Gabled pergolas

Gabled pergola
Gabled pergolas feature two sloping roof surfaces that form a triangle at the end.

What is a gabled pergola?

A gable is the triangular space at the end of a roof consisting of two sloping roof halves (see the picture for a more obvious explanation). On a house, these are typically load bearing structures but as pergolas are generally much lighter and don’t have load bearing walls to support, the gable is largely decorative. On more sizable pergolas gabled roofs can be designed in such a way as to be structurally useful, and then given a little extra garnish for appearances.


What are the benefits of gabled pergolas?

Apart from the fact that they look very pleasant, pergolas with filled-in gables can offer a little additional protection from the sun should it happen to shine down from an angle not fully covered by the roof. A gable can also act as a cross beam from which to suspend shade cloth, or some other sort of screening material and can even be trellised to train vines along. Closed gables add to the feeling that a pergola is 'enclosed', and increase the sense that the pergola is an indoor room outdoors.


How are gabled pergolas constructed?

The gable simply requires a pitched roof with two opposing roof faces that form a triangle on the end. There are many potential ways to fit the gable ‘brief’ (i.e. the filling in the triangle part), ranging from trellises and latticework on which vines and creepers can be trained to grow, to solid wooden designs which can allow for intricate carvings or paintwork. Each design has more or less the same framework as a gable for a house, but adds different façades to vary the look.


Are there any problems with gabled pergolas?

The main issue with gables, especially solid designs, is that they can trap large gusts of wind underneath the roof which places a strain on the fixings. This is normally a manageable problem but may be a concern in cyclone prone areas where a large gust of wind could potentially take the roof off.