If your brain has filed pergolas, verandahs and patios in the same folder simply called ‘areas for chilling out in’, you’re not alone. But failing to understand the difference will not only make you sound silly when the next Sunday afternoon discussion over a beer and a barbeque is taking place. It will definitely also make deciding which one to choose for your forthcoming renovations almost impossible.

So rather than discuss orcas vs sharks or Darth Vader vs Luke, today we’re getting really deep with our ultimate ‘pergola vs verandah’ battle of the century (with a side-serving of patios):

Pergola VS Verandah VS Patio – What’s the difference, anyway?

“Why don’t you put in a patio?” someone told you recently. “No, I think you really should go for a pergola,” another helpful friend added. “But have you seriously considered a verandah?” comes the reply. It’s enough to make you want to change the subject immediately.

So before returning to that confusing conversation, here’s the lowdown:

1. What is a patio?

If you guessed that the word comes from Spain, you’d be correct – even though it’s best said in an Aussie accent. As for what it is, you probably already have one – that paved area just outside your back door that probably contains your barbeque. Most people regarded it as just as important as bathrooms or bedrooms, and some are even better equipped than a dining room or kitchen. You get the picture.

patio design

2. What is a pergola?

Now, we travel from Spain to Italy for the origin of this word, but – again – it’s an iconic outdoor area to chill out in right here in Australia. The Italians used the word to describe a structure for climbing plants, but we think of it as a shady structure of some sort that is either attached or free-standing. A pergola does not have an enclosed roof. The shade is typically provided by a roof frame, which can be made of a variety of materials, and a pergola is acceptable in just as many shapes. As for the difference between patios and pergolas, it’s subtle but important: a patio is generally regarded as part of the home, but a pergola is essentially an extension of the garden, with climbing plants creating shade and aesthetic appeal.

To give you more ideas about pergolas, check out our Melbourne pergola designs!


3. What is a verandah?

Now that we’ve settled that patio vs pergola quandary, let’s move on to an even more difficult challenge: pergola vs verandah. The word itself dates back to the early 18th century, with ‘varanda’ literally meaning ‘railing’ or ‘balustrade’ – but actually refers to the transition from inside to outside. Unlike a patio, where you can sit for dinner around a sizeable table, we think of a verandah as a much longer and much narrower structure, providing outdoor shade that is basically an extension of the main roof. Think of our Queenslander-style homes, and you’re thinking of sitting a morning cup of coffee out the front or the back under a verandah.

But actually, a verandah can be any shape or size! The main difference between a pergola and verandah is the later has an enclosed roof, typically a flat or gable style.

Check out our Melbourne verandah installations to have a clear picture of the custom verandah designs on offer.

Flat Verandah Roof Caulfield South Melbourne

So there you have it: that age-old pergola vs verandah vs patio question finally answered! All of them are great places to chill out in on a lazy weekend at home in Australia – and the really great news is that the trusted builders at Mr Verandah can not only design and build any of them for you, we can also do your deck, garage, carport, pool house or home extension. Like to know how Mr Verandah can help you enhance your lifestyle or add value to your home with a brilliant new indoor-outdoor alfresco addition? Contact us now for a free quote estimate.