How Tall Should a Pergola Be?

Garden pergolas serve as versatile additions to outdoor spaces, providing shade and style. But how tall should they be? Deciding the ideal height requires weighing practical functionality and aesthetic preferences.

In this guide, we’ll cut the chase, giving you the key considerations to make an informed decision. Plus, we’ll cover UK planning permission rules to ensure a hassle-free installation. Keep reading!

Factors to Consider

Sunjoy 4x2m Skuta Arched Pergola with Wood Finish and Tan Shade
Sunjoy 4x2m Skuta Arched Pergola with Wood Finish and Tan Shade

Choosing the right height for your pergola is crucial, as it greatly affects how it looks and works. First, think about how you plan to use it. Are you envisioning it as a cosy spot for outdoor dining? A shaded retreat for relaxation or perhaps a support structure for climbing plants? The intended use will play a crucial role in determining how tall the structure should be.

Next, consider the location. Is it going to be nestled in a small backyard, positioned on a spacious patio, or maybe placed in a garden corner? The surroundings can influence how tall it should be to fit within the space.

Aesthetics also play a vital role. Do you prefer a pergola that stands out as a focal point in your outdoor area? Or would you rather it blend seamlessly with its surroundings? The height can greatly affect the pergola’s visual impact and the landscape design. These factors ensure your pergola fits your needs and enhances your outdoor space. 

Whether DIY or pre-made, they ensure your investment is a perfect match for your outdoor haven. So, when you decide how tall to make your pergola, think about how well it works and how good it looks. It should do what you need it to do and make your outdoor space look nice. If you think about these things carefully, your pergola will be useful and look great!

Recommended Pergola Height

Sunjoy Oeta 4x3m Steel Pergola with Adjustable Shade
Sunjoy Oeta 4x3m Steel Pergola with Adjustable Shade

When setting up your pergola, think about what you’ll be doing underneath it. If it’s for eating meals outside, you’ll want it high enough for everyone to sit comfortably. There should be enough space above the head to move around without feeling squished. So, around 8 feet high would be good for that.

If you’re planning to relax and chat with friends or read a book, you might want a bit more space. A taller pergola, maybe around 9 or 10 feet, creates a cosy feeling without feeling too cramped.

Thinking of adding some plants, like hanging flowers or climbing vines? If so, you’ll need even more height. Around 10 to 12 feet should give your plants plenty of room to grow upwards. Imagine beautiful flowers hanging down from your pergola, reaching towards the sky. Check our guide on ‘How to Grow Plants and Vines on a Pergola’ for more.

For UK planning permission standards, keep it under 2.5 meters (8.2 feet) in height if it’s attached to your house. For standalone structures, aim for a maximum height of 3 meters (9.8 feet). Sticking within these limits ensures compliance and a hassle-free installation process.


By now, you already know why picking the right height for your pergola is important. It needs to fit your needs and look nice in your outdoor space. Think about what you’ll do under it and how it’ll fit in your yard. Also, make sure it follows the planning permission regulations. With these in mind, your pergola will be perfect for relaxing or having fun outside for a long time.

If you’re looking for more options for adding shade to your garden, consider a wooden gazebo or heavy-duty parasols. Up next on your reading list: What’s the Difference Between a Gazebo and Pergola?