What Is the Difference Between a Pergola and Verandah?

Pergolas and verandahs have always been popular features of Australian homes, but do you really know how to tell the difference? While they each have unique advantages, the best fit for your outdoor space will depend on your preferences, your available space and your budget.

What are pergolas?

Freestanding or attached to the home, open or sheltered, pergolas are among the most versatile of outdoor structures, available in a wide variety of sizes, shapes and materials to suit every style of home.

More than just a place to sit and socialise outdoors, pergolas bring you closer to nature – especially when you make use of their sturdy support columns to grow climbing plants such as vines. In traditional pergolas, these plants provided a natural source of shade, but today's pergolas nearly always feature permanent roofs made from durable materials, offering year-round protection from the elements.

What are verandahs?

Unlike pergolas, verandahs are always attached to the home, whether at the front, the back, the side or all the way round. An iconic feature of Australian houses from the time of the Queenslander, verandahs are ideal places for spending some time in the fresh air without having to venture far from the house.

Verandahs do have some features in common with pergolas, such as both being covered structures. Verandah roofs are not always fixed however, and can be designed to retract if you like don't always want to block out the sun.

Which option is right for you?

Choosing between a pergola, verandah or other outdoor feature is a matter of personal taste as much as practicality. Some key questions to ask yourself are:

  • Do you need a space to entertain? – Pergolas are spacious enough to accommodate dining tables and chairs, whereas verandahs are typically long and narrow, and better suited to side-by-side seating.

  • How big is your garden? – You won't enjoy the full benefits of a freestanding pergola if you only have a small garden, but verandahs have no such requirements. If your outdoor space is large enough, a pergola set away from the house can be a peaceful sanctuary to get away from it all.

  • Do you need sun protection? – Both options offer shelter from the sun on hot days, but a verandah installed along one or more sides of your home can lower temperatures inside the building and lessen your reliance on air conditioners and fans, saving you electricity and reducing your carbon footprint.

  • What's your budget? – Verandahs and pergolas will both add value to your home, but the return on your investment depends on the quality of the construction and how well it suits your property. A wraparound verandah is a bigger investment, but it also makes the biggest impact when viewed from the street, and could raise your property's value by over $20,000.

Get a free consultation today

Find out more about how a verandah or pergola could transform your home by speaking to our design and installation specialists. Call us on 1800 000 504 for your free quote and consultation.