Pergola Sizes: How to Pick the Right Size for Your Patio or Deck

Brad Smith
Written By Brad Smith

Imagine stepping out into your backyard, a cup of coffee in hand, and settling down under the shade of your beautiful pergola. The size is just perfect – not too big to overwhelm your garden, not too small to feel cramped. It’s a haven, a retreat, a place for relaxation and entertainment. But how did you arrive at the perfect pergola size? If you’re still on the journey to find the ideal pergola size for your outdoor space, you’re in the right place. This comprehensive guide will navigate you through the process, ensuring your pergola is a perfect fit for your needs and your yard.

Key Takeaways

  1. Pergola Sizes Matter: The size of your pergola significantly impacts its functionality, aesthetics, and cost. It’s crucial to choose a size that fits your outdoor space and meets your needs.
  2. Consider Your Space: Measure your outdoor space and consider how the pergola will fit within it. The pergola should be proportionate to your yard or patio.
  3. Think About Your Needs: Consider how you plan to use your pergola. Whether it’s for a cozy retreat, a dining area, or a grand outdoor living space, the size should support its intended use.
  4. Check Local Regulations: Before finalizing your pergola size, check your local building codes and homeowners association rules. There may be restrictions on the size or placement of outdoor structures.
  5. Cost Implications: The size of the pergola influences its cost. Larger pergolas require more materials and labor, which can increase the cost.
  6. Decorating Your Pergola: The size of your pergola can influence how you decorate it. Smaller pergolas may require more compact furniture, while larger ones can accommodate more substantial pieces.
  7. Expert Tips: Consult with a pergola expert or do thorough research before deciding on the size of your pergola. This can help you avoid common mistakes and ensure you choose the perfect pergola size for your space.

Understanding the Importance of Pergola Sizes

The size of your pergola can drastically impact the aesthetic and functionality of your outdoor space. Too small, and it might not provide the shade or the visual impact you’re hoping for. Too large, and it could overwhelm your space and make it feel cramped. That’s why understanding pergola sizes is so crucial. It’s all about finding that perfect balance that complements your space and meets your needs.

Before we delve into the specifics of pergola sizes, you might be wondering how a pergola provides shade. We’ve covered this topic in detail in a previous article, which you can read here.

Why Size Matters: The Impact on Your Outdoor Space

The size of your pergola can affect everything from the amount of shade it provides to how much it costs. It can also influence the type of furniture you can fit underneath it and how many people can use it at once. So, before you start shopping or hammering nails, it’s worth taking some time to think about what size pergola will work best for your patio or deck.

Understanding Pergola Sizes

understanding pergola sizes

Now that we’ve covered why pergola size is so important, let’s dive into the specifics. What sizes do pergolas come in? And how do you decide what size is right for you?

The Basics of Pergola Sizes: What You Need to Know

Pergolas come in a wide range of sizes, from compact designs perfect for small patios, to expansive structures designed to cover large decks or outdoor dining areas. The size of a pergola is usually defined by its dimensions – the length and width of the area it covers. These dimensions can vary greatly depending on the design of the pergola, the size of the space it’s intended for, and the specific needs of the homeowner.

When considering pergola sizes, it’s also important to think about the height of your pergola. We’ve discussed pergola height in more detail in this article.

Common Pergola Sizes: A Comprehensive Overview

While pergolas can be custom-built to any size, there are some common sizes that you’ll often see. These typically include:

  • Small pergolas: These usually measure around 10×10 or 12×12 feet and are perfect for smaller spaces or for creating a cozy, intimate seating area.
  • Medium pergolas: These often measure around 12×16 or 14×14 feet and offer a good balance of space and coziness. They’re great for medium-sized patios or decks.
  • Large pergolas: These typically measure 16×20 feet or larger and are ideal for large outdoor spaces or for covering outdoor dining or seating areas.

Choosing the Right Pergola Size for Your Space

So, you’ve decided to add a pergola to your outdoor space. Great choice! But how do you determine the right size? Let’s explore some factors you should consider and how to measure your space effectively.

