The Difference Between A Patio And Pergola (And What Will Suit You Best)

Flyover Patio Roof 01

The Difference Between A Patio And Pergola (And What Will Suit You Best)

Choosing between getting a patio and a pergola has been a long-held discussion among many partners and families.

The confusing part is, many people don’t actually know the difference between them! Making the decision on how you want your outdoor living space to look and feel can be a challenging task, and the added bewilderment of not knowing which is which can make it that little bit more difficult.

Let’s go through the differences, similarities and pros and cons when choosing between a patio and pergola. Once you finally understand the difference, you’ll be able to make your decision lightning fast!

Differences between a patio and a pergola

Surprisingly, there are quite a few differences between a patio and pergola. Both the overall structure of a patio is slightly different to that of a pergola.

The main difference lies in the roofing structure, but there are other features that separate the two:

The roof is non-pervious (a protective roof that does not allow water through)
The structure is non-roofed or has a roof that is pervious (more of a design element that allows water to pass through)
Shade covering is provided by the non-pervious roof
Options for shade covering
Guttering is included
Guttering is not included

Similarities of a patio and pergola

Looking at design and structure, both a pergola and a patio are created to be a relaxing and stylish outdoor area that provides homes with additional storage space, weather protection and an extra living area to enjoy nature from.

Here are the main similarities of a patio and pergola:

  • Both an outdoor space perfect for entertaining, leisure activities and relaxing
  • Combines the indoor and outdoor of your home with a structured style
  • Provides additional space for storage
  • Uses posts and beams to create a defined outdoor space

What is a patio?

We define Patios as a non-pervious roofing structure that has an attached gutter that takes water away.

This engineered structure usually consists of posts, beams, gutters, downpipes and roofing that protects the space from the elements.

At Trueline, patios are our most popular product for bringing the indoors, outside!

A patio is both functional and aesthetically pleasing, and can be used for various purposes, including:

Recreation and entertainment

Nothing is better than heading to a luxurious outdoor seating area for a dinner party with friends or a celebratory barbecue.

With a patio, you can celebrate any occasion whether there’s rain, hail or shine in the comfort of your backyard with a protected roof covering and a comfortable space. Having an outdoor kitchen, barbecue and protected sitting area makes entertaining that little bit more upscale!

A patio makes family time all the more valuable, with surrounding nature being easily accessible and enjoyed from the safety of your new outdoor space.


Relaxation and leisure can sometimes be difficult to attain, especially if you live in a full house! With a patio, you can relax in the calmness of nature.

Sitting outside with a morning coffee or evening drink, your patio provides a sheltered space in which to rejuvenate and wind down from a busy day.

Additional storage space

Of course, extra storage space is always a positive! Because a patio roof provides protection from the elements and more extreme weather conditions, storage has never been easier.

Whether you wish to store sporting or gym equipment, backyard recreation items or even just your gardening tools, a patio is definitely a great option.


If you’re planning on re-selling your home and wish to increase its value, a patio is the perfect option. Potential home buyers are always looking for versatile spaces that offer entertaining, relaxing and stylistic elements.

The indoor-outdoor nature of a patio creates a focal point for home buyers and can increase your house value immensely. Add style and functionality into your backyard with an outdoor area such as a patio!

The different patio roof designs available

A patio structure includes a non-pervious roof, and can come in a range of styles. At Trueline, we have a large variety of roofing styles, as well as customisation options like materials and insulation to add to your design.

Here are the roofing options we have available:

Fly-over roof

Flyover Patio Roof 01

A fly-over roof is the perfect option for those who love a low-maintenance roof with an abundance of style! This kind of roof is built slightly above your existing home’s roof, creating great ventilation and adding height to your outdoor space. A flyover roof is typically a freestanding structure, meaning it is unattached to your existing home.

This keeps your patio cool and breezy during the hot summer months and the design only adds to the aesthetic appeal.

Louvered roof

Louvered Roof

A louvered roof is another great style for those who want natural light in their outdoor patio. A louvered roof is built with slanted horizontal slats that can open or close with the touch of a button, creating a versatile and protected space.

With its open and close features, a louvered roof is great for providing shade when necessary and lots of beautiful sun whenever you like! A louvered roof enables you to open up your outdoor space to the sky, for a sunny day or for romantic star-gazing. Don’t overlook the breeze factor too! You can control the breeze flow creating even more coolness on hot days.

Flat roof

Flat Roof Patio

Our flat roof design is versatile and modern, and can match any existing style that your home is designed in. A flat roof is exactly what it sounds like- a roof that is a seamless extension of your current house, that is flat in its design! A great style for those who enjoy low-maintenance structures that still feel luxurious and chic.

Gable roof

Gable Patio insulated

Our flat roof design is versatile and modern, and can match any existing style that your home is designed in. A flat roof is exactly what it sounds like- a roof that is a seamless extension of your current house, that is flat in its design! A great style for those who enjoy low-maintenance structures that still feel luxurious and chic.

Insulated roofing

Insulated roof patio

Insulated roofing is a customisation option that gives that little bit of extra protection and shelter from the elements. Keeping your patio cool during hot summer days and warm during the winter months, insulation is great for those who love the outdoors as well as a high level of comfort!

Roofing material options

Your patio roof can be built with various different materials, including aluminium and steel. There are many benefits to each building material, such as the cooling properties of an insulated roof, or the strength and durability of a steel-built patio. Check out our patio roof designs for more information!

