A pergola is an attractive and functional architectural structure for residential and commercial outdoor spaces. Constructed from posts that support a proportioned design assembly of beams, rafters, and purlins (some colloquially refer to as slats) in designs that range from simple to elaborate.
Within the pergola’s footprint on the ground, there is often decking, pavers, or grass, and some have canopies or coverings that offer protection from the elements and cooling shade. With the addition of patio furniture, lounge chairs, or outdoor rugs, a pergola becomes a backyard oasis where kids can play, friends can visit, and families can eat together.
The best pergola kits are durable against weather, and create an enjoyable focal point in a backyard. This guide details top factors to consider as you shop for a pergola kit and describes some of the best pergola kits on the market for an outdoor space.
- BEST OVERALL: Backyard Discovery 14 x 10 Cedar Pergola
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Purple Leaf Retractable Pergola With Canopy
- BEST MIDRANGE: Coolaroo Aurora Pergola
- BEST LUXURY: Arlmont & Co. Corfu Vinyl Pergola
- BEST WITH CANOPY: Sunjoy Meadow Arched Pergola With Canopy
- BEST WITH CURVED ROOF: YardCraft 10 x 12 Wood Pergola Kit
- BEST FOR ENTERTAINING: Backyard Discovery Ashland Cedar Pergola
- BEST METAL: Veikous Aluminum Pergola With Canopy
- BEST WOOD: Yardistry Madison Solid Wood Pergola With Canopy
Before You Buy a Pergola Kit
Make sure you understand the difference between a pergola, a trellis, an arbor, and a gazebo so you choose the best structure for your needs.
- A pergola offers a semi-shaded outdoor living space. It includes posts that support an open structure of beams, rafters, and purlins that let the sun shine through the openings.
- A trellis is an open framework, like a pergola, except that it has thinner intersecting members called lattice that’s positioned closer together, creating a tighter frame and smaller openings. It can stand alone or attach to a pergola or house to enable vines or roses to grow up the side of it.
- An arbor is similar to a pergola, except it is much smaller and defines an entry or divides a pathway. Most arbors are intended to be walked through, but some have small integrated benches.
- A gazebo is a freestanding round, octagonal, or hexagonal garden structure with a finished floor, interior bench seating, low walls, and a complete roof. The roof is traditionally pitched to the center, typically in a conical shape.
Pergolas aren’t suitable for every outdoor space, especially small yards, as they tend to be large enough to fit seating and even a table underneath. In fact, some local laws prohibit construction that blocks the view of neighbors or neighboring buildings and there are property setbacks that are different for every municipality.
Before buying a pergola, find out whether restrictions in your area prohibit installation and whether you need a permit.
How We Chose the Best Pergola Kits
Add a sense of elegance and style with a backyard pergola in an outdoor space. Pergola kits provide an outdoor room or dining space for entertaining or relaxing, and even a hideout for snoozing. Our Top Picks list of pergola kits was determined by material, size, ease of assembly, and special features included for backyard events.
The picks include aluminum, vinyl, metal, and premium wood pergola kits, all of which are sturdy and weather-resistant. We included varying sizes of these models so there are ones suitable for small yards and others for large yards.
Most come with anchors or mounting hardware for easy assembly. Though a power drill or multiple people may be required for select pergolas, once assembled many are made to last through all-season weather.
These picks also prioritize special features like adjustable panels or canopies for rain and UV protection, bars for entertaining, outlets, or resin feet for added durability.
Our Top Picks
The best pergola kits turn available lawn, patio, or deck space into an outdoor oasis. Here’s a rundown of some of the best pergola kits on the market to help bring a backyard to life.
An elegant structure for a backyard, this Backyard Discovery cedar pergola offers plenty of space for outdoor lounging and entertaining. Resin feet and concrete anchors on the posts provide stability and weather resistance, which keeps the pergola safe and secure even when wind and rain blow in. The structure offers more than 120 square feet of overhead shade.
With plenty of space for vines and plants, a green thumb can easily enhance the pergola’s aesthetic and cultivate additional shade by adding greenery. At 7 feet 10.75 inches high and 14 feet long, this rectangular pergola provides 63 square feet of inside space for hanging lights and planters and placing outdoor furniture.
Assembly and installation are simple thanks to the manufacturer’s BILT app, which guides users through the setup step by step. Pieces come prestained, precut, and ready to assemble. The only other requirements are the right tools and an extra set of hands to assist.
- Material: Cedar wood
- Dimensions: 7 feet 10.75 inches high by 10 feet deep by 14 feet long
- Ease of assembly: Easy
- 63 square feet of inside space is plenty of room for many kinds of furniture sets
- Resin feet and concrete anchors included for a sturdy build
- Comes with BILT app for simple assembly instructions
- Pieces come prestained and ready to assemble
- Only available in a single colorway
Get the Backyard Discovery cedar pergola at Lowe’s, The Home Depot, Wayfair, or Backyard Discovery.
This pergola kit from Purple Leaf boasts a retractable canopy that allows the user to enjoy direct sunlight or shade. The UV-resistant and water-repellent top canvas protects users from the sun and light rain when fully closed. In addition, the locking system keeps the canopy safely in place.
