What Is the Purpose of a Pergola?

What Is the Purpose of a Pergola?

A pergola is a beautiful structure for a backyard, but where did it come from and what is its real purpose? Find out more.

Pergolas are majestic structures, tall white columns supporting a cross beam or lattice covering. You recognize that it’s an edifice built to give some sort of protection from the elements, but why exactly doesn’t it have a fully solid roof then? Explore the purpose of the pergola in the post below.

History of the Pergola

Pergola-like structures have existed for thousands of years. Often erected by royalty (such as an Egyptian official in c. 1400 B.C.,) pergolas were used in varying ways for more or less the same effect. Their use extended to covered roads and walkways; it’s not likely to need a pergola for a road in your backyard, however. Today, pergolas serve the same purposes as they ever did since ancient times.


Though pergolas do not have a roof with full coverage like a gazebo, the cross beams and latticework above head do serve well for partial shade. The angles of the sun’s rays will not fully access loungers below depending on the time of day and season. Pergolas have historically been more popular in hot climates because of the greater need for shade there.

Garden Feature

Because pergolas have spaces between the beams of their roof, they are the perfect invention for training plants to grow up the sides and overhead. Pergolas work well for flower and food enthusiasts alike; one can raise a vineyard on it with hanging grapes, and one can also turn it into a hanging wisteria feature.

Extra Living Space

Best of all, pergolas create a defined outdoor living space. You can look like you are relaxing in a Greek or Roman temple sitting beneath one, while still getting in some rays. Pergolas today continue to live its name: coming from the Latin name pergula, meaning “projecting eave,” pergolas can be designed as an extension to the house, as well as a stand-alone structure. Get some sunshine, get some shade, grow a luxuriant garden, and spend time with friends and family.

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