What Is the Difference Between a Pergola and an Arbor?

February 28, 2022 12:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Pergola and arbor are often used interchangeably when talking about outdoor structures in the garden, on the patio, or another similar area. Although these two structures have a lot in common, they are different. Here is a look at the comparison of pergola vs arbor.


One of the most common and effective ways to tell the difference between custom pergolas and custom arbors is their placement and primary use.

For instance, an arbor is typically more for decorative purposes and placed at entrances, on paths, or on walkways. They also tend to be smaller than pergolas and offer limited shade. An arbor can be used to offer a smaller seating area for a couple of individuals.

A pergola is generally significantly larger than an arbor, as it is designed to offer a sheltered area of shade for people. It is commonly placed over a BBQ area where gatherings of friends and family occur. A custom pergola can also be attached to the side of the house.


A pergola and an arbor look different. An arbor typically has two or four posts and a slatted roof that is very often arched. However, a pergola has at least four posts (can have more) and a flat roof. An arbor typically has its sides covered with a trellis or lattice, whereas a pergola is left open.

Both outdoor structures are typically wood, such as cedar and pine. However, an arbor can also be made from metal, composite, or vinyl.


The installation process, as a whole, is very similar between arbors and pergolas. The main difference is their placement and the size of the structure. Since pergolas tend to be bigger, installing them often takes more manpower and time.


As mentioned, a pergola is larger than an arbor. As a result, it tends to cost more to have custom pergolas installed. Further, the price of the arbor or pergola will heavily depend on the material being used.

While an arbor or pergola can be a DIY project, allowing you to save money on labor, it is recommended to consult with professionals. This ensures the job is done properly from the get-go and minimizes the risk of future issues with the structure.

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With the information above, you should be able to distinguish an arbor from a pergola and decide which one best fits your situation. If you need help determining which one is best for your outdoor space, or if you have questions, reach out to our team, as we specialize in custom arbors and custom pergolas.

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