Pergola Sizes and Their Uses

Pergola SizeIdeal ForConsiderations
Small (10×10 feet)Small yards, intimate seating areas, garden accentsMay not provide enough space for larger furniture or gatherings
Medium (12×12 to 14×14 feet)Medium-sized yards, dining areas, outdoor living spacesProvides a balance between space and functionality
Large (16×16 feet and above)Large yards, extensive outdoor living spaces, outdoor kitchensRequires more space and may have higher costs
Custom SizesAny space that requires a specific sizeAllows for maximum customization, but may have higher costs

Factors to Consider When Choosing Pergola Sizes

When choosing the size of your pergola, there are several factors you should take into account:

  • Space Available: The size of your yard, patio, or deck will largely dictate the size of the pergola you can accommodate. You’ll want to ensure the pergola fits comfortably within your space without overwhelming it.
  • Purpose: What do you plan to use your pergola for? If it’s for dining or entertaining, you’ll need a larger pergola than if it’s simply for a small seating area or garden feature.
  • Furniture: Consider the size and amount of outdoor furniture you plan to place under the pergola. Ensure there’s enough space for all your furniture plus room to move around comfortably.
  • Sun Exposure: The size of your pergola can affect the amount of shade it provides. If you’re looking to create a shady retreat, a larger pergola may be beneficial.

How to Measure Your Space for a Pergola

Before you can decide on the size of your pergola, you’ll need to measure your space. Here’s a simple step-by-step guide:

  1. Identify where you want to place the pergola.
  2. Using a tape measure, measure the length and width of this area.
  3. Consider any surrounding features like trees, fences, or other structures that could impact the pergola’s placement or size.
  4. Write down these measurements and keep them handy when you start shopping for or designing your pergola.

Small Pergolas: Benefits and Considerations

small pergolas benefits and considerations

Now, let’s dive into the specifics of different pergola sizes, starting with small pergolas.

Why Choose a Small Pergola: Advantages and Use Cases

Small pergolas, often around 10×10 or 12×12 feet, can be a perfect choice for many spaces. Here’s why:

  • Fits in Small Spaces: If your yard, patio, or deck is on the smaller side, a small pergola can fit perfectly without overwhelming the space.
  • Creates Intimate Spaces: A small pergola can create a cozy, intimate space for relaxing or dining.
  • Cost-Effective: Smaller pergolas typically require fewer materials, making them a more cost-effective option.
  • Easier Installation: Due to their size, small pergolas are often easier and quicker to install.

Key Considerations When Opting for Small Pergolas

While small pergolas have many advantages, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Limited Space: While cozy, small pergolas may not accommodate larger furniture pieces or larger groups of people.
  • Less Shade: Due to their size, small pergolas may provide less shade than larger ones.

Remember, the key is to choose a pergola size that fits your space and meets your specific needs. Whether that’s a small, cozy pergola or a larger, more expansive one, the choice is yours!

Medium Pergolas: Benefits and Considerations

medium pergolas benefits and considerations

If you have a bit more space to play with, or if you’re looking for a pergola that can accommodate more people or functions, a medium-sized pergola might be just what you need.

The Appeal of Medium-Sized Pergolas: Pros and Practical Applications

Medium pergolas, often around 12×16 or 14×14 feet, offer a great balance between space and coziness. Here are some reasons why they’re a popular choice:

  • Versatility: Medium pergolas are large enough to accommodate a dining table or a comfortable seating area, making them versatile for various uses.
  • Aesthetic Appeal: A medium-sized pergola can create a striking focal point in your yard without overwhelming the space.
  • Increased Shade: With a larger footprint, medium pergolas can provide more shade than their smaller counterparts.

Important Factors to Consider for Medium Pergolas

While medium pergolas offer many benefits, there are a few considerations to keep in mind:

  • Space Requirements: Ensure your yard or patio has enough space to comfortably accommodate a medium pergola.
  • Installation: Medium pergolas may require more time and resources to install compared to smaller ones.
  • Cost: Due to their larger size, medium pergolas may be more expensive than smaller ones.

