Patio vs Pergola: Find the Best Outdoor Shade Solution for Your Home

Patio vs Pergola: Find the Best Outdoor Shade Solution for Your Home

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Lifestyle Patios

Both patios and pergolas can be a great way to enhance your outdoor space, but which is right for your home? With advantages associated with both options, you’ll need to weigh up the benefits of each to determine whether a patio or pergola is most suited to your requirements.

Whether you want to create an adaptable and useable space with a patio or cultivate an intimate, shaded area to enhance your garden, a patio or pergola is sure to bring a smile to your face.

What is a patio?

Traditionally, a patio was an uncovered area of your backyard, designed for various uses. Adorned with garden furniture, a patio can be used to dine al fresco or for social gatherings outside. Alternatively, you can design a patio to include a firepit, barbecue, raising seating and even built-in paddling pools.

Whilst patios used to be open-air, today’s patios can be covered to ensure you’re shaded from the heat. With both permanent covers and retractable awnings, you can create a versatile patio, and use the space however you see fit.

Whether you want to create a long-term outdoor space for entertaining, a functional space for the family with toys and play equipment, or somewhere to plant a range of stunning shrubs, flowers and roses, a patio is a great way to use your outdoor space.

What is a pergola?

Pergolas are most-commonly used as backyard structures to support climbing plants and shrubs. Bedecked with flowering blooms and lush greenery, a pergola enhances any garden environment, and can be as ornate as you like.

As pergolas have soared in popularity, they have become more varied. They can be any size, so you can opt for a small pergola as an eye-catching feature or a larger structure to provide additional features. With ornate designs and inscriptions, pergolas can be a stunning addition to your outdoor environment and can be as versatile as you like.

Usually made from wood, polycarbonate and metal, pergolas can be suited to any type of property. Furthermore, the choice of materials available ensures pergolas are hardwearing and long-lasting, in any weather conditions.

What’s the difference between a patio and pergola?

Patio Pergola
Often used for outdoor entertaining Predominantly used as an ornate garden feature
Increased versatility Some alternative functions
Various shading and roof options Limited shading, depending on the structural integrity of the pergola
Can be enhanced with built-in firepits, paddling pools etc. Can be used to support climbing plants and shrubs
Ideal for households of any size Perfect for keen gardeners
Usually a more solid and permanent structure Can last for years but may be moved or altered

As you can see, there are many differences between patios and pergolas, but both offer a range of benefits. Whilst patios are arguably more functional, pergolas are aesthetically-pleasing and can beautify your garden in an instant.

When it comes to shade, you can adapt both pergolas and patios to offer increased shade. With a permanent roof covering, for example, a patio can provide protection from the sun, even in the height of summer. Whilst you can add shading to a pergola, it will depend on the size and structure. If you have a relatively lightweight pergola installed, for example, it may not be able to support heavier roofing materials, which could limit the amount of shade provided.

Although some people assume that patios and pergolas are essentially the same, but made from different materials, this isn’t always the case. In fact, pergolas were traditionally used solely to enhance the aesthetic of gardens, rather than as a versatile and functional space. It is only since new materials have been used that the functions of both patios and pergolas have adapted.

With more effective lightweight shading options, pergolas have been able to provide appropriate levels of shading, which means they can be adapted to provide a relaxing place to sit and enjoy your garden. Similarly, with the transition from open-air patios to covered patios, they have become much more versatile and user-friendly.

When you’re choosing between a pergola and a patio, you’ll need to evaluate how you want to use your garden and what you’ll get the most benefit from. Whilst a patio can be adapted to suit almost any needs, a pergola may not have quite as many functions. On the other hand, a pergola can enhance your outdoor space by providing a shaded area, complete with in-built plant support.

Of course, if you really can’t decide between the benefits of a covered patio or a shaded pergola, you could always opt for both!