Patio Cover vs. Pergola: Which Provides Better Shade?

As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases made on our website. If you make a purchase through links from this website, we may get a small share of the sale from Amazon and ...

Read more

wooden pergola in a backyard space with trees


Last Updated:


Patio & Yard


As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases made on our website. If you make a purchase through links from this website, we may get a small share of the sale from Amazon and other similar affiliate programs.

Whether you’re looking to protect yourself from the sun or enhance your outdoor living space, it may be time to consider either a patio cover or a pergola . But with such similar structures, how do you know which is going to provide better shade?

We understand that deciding what would work best for your outdoor area and budget can be difficult. That’s why we’ve put together this comprehensive guide on the differences between a patio cover and pergola so you can make an informed decision based on facts – not guesswork!

We’ll outline each structure’s purpose, pros & cons, materials used, design options, as well as compare the two in terms of cost and energy efficiency. It’s time to figure out if a patio cover or pergola provides better shade so let’s get started!

wooden pergola in a backyard space with trees

What Is A Patio Cover?

A patio cover is an outdoor structure designed to provide shade and protection for your backyard or outdoor living space. They are often attached directly to the house, but can also be freestanding structures in the garden. Patio covers come in a variety of materials and designs, from solid roofs to open pergolas with plants growing along them.

These covers provide great value when it comes to protecting and extending your outdoor living space while creating an extra layer of visual interest. However, there are some differences between patios and pergolas that you should consider when choosing which outdoor structure works best for you.

What Is A Pergola?

A pergola is a stylish, freestanding outdoor structure that can provide your patio or backyard with plenty of shade. They are often made out of wood, metal, stone, or other materials and can be attached to an existing building like a house or detached as a separate garden feature. Pergolas come in many shapes and sizes and are an excellent way to extend the living space of your home while providing protection from the elements.

When it comes to creating extra outdoor living space that provides shade without completely blocking out sunlight, pergolas are great options . With their open roof designs and tall posts supporting climbing plants like vines or roses, pergolas create breathtaking visual appeal in any garden setting. Moreover, they add value to any property due to their sturdy construction and attractive design features.

However, unlike patio covers which have solid roofs for complete coverage from the sun and rain, pergolas only offer partial shading because of their lattice-like roofs — meaning you may need additional protection when it’s raining heavily or when temperatures soar during summertime heatwaves.

Benefits of a Patio Cover

A patio cover is a great way to provide shade and protection for your outdoor space. Typically, it’s attached to the house and acts as an extension of the living area. Patio covers are often freestanding structures, but they can also be attached to other existing structures like a pergola or gazebo.

Patio covers come in many different materials such as wood, metal, canvas and solid roofs that create a cozy atmosphere for you and your guests. The solid roof option can protect you from the weather elements like rain or snow while still allowing some light in due to their translucent properties.

Additionally, patio covers provide great value when it comes to creating an outdoor living space. They help create usable spaces with design features while adding natural elements like plants or trees which add beauty and texture to any backyard setting. As opposed to building an entirely new structure, patio covers offer much more versatility as they can be easily added onto existing patios or decks with relative ease yet providing all the benefits of a full-blown structure at a fraction of the cost – however you choose to extend your home’s exterior!

Benefits of a Pergola

A pergola is an outdoor structure with a latticed roof, meant to provide shade and create an inviting atmosphere in your backyard. Freestanding or attached to the house, these structures usually have open roofs, creating a secluded area for you to relax in. Pergolas can be designed to fit any style of garden or patio and often come with plants that climb up the sides of the structure.

Pergolas are great choices if you’re looking for a way to extend your living space outside without building a solid roof over it. They offer protection from the elements while still allowing natural light and wind through, making them perfect for hot summer days when all you want is some relief from the sun without compromising on fresh air.

Additionally, because they are less permanent than other outdoor structures such as covered patios or gazebos, pergolas do not require as much maintenance and can add significant value to your home should you choose to sell it at any point down the line—all while adding visual interest to your garden or backyard design!

Differences Between Patio Covers & Pergolas

Patio covers and pergolas are both great outdoor structures that provide a great extension of living space. While they often get confused, there are some major differences between the two that you should consider when deciding which structure to choose for your backyard.

When it comes to roofing, patio covers offer more protection from the elements than pergolas. This is because they have solid roofs instead of latticework or vines like most pergolas do. However, if you want a greater sense of openness in your outdoor space, a pergola can create this feeling with its airy design and plants growing over the top.

When it comes to maintenance, patio covers require less upkeep than their counterparts as they tend not to accumulate leaves or debris like a gazebo or pergola might due to their enclosed nature. The materials used in patio covers also tend to be more durable and weather-resistant than those used for other structures such as gazebos or freestanding patios.

Cost is an important factor when deciding between patio cover vs pergola too – in general, patio covers are much more expensive up front but can add value and longevity to your home over time compared with other structures such as gazebos or freestanding patios while also providing excellent protection from the sun’s rays throughout all seasons. Pergolas on the other hand are usually cheaper but may need regular maintenance depending on what type of material was used during installation (e.g., wood vs steel).

Another key difference lies in versatility – while patio covers provide consistent shade year-round no matter what kind of climate you live in, with enough creativity and planning a well-crafted pergola can be transformed into an entirely different space using drapes, furniture pieces, string lights etc over time – making them suitable for any occasion!


Patio Covers and Pergolas are two popular structures for outdoor living spaces. Both provide much-needed shade and protection from the elements, but there are some key differences between them when it comes to roofing.

