Leafy grape vines bring this pergola to life.

Should you grow vines on your patio cover?


  • Beautiful
  • Filtered shade
  • Aroma
  • Attracts butterflies and hummingbirds


  • Messy - may drop leaves and debris
  • Maintenance - requires sweeping and trimming
  • Attracts bees, wasps and spiders
  • Can be a good hiding spot for snakes and lizards
  • Weight of vines and fruit can cause structural damage
  • Vines retain moisture and promote wood rot

While some homeowners opt for the clean lines of a plant free pergola, vines will bring your structure to beautiful life. Living, breathing plants not only contribute shade and privacy (see Landscaping for Privacy), they also offer color, freshness, and soft, romantic fragrance. This helps create the ambiance most people want in garden living in the first place.

  • Pro Tip: Hard prune vines once each year in the Fall season to prevent them from getting too large or adding too much weight to the structure. Routine pruning also deters birds and rodents from nesting in the thatch, a common concern with overgrown vines.
    - Scott Cohen, The Green Scene

In addition, growing vines over your patio covers improves shade and helps cool off the patio area. To cool themselves off, people perspire, but did you know plants do the same thing? It's called transpiration and plants actually evaporate moisture to cool themselves off. This transpiration effect works like nature's own mist system and can actually cool a patio area by as much as 15 degrees! Below are my top ten favorite patio cover plants. Check your local nursery for these or comparable specimens.

  • Pro Tip: If you want to grow grapes on your pergola, attach the vines to the structure from below. The birds can't clean out the fruit and it is beautiful in summer.
    - Paul C. Westberg

Top Ten Vines for Patio Covers:

See more Landscaping Plants

Related Reading:

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