Large Pergolas: Benefits and Considerations

large pergolas benefits and considerations

If you have a spacious yard or a large patio, or if you frequently entertain large groups, a large pergola could be the perfect fit for your space.

The Grandeur of Large Pergolas: Benefits and Examples

Large pergolas, typically measuring 16×20 feet or larger, can make a grand statement. Here’s why you might consider one:

  • Ample Space: Large pergolas can accommodate multiple seating areas, a dining table, and even an outdoor kitchen or bar.
  • Great for Entertaining: If you frequently host gatherings, a large pergola can provide a comfortable and shaded space for your guests.
  • Maximum Shade: Large pergolas offer the most shade, making them ideal for hot climates or sun-exposed yards.

Things to Keep in Mind When Choosing Large Pergolas

While large pergolas can offer many benefits, there are a few things to consider:

  • Space and Proportions: A large pergola requires a large space. It’s important to ensure it won’t overwhelm your yard or patio.
  • Cost: Large pergolas require more materials and labor, which can increase the cost.
  • Installation: The installation of a large pergola can be more complex and time-consuming.

Whether you choose a small, medium, or large pergola, the most important thing is that it suits your space and meets your needs.

Custom Pergola Sizes

Sometimes, standard pergola sizes just don’t cut it. Maybe your space is an unusual shape, or perhaps you have specific requirements that off-the-shelf pergolas can’t meet. In these cases, a custom pergola could be the solution.

When Standard Sizes Don’t Fit: The Case for Custom Pergolas

Custom pergolas offer the ultimate flexibility. They allow you to specify the exact dimensions you need, ensuring the pergola fits your space perfectly. Whether you have a narrow balcony, a large irregularly shaped patio, or specific design features in mind, a custom pergola can cater to your unique needs.

How to Determine the Perfect Custom Pergola Size for Your Space

Determining the perfect custom pergola size involves careful planning and consideration. Here are some steps to guide you:

  1. Measure Your Space: As with any pergola, start by measuring the space where you plan to install it.
  2. Consider Your Needs: Think about how you plan to use the pergola and what features are important to you.
  3. Consult with Professionals: A landscape designer or pergola specialist can provide valuable insights and help you determine the best size for your custom pergola.

Pergola Sizes and Materials

pergola sizes and materials

The size of your pergola can influence the materials you choose. Let’s explore this relationship further.

How Pergola Sizes Influence Material Choices

The size of your pergola can impact the type of materials that are suitable. Larger pergolas, for example, require sturdy materials that can support their weight. Smaller pergolas, on the other hand, can be made from lighter materials. The size can also influence the cost of materials – larger pergolas will naturally require more materials, which can increase the cost.

Material Considerations for Different Pergola Sizes

When choosing materials for your pergola, consider the following:

  • Durability: Larger pergolas need strong, durable materials like steel or hardwood.
  • Weight: Smaller pergolas can be made from lighter materials like aluminum or softwood.
  • Maintenance: The size of your pergola can impact how easy it is to maintain. Larger pergolas made from low-maintenance materials can save you time and effort in the long run.

Pergola Sizes and Costs

The size of your pergola will significantly impact its cost. We’ve previously written an article on pergola costs, which you can check out here for a more detailed breakdown.

Understanding the Cost Implications of Different Pergola Sizes

The size of your pergola has a direct impact on its cost. Larger pergolas require more materials and more labor to install, which increases the cost. Custom sizes can also be more expensive, as they may require special materials or construction techniques.

Budgeting for Your Pergola: Size and Cost Considerations

When budgeting for your pergola, consider the following:

  • Material Costs: Larger pergolas will require more materials, which will increase the cost.
  • Installation Costs: Larger or custom pergolas may require more complex installation, which can also increase the cost.
  • Maintenance Costs: Consider the long-term maintenance costs. Larger pergolas may require more regular maintenance, which can add to the overall cost over time.

