Pergola FAQs

Having a pergola installed in your home or workspace adds an instant sense of beauty, structure, and definition.

They allow natural air to circulate and give you direct access to sunlight while still maintaining some form of shade for added comfort during those unbearably hot summer days.

Modern pergola styles come in a variety of materials, including wood, aluminum, glass, and vinyl, and can be custom-built depending on your space and personal tastes.

If, like many, you’re looking to add the majesty of a pergola to your space but are unsure of where to begin, here are a few frequently asked questions about them:

How much does a pergola cost?

There is no standard cost to any pergola as its pricing depends on the size, material, and the complexity of the design that you want.

However, to give you a ballpark figure, the average cost of a pergola can range anywhere from $2,500 to $6,000.

Take note that the use of some materials cost more than others (say, fiberglass versus aluminum).

Where can I place a pergola? Which is the best spot?

A pergola can be placed anywhere in your backyard or any open space. The most common locations for a pergola are:

  • An outdoor dining space
  • Next to an outdoor fireplace
  • Along the side of a pool to provide relief and shade
  • Over a hot tub or a jacuzzi
  • Over your patio

Pergolas can also be placed over walkways or pathways leading to your garden or backyard to provide a dramatic entrance when you and your guests walk through them.

What kind of materials are used to build pergolas? Which is the most durable?

Most traditional pergolas are made out of wood, but homeowners have found that pergolas made from this material require frequent maintenance as they have to be regularly re-stained and re-sealed. Popular wood choices are pressure-treated pine, cedar, redwood, and teak.

If you’re looking to go with wood, your best choice would be cedar as it generally resists rot, insect activity, and does not need to be painted and stained. However, we must add that cedaer is more prone to cracking, negatively impacting the pergola’s look over time.

Nowadays, homeowners have switched to using materials such as aluminum and vinyl for their pergolas as they are easier to maintain and weather better than wood. Alumawood — aluminum that has been processed, painted, and embossed to mimic the look of actual wood — is a fairly inexpensive material and is resistant to conditions such as rotting and insects, which traditional wood isn’t immune to.

How are pergolas custom built? How can I customize mine?

If you’re running low on time or ideas, you can hire an experienced contractor to help you with the custom design of your pergola.

Having a contractor gives you plenty of freedom and flexibility when it comes to choosing the perfect design, size, shape, material, color, and columns. You can even control the width of each column, and subsequently, just how much, or how less, sunlight goes through. Take note to match the column to your house for a cohesive, put-together look!

You can customize the look of your pergolas further by installing trailing plants that caress the columns of your pergolas. You can also trail rope lighting to the columns of your pergolas so you can emphasize the beautiful look of your pergola even at nighttime.

In addition to this, you can also install benches and planters, or add an elegant lattice to one side.

Take note that pergolas don’t shield you from the rain. If you want something rain-proof, you can opt for a pavilion instead.

I want to build my pergola myself. Can I do this?

While we admire your determination to go it alone, oftentimes it’s best to hire an experienced contractor to do the job on your behalf and save yourself tons of time, hassle and money in the process.

However, if you have the necessary woodworking background and skills, and have a lot of free time on your hands, you might actually be able to give it a shot. Just make sure that you have the necessary equipment, tools, and materials ready, and to have a solid plan in place prior to constructing your pergola. Plenty of pergola plans and kits can be purchased online.