Guide to Building Pergolas

You’ve some outdoor space, and you would want to turn it into something useful? Then you have a great option in a Pergola- a landscaping structure that covers an outdoor space partially. You use columns to support a grid of beams and rafters and thus create a latticework roof. You can decide to cover it all or leave it as an open Trellis when building it. There’s some similarity between a Pergola and a gazebo in providing shade and support to climbing plants. You can also have pergolas attached to a side of your home, or you can leave them freestanding. You can also have them near the pool, fire pits, hot tubs, or barbecues, providing some protected outdoor living space.

Some materials used in building Pergolas


Traditional pergolas are built out of wood, but today, so many other materials can be used to build the same, including concrete, steel, aluminum, and PVC.

Vinyl: A lightweight type is a popular option when making pergolas. You can get whatever colors complement your backyard and the entire exterior space. It’s resistant to rust, mold, termites, and even rot.

Pressure-treated wood: This is easy to stain and paint and is an affordable option when building your pergola. It’s light and straightforward to maneuver than aluminum or steel. That makes it easier to work with at home, especially if you are a novice.

Cedar: The red cedar type is excellent for building pergola due to its resistance to rot and bugs and has an attractive natural color.

The pergola components

The common elements of a pergola are;

Beams: These are the long planks connecting the columns, and they support the pergola rafters.

Rafters: Long planks are placed on top of the beams and run perpendicular to them. They form the first part of the roof’s latticework.

Stringers: These are thinner than rafters and beams and are placed on top of the rafters, running perpendicular to them and thus providing shade and finishing the pergola’s latticework.

Pergola styles


Pergolas are made of different sizes and shapes. Following are some ideas that can enrich your choices.

Traditional pergola: The traditional design of a pergola has a gridded roof and lets in the sun, providing partial shade. The beams and rafters are evenly spaced, and the stringers are placed on top. They can be freestanding or attached to the existing structure.

The modern-box pergola: These are more contemporary in their looks than traditional pergolas. They usually have guided roofs, but the rafters, beams, and columns are usually squared off and thus creating the look of a box.

Attached pergolas: Instead of the usual four, the attached pergolas have two columns with ones side of the roof supported by your main house wall. You can add this to your home’s patio and thus create partial shading over some dining area or outdoor kitchen.

Freestanding pergola: This is a pergola standing on its own without the support of your home. They are set up to create some outdoor resting area near the garden or pool area.

Pergola with curtains: You need to add privacy and protection from the hot sun? You can attach curtains to the pergola’s open side. Here, you can use either mechanical curtains that you can retract or the traditional ones.

Things you should know when adding a pergola to your deck


Aside from the style you want for your pergola, it’s also crucial to consider the type of ceiling to provide a classy ceiling design. Thankfully, there are many ceiling design options to choose from. But if you’re looking for an authentic one, a tongue and groove ceiling may be a perfect choice. It consists of natural wood planks that fit alongside to create an aesthetically pleasing ceiling for the pergola. However, if you’re unfamiliar with this ceiling design, consider checking out product websites like Hardie Boys Inc and similar platforms to obtain more information.

On the other hand, you need to consider some things when adding a pergola to your deck. For example, If you choose the wooden type of pergolas, you’ve to be ready for regular maintenance. The type of wood you use will determine how often you do that. How you treat the wood and where you live are other determining factors in maintenance. With this type of pergola, you need to plan and clean, treat and repaint at least every two years. That will keep it looking fresh and keep it off and termite or mildew damage.

If yours is the traditional pergola covered with greenery, then you should plan on how you’ll be treating it regularly, so it isn’t weighed down.

What’s the cost of doing a pergola?

The size, material, and placement of the pergola will determine the cost of building one. But for an average one, you should think of something like a minimum of $3600 for a 10ft- cedar pergola. That includes labor, materials, and such. You could also get some kits for less than $1000 too. The high-end pergola kits cost up to $10,000 plus the installation cost. Therefore, you should have a budget and see what you can afford.

Build or buy?

If you choose a custom pergola, you should be ready with enough financial muscles. It’s a hefty investment, especially if you have to hire a landscaping company to care for design and labor. But the good thing is, it’s flexible in size, style, and material. If your outdoor space is quirky and a standard pergola can’t fit, then you need a professional to help you design one that will fit your space.

The less expensive option is assembling a pergola from a kit. The pre-cut wood and hardware could be up in a day. But you’re limited in terms of sizes and styles, although most come in standard square, rectangle, and the traditional Mediterranean design. Some come with retractable covers, which are convenient, especially if you need some more shade.

Why buy a retractable pergola canopy?

  1. Offer protection for all kinds of weather: If you’re buying one for the hot summer months, you can be sure of protection from the scorching sun of the season. And so you’ve unlimited protection when you need it. You will enjoy your summer days while protecting your family from all the curveballs that nature throws at you. Even during the rains, you can adjust it for protection.
  2. They are easy to clean: As long as you use the correct tools and avoid damaging chemicals, they are easy to clean like any other garden appliance. Don’t use high water pressure, and make sure you don’t scrape off any varnish or the pergola’s finishing to maintain its aesthetics.
  3. You can get any size of your choice: Pergolas come in different sizes and shapes. Therefore you have a chance to choose the color, type, and size that perfectly blends with your outdoor spec and house.

Pergolas are a great way of utilizing the outdoor space. With them, you’ve got an opportunity to make the space usable, creating more room for the family. For a perfect choice of pergola, you need a professional like to guide you in doing a custom one or even installing a kit. That will make it easy for you, and you can expect the best workmanship and someone who will be doing the maintenance from time to time.