The Pitfalls of Pergolas

September 20, 2022 Patio Design

Pergolas can be built at any price range, but most pergolas can be a lower-cost addition to your outdoor living space. With the right design and placement, it can transform a plain backyard into a great one. However, these additions may not be an effective long-term solution to your backyard.

Here are the main reasons why pergolas may not be right for you.


Most pergolas you’ll encounter are made out of wood, predominantly oak, cedar, and pine. While this gives the pergola a nice, rustic feel, it also means you’ll be spending quite a bit of time maintaining this look, whether it’s painting, cleaning, or staining. Regardless of which wood you use, it will have a hard time withstanding the elements and it can show its age quickly. Save yourself the splinters and steer clear.



Wood, especially pressure-treated wood, doesn’t always stand up to the test of time. Mold and rot can cause the pergola to slowly break down, while the weight of the structure can increase the chance of the structure’s columns warping and bending. Not to mention, like any freestanding structure, pergolas aren’t great at withstanding extreme weather like tornadoes or hurricanes. If you’re looking for a patio fixture that will last a lifetime, pergolas are not the answer.


The quickest way to have a wooden pergola break down is a termite attack. These little insects are found all over the US and rotting wood is their primary food source. This means if you aren’t constantly maintaining the structure, you could wake up one morning to some serious damage.

(Also, if for some reason you own a pet beaver, it’s probably best to stay away)


Home Value

Anyone thinking that a quick pergola project will automatically increase their patio’s value may be in for a rude awakening. While some people may be looking for a gathering place on their patio, the pergola’s design isn’t a hit with everyone, especially those who don’t want to deal with the maintenance.

Increases in home value can vary dramatically depending on the pergola’s location, build quality, size, and materials. So if you’re planning on building a pergola as an investment, it might be best to think twice.


Unfortunately, the grid design of the pergola roof, while visually appealing to some, isn’t doing much to guard you against the sun. Unless you only want to use your pergola early in the morning or late at night, you’re missing a lot of valuable time outside. 

While some may enjoy the design that pergolas bring, the hard truth is that the cons often outweigh the pros in most situations. When you’re designing your patio, it might be worth exploring other options.

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