as much as $1,000.

Arbors Pros

  • Relaxation spot – If you’re looking to create a quiet, cozy spot for relaxation, you’re looking for an arbor. Arbors are also great for adding a decorative touch to your lawn or garden.
  • Cost – Arbors are relatively inexpensive compared to pergolas, mostly because they’re much smaller.

Arbors Cons

  • Size – Arbors look pretty, but they’re not very functional when it comes to creating an entertaining space. They’re better suited for decoration or a creating a quiet spot for one or two people to relax.

Author: Ashley Smith

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