Traditionally, pergolas have an open, lattice-style roof and, in contrast to patio covers, are not directly attached to a home or building. Most outdoor living space designers and installers will construct pergolas at the homeowner’s desired location, regardless of whether that happens to be just outside the back door or in the middle of the yard. If you are considering a pergola as a way to enhance your home’s outdoor space, you will need to think about some of the same elements as patio covers.

Location. Pergolas are used most often to provide decoration and some shade for outdoor seating areas and gardens. Typically, they are freestanding structures, even when built over areas that are adjacent to a home. Because pergolas have lattice-style, or open, roofs, many homeowners have them installed in their yards or gardens and train vines and climbing plants to grow on the lattice for additional shade.

Size. Similar to patio covers, pergolas can be built in a range of sizes. Since they are not intended to provide much shelter from rain, however, it isn’t as necessary to take space for outdoor furniture, people, grills, and other elements into consideration.

Material. Wood is a popular choice for pergolas because it weathers well and can be painted or stained. Depending on the style of the home, however, some homeowners opt for materials such as brick, stone, wire, or plastic.