A shady area, built with vertical support posts and rafters running across the top. The roof of a pergola is usually semi-open and flat, allowing partial sunshine and daylight to shine through.
Pergolas are often confused with arbors and gazebos, as they all usually offer some combination of open sides and/or a semi-open roof and/or plants growing on it. The unique differences are these:
- A Pergola normally has a flat but semi-open roof, designed to offer partial shade. It may or may not have plants growing on it.
- An Arbor is designed specifically to allow plants (typically vines and climbing flowers) to grow on it. It may or may not have a flat roof.
- A Gazebo is almost always characterized by a domed or turreted roof. It may or may not have plants growing on it.