Wooden deck outdoor area with slatted wooden pergola against rock wall.

Perfect for summer,  pergolas – especially wooden ones – are an aesthetically beautiful way to add dappled shade to your garden space without necessarily covering the area. The slatted roofs work to keep a section of the garden breezy but diffuse the light enough so you’re not scorched in midsummer heat!


What exactly is a pergola?

Lush green lawn with slate green wooden pergola with matching patio area.

Because they can look quite similar, people often get confused between pergolas and gazebos.

The main distinction between a pergola and gazebo is usually that a gazebo has a permanent, pitched roof, while a pergola has no pitch and has a slatted roof. The term ‘arbour’ is frequently used to describe a pergola, but an arbour is more specifically a roofed structure with in-built seating. Such as those available in our arbours & arches range.


Are pergolas expensive?

Brick patio with man on ladder assembling wooden pergola structure.

A skilled carpenter can assemble a basic pergola usually within a day. But more intricate, Japanese-inspired designs – perhaps with advanced joinery such as Dragon Beams – can tally up labour and time costs. A pergola made well, however, is likely to be an attractive addition to a property and therefore positively influences any prospective buyers if you ever plan to sell your home.

To save on design time, you can also find pergola kits that come pre-manufactured. So it’ll just be a case of either assembling the kit yourself or paying a skilled carpenter for a day’s work.


What are the uses of a pergola?

Wooden pergola ceiling topped with lush greenery.

The main use is to provide some shade to an area of a garden. The area is frequently decked either with wood decking or with a concrete foundation and paving slabs – but it can just as easily be constructed over grass.

Usually, people use the space created by a pergola to relax outside during the summertime. It’s easy to put some benches or chairs in the shade for eating outside when the weather’s lovely.

A common way to provide summertime shade with a pergola is to grow vines along trellises attached to the roof beams. Depending on the climate, these can be anything from grapevine to hops, to ivy.

For nighttime entertaining, it’s not unusual to hang string lights around the structure to create a pretty and airy space to host guests and family.

It’s also quite common to attach retractable screens either to the roof or the sides of the pergola for added privacy and shade.


Get premade pergolas from your local Alsford Timber branch

We stock a number of high-quality arbours, arches, and pergolas that are premade and ready for easy assembly at home – perfect for experienced DIYers or even suggesting to a client! The fact that they’re already designed and pictured takes a lot of the guesswork out, so you can just get cracking and enjoy the sun.

To see which pergola kits are available, head to our Garden Buildings section, or if you already have a design, order your timber online.