Pros of a patio

The pros to having an outdoor space like a patio are numerous! Not only does it give you a great new living space to enjoy, a patio can also:

  • Integrate the indoors into your backyard
  • Provide additional space for entertaining and relaxation
  • Add storage space that is protected from the elements
  • Increase your home value

Cons of a patio

At Trueline, there are very few cons to adding an amazing outdoor space like a patio. However, there can be some obstacles to the building and design process, such as:

  • The disruption during installation of a patio – although we’re normally finished within a few days!
  • There may be required council regulation processes to go through
  • Some patio designs restrict natural lighting due to an opaque roof

What is a pergola?

Pergolas are primarily a non-roofed outdoor structure that are used as an architectural design to enhance your outdoor area. A pergola does not typically have a protective style roof, meaning that natural elements such as sun and rain are able to pass through the structure.

Pergolas are usually constructed from posts and beams with options for shade cover. Shade covering can include laser cut screening, aluminium battens or even a shade cloth.

Pergolas are the perfect option for nature lovers who enjoy bringing a bit of the outdoors into their living space! For those who love outdoor plants or adding nature into their style with a climbing vine, a pergola provides the structure for you to pull it off. Check out our pergola ideas and design page for more inspiration!

A pergola is a great way to enhance your backyard space for many reasons, including:  

Recreation and entertainment

Of course, a pergola is quite similar to a patio in its ability to create an amazing outdoor environment for entertainment and recreation!

Style your pergola with outdoor seating and a new barbie, and you’ve got the perfect place for all of your dinner parties, celebrations and family gatherings.

With a pergola, the added positive is that you’ll always have natural light and exposure to the beautiful outdoors around you.


Relaxation is easily accomplished in the calm and comfort of a pergola. With stylistic and functional elements combining to provide you with the ultimate comfort zone, a pergola is perfect for a morning yoga session or afternoon cup of tea. Escape from the busyness of life in your new outdoor space.

Garden integration

For all nature-lovers out there, a pergola allows you to integrate your garden and landscape design into your outdoor living area.

Where patios are limited in terms of natural lighting and room for your outdoor plants, flowers and shrubs to thrive, pergolas shine with their ability to blend in the beauty of nature with your outdoor space.

You can use the pergola structure for growing climbing plants and vines like wisteria for an added natural element to your backyard.  


Of course, the addition of an outdoor living space enables prospective home buyers to realise the versatility of your home! If you are aiming to build an outdoor living area for re-selling purposes, a pergola is a great focal point for your home, as it adds great style and functionality.

The different pergola roof designs available

Pros of a pergola

There are so many positives to installing a pergola in your home, including: 

  • Integrates your garden area with your outdoor space 
  • Enhances your backyard with an architectural structure 
  • Provides additional space for entertaining and relaxation
  • Increases your home value 

Cons of a pergola

There are so many positives to installing a pergola in your home, including: 

  • Integrates your garden area with your outdoor space 
  • Enhances your backyard with an architectural structure 
  • Provides additional space for entertaining and relaxation
  • Increases your home value 

How different states define patios and pergolas

So, where did the confusion between patios and pergolas come from? 

While they are both different types of outdoor spaces, many Australians use ‘patios’ and ‘pergolas’ interchangeably, which can cause lots of challenges for customers and builders alike. 

When these words are used interchangeably, both words take on the same meaning, which is usually just an ‘outdoor structure with a roof and floor’.

After learning the difference between a patio (non-pervious roofed structure) and pergola (non-roofed structure), what do you think about this befuddlement? 

Check out the table below to see how your state has confused these definitions: 

“Patio” is more commonly used
“Pergola” is more commonly used
Both terms used and interchangeable
New South Wales (NSW)
Victoria (VIC)
Queensland (QLD)
Western Australia (WA)
South Australia (SA)
Northern Territory (NT)
Northern Territory (NT)

Frequently asked questions

What is the difference between a pergola, gazebo and patio?

The difference between a pergola, gazebo and patio are the roof designs.

A pergola is typically a non-roofed or partially roofed structure that does not provide full protection from nature’s elements.

A gazebo and patio are both roofed structures, however a gazebo is usually a free standing structure most commonly used for seating purposes.

A patio is a versatile outdoor space that is functional and stylish for all your entertaining and relaxing needs.

What is the difference between Alfresco and patio?

Although alfresco actually just means ‘outdoors or in the open air’ it is commonly used to refer to an outdoor structure built to look like it is part of the existing house.

A patio is an outdoor space that is most often built as an addition or extension to an existing structure, with a non-pervious roof.

Can you have a pergola on a patio?

Technically, yes you can. If you want to have an open roof structure, then you can have a pergola on a patio floor space. In that case though, you would just call it a pergola instead of a patio.

At Trueline, we define a pergola as ‘open-roofed’ and a patio as having a non-pervious roof, meaning that a pergola on a patio is just a pergola! If you’re still a bit confused, check out our pergola designs page for more inspiration.

What is the difference between a patio and a verandah?

There are quite a few differences between a patio and verandah. While both are outdoor structures that are used for entertaining, recreation and as an additional living space, the structural elements differ significantly. The main differences between a patio and a verandah are:

Can be attached or freestanding
Attached to the house
Can run along one side or more sides of the house
Usually situated only on one side of the house
Patios have many different roof designs
Typically, verandah roof designs are flat designs

Does a pergola and patio increase a home's value?

An outdoor living space like a patio or a pergola can increase a home’s value, as it demonstrates versatility, functionality and style. It gives potential home buyers a focal point, and provides an outdoor space for relaxation and entertainment purposes which home buyers love to see.

Does a patio have a roof?

A patio does have a roof that is considered non-pervious. This means that no water or other elements can pass through the roofing structure. A patio provides protection from the elements and weather conditions, giving you the perfect outdoor space to enjoy year round!

What is the roof over a patio called?

The roof over a patio is often called a patio cover or simply a patio roof. We define a patio as a non-pervious roofed structure, meaning it provides protection from all weather elements.



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