Shane told me a couple of weeks ago that we were building a really nice arbor for some homeowners out in Franklin. But when I went out there to take pictures of it last week, I was surprised to find what I thought was a pergola. (This post is being written by Stratton Exteriors Office Manager Ellen, by the way.)┬áSo I wondered: Well, what’s the difference between a pergola and an arbor?

After probably too much research, I have come only to an inconclusive answer, which is that the difference between an arbor and a pergola amounts to a hill of beans. Some sources do differentiate pergolas and arbors a bit, by saying that arbors are usually in gardens while pergolas shelter outdoor seating areas. Also, many arbors are arched.

One thing’s for sure: The pergola has picked up speed in the past decade. Prior to that, you hardly ever heard the word “pergola” used, but now everyone and their mama wants a pergola to dine al fresco under. We think today’s pergola is yesterday’s gazebo. Because who has a gazebo anymore? If you do, we’re not knocking it. We just haven’t been asked to build any gazebos lately that’s for sure.

We get the pergola craze. They’re pretty fantastic because they’re very affordable and durable, add visual interest, offer some privacy and shade, and define an outdoor space. Also, they’re the perfect structure to allow to be overtaken by gorgeous flowering vines. Think big clots of wisteria and clematis.

This is the one we just finished up in Franklin:

pergola Nashville

nashville pergola

That filtered sunlight … kind of magical. By any other name it would be as magical.