Design and Ideas

Pergola vs. Patio Cover

By Colby Coward / September 1, 2020

Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

Whether you’re starting from scratch or adding to an already existing outdoor living space, a patio cover or pergola can provide a lot of value. Many homeowners are often stuck in the decision of pergola vs patio cover when trying to plan out their outdoor living space.

Either way, it is important to make sure you know the difference between the two and how each can help bring the perfect finishing touch to your outdoor entertainment space.

Pergolas vs Patio Cover: The Facts

Patio Cover - Aerial view of latticed wood patio cover

A patio cover is a structure that is attached directly to your home. It’s held up by posts or columns and provides shade and protection for your outdoor space. Depending on which type of protection you’re looking for, the roof can be either solid or open (lattice).

The location of your patio cover is dependent on where you need the most protection from the sun or rain. Many homeowners choose to have their patio covers built over their back door. This creates an extension of their interior living space and blocks the heat from pouring into their home.

A pergola is a garden or backyard structure that provides coverage for a walkway or sitting area. While similar to a patio cover, pergolas are often free-standing. They are typically covered with crossbeams and an open or lattice roof. Many homeowners decorate their pergolas with climbing vines, hanging lights, or romantic linens to help create more fun and intimate space. Unlike patio covers that provide weather protection, a pergola’s main purpose is to designate a space for you to entertain your friends and family.

Patio Covers

These days, most homes have some sort of patio in their backyard. Many, however, are left uncovered. Doing this can lead to problems larger than just going without shade on hot summer days. Here are just a few of the many benefits of having a patio cover.

Prevent Weather Exposure

hardscape maintenance - brick and wood pergola with outdoor furniture

Whether your patio is wood, stone, or concrete, over time, weather exposure can cause a lot of damage. Cold weather can lead to cracks and other damage in concrete or stone. Prolonged exposure to rain can cause wood patios to warp and rot. Excessive heat may result in wood fading or becoming dry and brittle. For this reason, wood patios that are left uncovered tend to need more maintenance and upkeep than those that are protected by a patio cover. This typically involves re-staining or re-painting.

Patio Covers versus Pergolas

Which one is right for you? Download our free guide to help you decide!

Protect Your Furniture

The harsh heat from the sun can cause your cushions to fade and the finishing on your hardware to flake and peel. To avoid having to replace your expensive outdoor furniture, a patio cover is key. Covering your furniture and protecting it from the harsh elements can keep it looking great year after year and in any season. And when your patio is covered, you’ll be able to enjoy using your outdoor furniture regardless of the weather

Adds to Your Outdoor Living Space


Patio covers make outdoor entertaining and family time more enjoyable by expanding your home’s livable space. Covering your patio is one of the best ways to ensure that your backyard barbeques and game day parties are safe from poor weather conditions. A patio cover can cover outdoor furniture or an outdoor kitchen or bar. It provides shaded space to get away from the heat and a private place to spend time outdoors.

Keep Your House Cool

Many homeowners don’t know that a patio cover actually helps keep your house cooler during the hot summer months. Increasing the shade around your home helps reduce your energy bills and keeps the interior temperature down. This holds especially true if your patio is directly in the path of the scorching afternoon sun.

Increase Your Home’s Value

Any hardscaping, such as patios and patio covers, can potentially increase the value of your home. These are all good reasons to undergo addition. But the most important is that you’ll get more use out of your patio if it’s covered. Regardless of the weather, you can use your patio as an extension of your home.

Learn More: Outdoor Features with a Big ROI


Outdoor Contractor - Outdoor Living Space with Seating and Outdoor Kitchen

Have you ever wished you had an outdoor space where you could just sit and relax? The weather doesn’t have to be perfect for you to enjoy time outside. A pergola will help you utilize the valuable but unused space in your yard.

Pergolas can be built to fit almost any design preference. They can be made with either curved or straight lines. With many styles to choose from, you’ll be able to complement the appearance, layout, and composition of your home. Pergolas can be customized in any size and shape, from beautiful natural woods like teak, redwood, and cedar. They’re affordable, easy to install and provide numerous benefits for your home. Here are some of the perks you’ll experience when adding a pergola to your home.

Increases Your Living Space

A pergola serves as an outdoor room that’s perfect for entertaining or relaxing with family and friends. It’s an open, airy space that provides an inviting atmosphere for outdoor dining, as well as quiet conversations. Add outdoor furniture, a grill, and even a TV to truly make it a living space. You may be surprised by how much more you’ll find yourself spending time outside.

Adds Visual Interest to Your Yard

Building a pergola is a great way to add visual interest and landscaping appeal to your backyard. As a tall architectural element, they add height and definition to your yard. They can also bring an interesting contrast to softer, low-growing shrubs and plants. Their open roof grids and rafters provide the perfect place to string outdoor lighting or hang outdoor lanterns. Lighting elements add warmth to your landscape and a romantic ambiance to your home.

Creates a Garden Space

patio cover - small pergola with flowers

A pergola can become a beautiful, outdoor garden space where you can relax with your morning coffee or a favorite novel. Vertical posts and lattice roof grids are perfect for climbing vines like wisteria, clematis, jasmine, honeysuckle, and grape ivy. For a veil of overhead greenery, sturdy ceiling rafters are great for hanging pots filled with ferns or colorful flowers.

Increases Outdoor Privacy

If you’re too close to your neighbors or you don’t have a privacy fence, a pergola can provide additional outdoor privacy. By building in the right spot, you can block unsightly views and create a stylish focal point in your yard. This gives you the perfect private setting for outdoor activities and entertaining. You can also add outdoor draperies, screens, or latticework to one or all sides of the structure for additional privacy and noise reduction. And by adding some plants and greenery, it can become your own personal sanctuary.

Provides Outdoor Protection

With an overhead canopy of greenery or flowering plants, your outdoor space will be protected from sun, wind, and rain, so you can enjoy being outdoors year-round. Whether you build your pergola on the patio, near the house, or in a remote location in the backyard, protection from the elements will make your outdoor experiences safer and more comfortable during the day or evening. Many newer pergolas are being built with a canvas canopy that you can open during the day for sun protection and close at night so you can sit out under the stars.

Adds Value to Your Home

outdoor kitchen - outdoor kitchen with pergola and seating area

Just like a patio cover, incorporating a pergola into your backyard design adds value to your home. According to real estate studies, and outdoor landscape feature that adds function and beauty can increase your home’s value by as much as 20 percent. Whether you live in a single-family home or townhome community, a beautiful outdoor pergola is a distinguishing feature that can set your home apart from others in the neighborhood. If you decide to sell, this feature can make your home an attractive option for potential buyers.

Learn More: Outdoor Features With a Big ROI

Let Texas Best Fence & Patio Help

Unsure of which to pick in the pergola vs patio cover battle and which feature would benefit you the most? Our experienced team of professional contractors can help point you in the right direction and walk you through the design process. Whether you choose a patio cover or a pergola, the benefits are undeniable. Let us help you transform your backyard space into the relaxing oasis you and your family deserve.

Patio Covers & Pergolas

Could your outdoor space use the benefits of a patio cover or pergola? We can help! Contact us for a free estimate!

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Now that you’re thinking of the main types of outdoor structures
and their uses, you can create a concept that works for your
family. Keep in mind the purpose of the structure, whether natural
light in your home is a factor, and where you want the focal point
of your backyard to be. Once your gears get turning, reach out to
request an estimate on your concept.
Request an Estimate