Patio covers usually have solid roofs that provide complete coverage, protecting you from rain or intense sun. On the other hand, pergolas often have latticed roofs made of wood or metal designed to let light in while providing partial shade. This can create a great environment for growing plants and creates an extension of your home’s living space into the garden.

However, patio covers typically require more maintenance because they can easily collect debris or need repainting due to exposure to weather conditions over time. Pergolas on the other hand tend to be more durable since their open design allows them better air circulation which helps reduce any dampness caused by rain or snow accumulation during cold months.


Maintenance is an important factor to consider when choosing between a patio cover and a pergola. Patio covers are typically more low-maintenance since they have a solid roof, while pergolas can require more care due to their open roof design.

Patio covers are usually made with materials like vinyl, so you don’t need to worry about painting or staining it. All you need to do is occasionally wipe down the surface with soap and water for general cleaning purposes. Pergolas often come in wood or metal varieties that require regular upkeep such as sanding, painting, staining and sealing of exposed surfaces to prevent warping or fading due ot elements like weather or UV rays. If plants are attached in your pergola design then pruning may be needed as well depending on the kind of foliage used.

In addition, if your patio cover has lights installed on it then they will require occasional maintenance checks too; however this type of repair usually takes less time than keeping up with a pergola’s needs.


Patio covers are usually made from more solid materials such as aluminum, steel, and plastic that provides a strong protection against the elements. Pergolas are often constructed with less sturdy materials like wood, which makes them more susceptible to weather damage.

When it comes to durability and longevity, patio covers have an advantage over pergolas in most cases due to their sturdier construction. This is especially true if you choose a patio cover made out of steel or aluminum. These materials will last much longer than a wooden pergola exposed to the outdoor elements without regular maintenance or protection.

The type of material used for the roof can also make a difference in terms of how well each structure provides shade for your outdoor space. Solid roofs on patio covers create better shade compared to pergolas since they block out most of the sun’s rays while still allowing some natural light into your backyard. However, pergolas provide an open structure that allows more sunlight but also offer great living space design options with plants and furniture that can create added value for your home.


When it comes to cost, there are some key differences between patio covers and pergolas. Patio covers are often attached to the house and require several materials for installation, such as wood or metal frames. They may also need a solid roofing material to provide complete shade and protection from the elements. As such, they tend to be more expensive than pergolas but can create great value in your backyard.

Pergolas on the other hand, are freestanding structures that offer a more open-air design than patio covers. Materials like wood or vinyl can still be used, though they come with less hardware than patio covers so the overall cost may be lower depending on the size of your structure.

Though they don’t provide as much coverage from rain or sun as covered patios do, their plants and latticework roofs often create a lovely outdoor living space which could add more value to your garden area.


Patio covers and pergolas are two great structures that provide shade in your outdoor living space. However, there are some important differences between them you should consider when deciding which is the best choice for your backyard.

When it comes to roofing, patio covers are typically solid roofs attached to the house and made from materials such as metal or wood to provide a better protection against the elements. On the other hand, pergolas often do not have a roof at all and can be either freestanding or attached structures where plants can be trained to create a canopy of greenery offering partial shade.

In terms of maintenance, patio covers require much less upkeep than pergolas as they don’t need regular repairs or replacement parts due to weather damage like rain leaking through its roof.

Pergolas on the other hand usually require more frequent maintenance since they may need repainting and repairs due to water damage because they lack proper waterproofing while still providing great aesthetic value in any garden setting.

When it comes down to cost, patio covers tend to be more expensive than most types of pergolas but offer more coverage from direct sunlight which saves money on cooling costs in summer months.

Pergolas are generally less expensive but may also add value if built with high quality materials though their cost savings become negligible when compared with energy savings from having a covered area under an actual roof like in patios cover designs.

Finally, one key difference between patio covers & pergolas is versatility; while patios often come as pre-designed kits limiting design options for homeowners who want something unique for their backyard space, gazebos offer more flexibility since they can fit into smaller spaces and have greater design capabilities depending on what type of material you choose such as metal or wood frames along with various plant varieties creating different looks within different settings.

Is a Pergola a Better Option for Shade Compared to a Gazebo?

When considering a pergola vs gazebo comparison for shade, a pergola is often a better option. Pergolas provide a lighter and airier atmosphere with their open sides and latticed roofs, while gazebos offer more solid, enclosed structures. Pergolas also allow for more flexibility in design and landscaping.


Choosing between a patio cover and a pergola can be a difficult decision. Both provide great shade structures for your outdoor space, but there are some key differences that you should consider when making this choice.

Patio covers are typically attached to the house, while pergolas are freestanding structures. Patio covers often have solid roofs made of metal or wood which provide more protection from the elements than do pergolas, whose roofs tend to be made of vines or plants.

When it comes to maintenance, patio covers require less upkeep since they’re not as exposed to the elements as pergolas are. On the flip-side, patio covers aren’t as versatile when it comes to design possibilities; they’re usually just an extension of your home’s roof and tend not to add visual value or interest like a good-looking pergola would.

In terms of cost, patio covers tend to be more expensive due to materials used and their ability for attaching them securely against the house’s structure; however, their durability makes up for it in most cases—you don’t have to replace them too often if you take good care of them. Pergolas may initially seem cheaper due largely in part by being simple wooden frames set into place—but over time you’ll need replacement beams and other materials so that could add up quickly.

Overall, both patios cover and pergolas offer great options for creating shade in your garden or backyard while also adding an element of style with unique designs based on your preferences – now it’s just left up to youto decide which one suits best!