Pergolas vs Awnings – What’s The Difference?

retractable awnings for your home

If you love the outdoors, pergolas and awnings help you enjoy your space no matter the weather. But what’s the difference between the two, and which one is best suited to your home?  

In this article we will look at the difference between awnings and pergolas, the pros and cons of each and which one is best for your home.  

What is the Difference Between a Pergola and Awning?

Awnings and pergolas are both outdoor instalments designed to provide shelter from the elements. In saying this, there is one key difference that separates the two: An awning is an attachment to the external façade of a property or building. While a pergola, on the other hand is a permanent structure – either as an attachment to a house or freestanding.  

What Is An Awning?

An awning is a roof-like cover that extends over an outdoor space, offering shade and shelter from the elements. They provide sturdy protection across a number of applications and are often found over decks, patios, windows and doors of homes and commercial buildings.  

Awnings come in two different forms, fixed and retractable. Fixed awnings are permanent fixtures that are typically made of aluminium or metal and can withstand storms and water. Retractable awnings are typically made of fabric or canvas and can be extended or retracted based on the weather.  

Pros and Cons of Awnings


  • Extend or retract them to enjoy the outdoors no matter the weather. 
  • Motorisation allows easy operation at the touch of a button. 
  • Sun and wind sensors ensure the awning is retracted in severe weather. 
  • Awnings add value to your home 
  • Awnings create an extended living area for your home.  


  • Not as weather-proof as covered pergolas. Awnings need to be retracted in poor conditions like thunderstorms, heavy rain and high winds. Different awning models and fabrics will offer varying weather protection. Reach out to a reputable supplier if you are unsure what is best suited to your needs.  

What Is A Pergola?

A pergola is a permanent outdoor structure made of columns that support a roofing grid of beams and rafters. This roofing grid can either be left open or covered to provide shelter from the elements. A pergola can either be mounted to the side of your house with two support beams, or a free-standing structure fully detached from the house.  

Pros and Cons of Pergolas


  • Can be attached to a house or freestanding. This means they can be located anywhere outdoors and aren’t restricted to a wall or roof attachment.  
  • Acts as an extended living area to your home. 
  • Can be used in all-weather as opposed to an awning that needs to be retracted in strong winds or rain.  


  • Can be more polarising to buyers as they are a permanent structure. 
  • If your pergola is made of wood, it will require regular treating and upkeep.

What Is Best For Your Home?

If you are after a permanent, all-weather shelter, then a pergola is the option for you. While pergolas offer weather protection, they can’t be folded away when you want to enjoy the winter sun.  

Awnings on the other hand, provide shade for your guests and can easily be retracted when not in use. This makes awnings a great option for those seeking flexibility in their outdoor space and want to enjoy it all year round.  

How Much Does It Cost To Install An Awning Vs Pergola?

It is impossible to give a definitive answer to this question as there are a number of variables when it comes to how much you will need to pay for an awning or canopy. These include size, coverage, motorisation and added extras. To get an idea of how much an awning will cost you, use our free awning price estimator tool.  

Choose Australia’s Quality Awning Supplier

When choosing an awning for your home, it’s important to prioritise a durable and functional retractable awning that will provide a long-lasting shade solution custom made to your outdoor area.  Helioscreen is Australia’s leading supplier of retractable awnings for a variety of residential buildings. Contact us for more information. 

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