Remember, a pergola is an investment in your outdoor space. It’s worth spending a bit more to get the right size and quality that will last for years to come.

Decorating Your Pergola: Size-Specific Ideas

decorating your pergola size specific ideas

Once you’ve chosen the right size for your pergola, you’ll want to think about how to decorate it. For some inspiration, check out our article on pergola cover ideas here.

How to Decorate Pergolas of Different Sizes

Decorating your pergola should be a reflection of your personal style and the function of the space. Here are some size-specific ideas:

  • Small Pergolas: For small pergolas, less is more. A couple of comfortable chairs, a small table, and some hanging plants or fairy lights can create a cozy and inviting space.
  • Medium Pergolas: With a bit more space, you could add an outdoor rug, a larger seating arrangement, or even a small dining set. Climbing plants can also add a touch of nature.
  • Large Pergolas: Large pergolas offer the most decorating potential. Consider adding an outdoor lounge set, a dining table, a fire pit, or even an outdoor kitchen. Large hanging plants or curtains can add a touch of elegance.

Size-Based Tips for Making Your Pergola a Stylish Outdoor Haven

Regardless of the size of your pergola, here are some tips to make it a stylish haven:

  • Choose Appropriate Furniture: Ensure your furniture fits comfortably within your pergola without making it feel cramped.
  • Add Lighting: Fairy lights, lanterns, or solar lights can create a warm and inviting atmosphere.
  • Incorporate Nature: Plants can add color and life to your pergola. Consider hanging plants, potted plants, or climbing vines.
  • Add Personal Touches: Decorative items like cushions, rugs, or artwork can add personality and style to your pergola.

Pergola Sizes and Building Regulations

When planning your pergola, it’s important to be aware of any building codes or regulations that may apply. These can vary depending on your location and the size of your pergola.

Navigating Building Codes and Regulations for Different Pergola Sizes

Building codes and regulations can influence various aspects of your pergola, including its size, height, location, and the materials used. Here’s how to navigate these:

  • Check Local Regulations: Building codes vary by location, so start by checking with your local council or building department.
  • Consider Size and Height Restrictions: Some areas have restrictions on the size or height of outdoor structures. Make sure your pergola complies with these.
  • Understand Setback Requirements: There may be rules about how close your pergola can be to property lines, buildings, or other structures.

Why Compliance Matters: Understanding the Legal Aspects of Pergola Sizes

Complying with building codes and regulations is crucial. It ensures your pergola is safe, legal, and won’t cause issues if you decide to sell your home in the future. It can also prevent costly mistakes or the need to modify or remove your pergola later on.

Case Studies: Successful Pergola Size Selections

case studies successful pergola size selections

Sometimes, the best way to understand something is to see it in action. Let’s look at some success stories of pergola size selections that resulted in beautiful and functional outdoor spaces.

Small Pergola Success Story: Maximizing Limited Space

In a small urban backyard, homeowners John and Lisa wanted to create a cozy outdoor retreat. They chose a small 10×10 foot pergola, which fit perfectly in their limited space. By adding a comfortable seating area, some hanging plants, and fairy lights, they transformed their small yard into a cozy oasis where they love to relax and entertain.

Medium Pergola Success Story: Achieving the Perfect Balance

When the Smith family moved into their new home with a spacious deck, they knew they wanted a pergola. They opted for a medium-sized 14×14 foot pergola, which provided ample space for a dining table and a seating area. With some climbing plants and outdoor curtains, they created a versatile outdoor space that’s perfect for family meals, entertaining friends, or just relaxing.

Large Pergola Success Story: Making a Grand Statement

For the owners of a large suburban property, a large pergola was the perfect choice. Their 20×20 foot pergola became the centerpiece of their backyard. It houses an outdoor kitchen, a dining area, and a lounge area with a fire pit. The large pergola not only provides shade but also adds structure and interest to their expansive yard.

