Designing Spaces That Reflect You
A beautiful backyard with sunshine and lovely pergola landscaping and fire pit

Pergola Vs Trellis: What Is The Difference?

No matter how small or big your garden is, you can always turn it into your outdoor oasis. If you wish to undertake a project to update your outdoor space, you are considering the available options. Pergola is a popular choice for sprucing up outdoor space, so you have encountered some great ideas. In addition, a trellis is a great feature to consider. What is the difference between both? This post explains pergola vs trellis and helps you determine the right fit for your needs. Make sure to go through it and take advantage of our helpful tips and tricks!

What is Pergola?

When you want to know more about pergola vs trellis, it is essential to define these terms first. With this, you will understand the difference between these two outdoor features.

A pergola is a structure used to provide partial shade in your garden. It consists of beams with slats on top to provide shade. The pergola can be an independent structure or be attached to a house. 

Keep in mind that the position of the slats doesn’t fully cover the top, so a pergola lets the sun’s rays through. A pergola is excellent if you want to avoid direct sun exposure but still enjoy the rays. However, you can enhance your structure with a canopy for complete protection. Also, some like to add curtains for privacy. 

A pergola is ideal for providing shade, whether it is an outdoor kitchen, seating area, or pool deck. A pergola can be made of wood, aluminum, vinyl, or fiberglass. Remember that it is a stable structure, so you can attach lighting or even an outdoor TV.

Bioclimatic pergolas are a modern innovation in architectural design. The slats can be easily adjusted close or open using a remote control. With this, you can control the shade according to your preferences. 

Advantages of Pergola 

A pergola is an affordable feature to update your outdoor space. Even if you work with a limited budget for your garden project, you can find the pergola that fits it. And the best thing is that you can make your pergola. With this, you cut labor costs and make the project more affordable. With so many DIY ideas and inspirations available, anyone can make a structure using inexpensive materials found at their local home store. Usually, pergolas are made of cedar and redwood, durable options. 

One of the best advantages of a pergola vs trellis is that it creates an outdoor spot for relaxation. Add your outdoor furniture and develop your retreat without stepping away from your yard. 

If you wish to add more protection, a pergola is fully customizable. Homeowners like to install the retractable canopy to provide sun and rain protection for uninterrupted outdoor entertainment

Disadvantages of Pergola

One of the disadvantages of a pergola is the fact that it doesn’t provide complete shade. A pavilion will be a better pick if you prefer to enjoy the full shade. The structure offers full shade, so that it might be better for homes in hot climates. 

A pergola also requires occasional maintenance to stay in excellent shape, especially if it is made of wood. Homeowners need to repaint the pergola to protect it from weather conditions. Also, a termite infestation can be a real problem when discussing wood. 

Pergola Ideas 

A pergola is a versatile feature that can fit various styles. This example showcases how it perfectly fits the contemporary design. The black pergola follows the refined vibe of this outdoor space. The structure is stable enough so that you can install swings. A truly gorgeous outdoor living area that becomes your favorite spot for relaxation after a long day.

pergola vs trellis

This smart pergola design doubles as a privacy screen to create an intimate area for family gatherings. The top and side are covered with slats to achieve the desired effect. The result is a private retreat that allows you to enjoy the nice weather.

Pergola vs Trellis

During the summer, the weather can get scorching hot. In this case, a canopy mounted below the slats is an excellent solution. The full shade not only provides a comfortable stay but also protects the furniture from fading due to UV rays exposure.

pergola vs trellis

A pergola can be paired with other architectural features to create a luxury retreat in your backyard. A decked pergola is an ultimate spot for outdoor entertainment with family and friends.

Pergola ideas

You don’t necessarily have to install a large pergola if you love to feel the sun. A small pergola provides shade for your al fresco dining table while keeping everything open

Pergola ideas

A pergola attached to the house is an excellent solution for creating a covered area. The roof fully covers the outdoor kitchen in this example for maximum protection. This is typically expected, as it is fully equipped with appliances and a sink. The pergola structure provides shade for the seating area, so guests can fully feel the benefits of outdoor dining. 

Pergola ideas

What is Trellis?

A trellis is a framework that can stand independently or be attached to another structure, such as a pergola. The purpose of a trellis is to support climbing plants and let them spread through the framework. It is commonly used for growing grapevines, climbing roses, ivy, and other climbing plants. The trellis directs their growth, creating a lush green wall or divider. A trellis with dense foliage can also become an ideal choice for a privacy screen. 

A trellis is usually made of wood in a lattice pattern. However, it can be made of alternative materials such as metal or plastic, depending on your needs. 

Pergola vs Trellis: What is the Difference?

Although many think that pergola and trellis are the same, these are utterly different garden features. There are a few key differences when we compare a pergola vs a trellis. 

A pergola is a structure used to provide shade in your garden. On the other hand, a trellis is a framework for supporting climbing plants and does not offer protection from weather elements. Also, trellis can be added to a pergola if you wish to provide a decorative touch with greenery or privacy. While a pergola can be used to support climbing plants, this isn’t its primary purpose. Both features are beautiful, so the choice depends on your specific needs. 

Trellis Ideas

A trellis can be the right solution if your outdoor area lacks privacy. Besides, they create a secluded screened area, away from curious eyes. The crisp white color adds a decorative touch to the backyard while letting your climbing plants stand out with their beauty.


An old garden fence will do the trick if you are into DIY options. All you need to do is mount the fence on a wall and place the wooden planter box underneath. We love how the black fence panel stands out against the white walls, creating a modern contrast. 

pergola vs trellis

A trellis and planter in one is an excellent solution for balconies. Add a touch of greenery to your small patio and let the vivid blooms become the main statement.

pergola vs trellis

Even a wooden ladder can become an alternative to the trellis. It is a simple solution to support your indoor or outdoor climbing plants while adding charm to the space.

pergola vs trellis

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the difference between a pergola and an arbor?

A pergola is an independent structure that provides partial shade in your garden. An arbor is an arch that supports climbing plants, adding a decorative touch to your garden. Ann Arbor can be an independent feature or an addition to a fence, depending on the look you’re going for.

Do you get sun under a pergola?

Yes, a pergola doesn’t block the sun entirely. Also, The slats at the top filter the sun’s rays but don’t block them altogether. With this, you can enjoy the sun and breeze while still being protected. 

Are pergolas worth it?

A pergola creates a protected spot to enjoy your outdoor space. The pergola anchors your seating area or al fresco dining table.

 How much does it cost to add a pergola?

A pergola is considered an affordable update for your outdoor space. The prices range from $750 to $9,000 depending on the size, material, and extra features. 

What are the disadvantages of a pergola?

A pergola requires some level of maintenance, depending on the material. Also, it does not provide full coverage and requires additions such as a canopy to provide complete shade. 

Is trellis a pergola?

A pergola can support climbing plants and their dense foliage. While some refer to this as a trellis, this isn’t the correct definition. A trellis is an open framework whose purpose is to support climbing plants and can be positioned vertically and horizontally. 


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