How Tall Can A Pergola Be? And The Ideal Height

Whether you are looking to build a pergola to provide shade to your patio or want one over your deck, one of the first questions to consider is what height should a pergola be?

If you’re not sure how tall a pergola can actually be, keep reading.

Although most pergola projects are between 8 feet to 10 feet, you can still build a pergola as tall as 4m or 13 feet. However, depending on where you live and your local ordinance, the maximum height of a pergola will vary. It’s best to check with local regulations regarding pergola height in your area.


Height is one of the most popular things people ask about when they are looking for a pergola or gazebo. You might be wondering if how tall does a pergola or gazebo has to be.

The answer is, there is no perfect height for a pergola. However, depending on the width of your pergola, there is some height that you should consider to maintain the proper proportions so it won’t look odd.

To figure out the best proportions for your pergola, you can use the classic golden mean ratio.

Below is a table on how tall a pergola should be depending on it’s width.

WidthProportioned Height Based On The Golden Mean Ratio
16’×16′9.88 feet or 10 feet (Rounded)
16’x20′10.5 feet (Rounded)
20’x20′12.3 feet or 12.5 feet (Rounded)

The best height will also depend highly on the eaves of your house. It you choose to cover your pergola with plants or vines, then you may want your pergola lower than the eaves of your home. The reason behind this is because the tendrils of the vines might reach and get under the shingles of your roof. The leaves then can cover your gutters or it could even end up reaching the inside of the soffit of your house.

There should be no problems if your patio is lower than the house. It will be low enough to avoid this problem while still giving you some reasonable height.

It make look awkward and out of place if you build a pergola that is taller than your home.


This question inevitably comes up when discussing pergola designs and sizes. After all, there are some beautiful pergola kits available and they all look quite tall.

So, what do you do if you want a taller pergola?


The first question is, it allowed or legal in your local area to build a taller pergola?

Some local ordinances are quite strict. For instance, many areas consider anything over 10 feet high as a structure, and you will have to follow building codes rather than using a kit.

If you are reaching greater heights, you can use adjustable, post-style posts that allow you to adjust the height of the structure. You can also buy pergolas that are pre-made and just attach to a surface. By having your arbor post-supported, you may be able to get around the ordinance.

When we build pergolas or gazebos, we sometimes are able to get around local ordinances with the use of post-style posts. These are easy to adjust or move so you can cut the height down to something acceptable in your area.

Be sure to check with your local ordinance first to avoid any unforeseen problems.


The second question to consider is where will your pergola be used.

A taller pergola might add additional weight, so you will also have to add the load-bearing of your pergola posts. If you’re building a pergola for your deck, you can use taller posts but it might increase the weight of your pergola, make sure your deck is sturdy and free from damage especially on wooden decks.


If you have already built a tall pergola and experiencing zoning issues or an upset neighbor. If your pergola is more or less a straightforward structure then fixing the problem can just take a few hours to lower it.

Depending on how your pergola was built or assembled, there are 2 ways you can do.

  • First, you can cut the columns down if they are exposed. If your columns are enclosed with another material then you would have to get to the base of the column in order to detach it.
  • Secondly, depending on the materials used on your pergola, how it was assembled, you can cut the columns from the top.

If you are going to DIY this, make sure to brace everything really tight, and the structure is super secure to prevent it from tipping over or collapsing. I advise you to call the same contractor who built your pergola as they’ll probably know what exactly to do.


Your local council has the authority to make you remove your pergola if it does not follow guidelines, restrictions or if it’s illegally built.

The council may also be able to make you pull down your pergola if it interferes with other buildings. If the council had proven that your pergola causes problems in public areas.

I suggest talking with your local council and getting permission before erecting your pergola. To avoid unnecessary fines and undue stress, respect your local council, and follow all guidelines.


In conclusion, even when building pergolas or gazebos, you may run into zoning issues involving height or size. Handling these problems is best handled by contacting the council by phone or email if you have any issues.

Always follow all local guidelines before you start building a pergola. Check with the council before erecting your pergola to learn what height you can build it to.