Common Mistakes When Choosing Pergola Sizes

common mistakes when choosing pergola sizes

Choosing the right pergola size is crucial, but it’s easy to make mistakes. Let’s look at some common pitfalls and how to avoid them.

Avoiding Size-Related Pitfalls: Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Here are some common mistakes people make when choosing pergola sizes, and how you can avoid them:

  • Choosing a Size That’s Too Small: A pergola that’s too small may not provide the shade or space you need. Ensure your pergola is large enough for its intended use.
  • Choosing a Size That’s Too Large: Conversely, a pergola that’s too large can overwhelm your space and may not comply with local building codes. Make sure your pergola is proportionate to your yard or patio.
  • Not Considering Future Needs: Your needs may change over time, so consider future uses when choosing your pergola size.

Lessons Learned: What Not to Do When Selecting Pergola Sizes

When selecting pergola sizes, here are some lessons learned:

  • Don’t Skip the Planning Phase: Measure your space, consider your needs, and check local regulations before you start shopping for a pergola.
  • Don’t Forget About Function: A pergola should be both beautiful and functional. Consider how you’ll use the pergola and ensure the size you choose supports those uses.
  • Don’t Neglect Proportions: A pergola should enhance your outdoor space, not overwhelm it. Consider the size of your yard or patio and choose a pergola size that’s proportionate.

Expert Tips for Choosing the Right Pergola Size

Choosing the right pergola size can be a bit daunting, but don’t worry – we’ve got some expert tips to help guide you through the process.

Insider Advice: Expert Tips for Picking the Perfect Pergola Size

Here are some expert tips to help you choose the perfect pergola size:

  1. Start with Your Space: Measure your space carefully and consider how the pergola will fit within it. Remember to account for any additional space you’ll need for movement around the pergola.
  2. Consider Your Needs: Think about how you plan to use your pergola. Will it be a cozy retreat for two, or a gathering spot for large parties? Your intended use can guide your size selection.
  3. Think About Proportions: Your pergola should be proportionate to your outdoor space and your home. A pergola that’s too large can overwhelm your yard, while one that’s too small may not meet your needs.
  4. Check Local Regulations: Before you finalize your pergola size, check your local building codes and homeowners association rules. There may be restrictions on the size or placement of outdoor structures.


How does the pergola size affect the amount of shade it provides?

The size of the pergola, particularly its width and length, directly affects the amount of shade it provides. Larger pergolas will provide more shade, but the direction of the sun and the spacing of the pergola’s slats will also play a role.

Can I adjust the size of my pergola after it’s been installed?

Adjusting the size of a pergola after it’s been installed can be challenging and may require a professional. It’s best to carefully plan the size before installation to avoid the need for adjustments.

How much space should I leave around my pergola?

The amount of space you should leave around your pergola depends on your specific needs and the layout of your yard. However, it’s generally a good idea to leave enough space for people to move comfortably around the pergola.


Choosing the right pergola size is a crucial step in creating your dream outdoor space. It requires careful consideration of your space, your needs, and your local regulations.

We’ve covered a lot of ground in this guide, from understanding the importance of pergola sizes to expert tips for choosing the right size. Remember, the key to a successful pergola project is careful planning and consideration.

Now that you’re armed with all this knowledge about pergola sizes, it’s time to turn that knowledge into action. Start by measuring your space, considering your needs, and checking your local regulations. Then, you can start shopping for your perfect pergola.

Remember, a pergola is more than just an outdoor structure – it’s an investment in your outdoor living space. Choose wisely, and you’ll have a beautiful and functional pergola that you’ll enjoy for years to come. Happy pergola planning!

smith brad omni

Written by Brad Smith

CEO & Lead Interior Designer

Brad Smith is an experienced interior designer and the founder of With a Master's degree in Interior Design from Pratt Institute and a passion for creating safe and healthy living spaces, Brad shares his expert insights and innovative design ideas with our readers. His work is driven by the belief that home is where every story begins.