Its rust-resistant, powder-coated aluminum frame is sturdy and reliable, and the base plate attaches to a variety of surfaces for additional integrity. Ideal for the pool, hot tub, outdoor dining, and entertainment, this pergola kit is 9.5 feet wide and 13 feet long with a height of 8 feet for plenty of sitting space. Overall, this pergola adds style and ambience to outdoor living.
- Material: Aluminum
- Dimensions: 8 feet high by 9.5 feet deep by 13 feet long
- Ease of assembly: Easy
- Rust-resistant and powder-coated aluminum construction
- Retractable and lockable canopy; UV-resistant and water-repellent construction
- Canopy is available in multiple colorways to suit shopper preferences
- May require concrete surface for more stable affixing
Get the Purple Leaf pergola at Amazon, Wayfair, Overstock, or Purple Leaf.
Coolaroo’s Aurora pergola fits well in outdoor areas without imposing on the yard or the wallet, transforming a yard or deck into a modern space. Made from a lightweight aluminum frame with a removable polyethylene canopy, this pergola suits both formal and casual settings equally well. Easily remove the weatherproof canopy for more sunlight or for occasional cleaning to keep it looking fresh.
With a footprint of 9 feet 10 inches square, it provides enough space for comfortable outdoor dining, while the assembled 7-foot height offers enough headroom to stand comfortably. This pergola kit includes deck fasteners for stability, and the pieces have precut and predrilled holes for easy assembly.
- Material: Powder coated aluminum
- Dimensions: 7 feet high by 9 feet 10 inches deep by 9 feet 10 inches long
- Ease of assembly: Difficult
- Rust-, UV-, mildew-, and water-resistant construction
- Comes with removable and retractable canopy; provides great shade
- Available in 3 stylish canopy color options
- Anchor and mounting materials not included
- Taller canopy size creates more difficult assembly
Get the Coolaroo pergola at Amazon, Tractor Supply Co., or Wayfair.
Arlmont & Co.’s vinyl pergola kits offer plenty of outdoor space for entertaining or just plain relaxing in the sun. They have three panels of louvers that can be set individually according to the sun’s position and the amount of shade they wish to let in—one fully open, one fully closed, and the third slightly open.
The UV-, water-, and rust-resistant vinyl structure allows for year-round use, and this 12-foot-by- 12-foot pergola can be anchored to grass, concrete, or wood. Vinyl won’t rot, crack, peel, fade, rust, discolor, or burn plants. It’s an ideal material for climbing vines, is easy to assemble, and has a height of 8 feet 7 inches.
- Material: Vinyl and PVC
- Dimensions: 8 feet 7 inches high by 12 feet deep by 12 feet long
- Ease of assembly: Easy
- Strong, all-season vinyl construction stands up to most weather conditions
- 3 adjustable panels included can block sun or allow more to pass through
- Can be affixed to multiple surfaces for easier installation
- Made using weather-, mold-, rust-, and corrosion-resistant materials
- Anchor and mounting materials not included
- Relatively expensive compared to similar models
Get the Arlmont & Co. pergola at Wayfair.
At some point in the day, the sun finds a way to beat down on that one spot that just doesn’t have any shade. But with this 11-foot-by-9.5-foot metal pergola kit from Sunjoy in that spot, users need not worry about that any longer. Instead, users can adjust the 7.8-foot-high canopy by dragging it down on either side of the structure to block out the sun as needed.
Sunjoy’s pergola kit offers style with its tan-colored canopy with chocolate brown trim to match the brown frame. The rust-resistant powder coating on the steel makes for a sturdy and reliable freestanding pergola. It is also relatively easy to assemble and users can have the pergola kit up and installed in a day, ready for the next outdoor event.
- Material: Powder-coated steel
- Dimensions: 7.8 feet high by 9.5 feet wide by 11.2 feet long
- Ease of assembly: Moderate
- Sturdy powder-coated steel frame is built to last
- Compact design is ideal for smaller yards
- Includes weather-resistant canopy in an attractive arched design
- Includes anchor/mounting hardware required for assembly
- Will likely require multiple people for assembly
Get the Sunjoy pergola at The Home Depot, Wayfair, Overstock, or Sunjoy.
YardCraft’s premium wood pergola kit adds both style and sophistication to an outdoor space with its curved roof. With its water-resistant, solid-wood construction, this pergola is suitable for year-round use and comes in three colorways to match current backyard fixtures. Curl up with a great book, watch the stars at night, or invite guests over for a dinner party.
The trim around the base of the posts hides the anchor brackets. Each intersection of the roof is notched to lock the top together and resist warping. Users have the option to anchor this pergola into concrete, on patios, or beside a pool. This pergola works in all sorts of scenarios and is fairly easy to assemble.
- Material: Southern yellow pine wood
- Dimensions: 8 feet 2 inches high by 10 feet deep by 12 feet long
- Ease of assembly: Easy
- Sturdy pine construction; all-season use
- Suitable for installation to multiple surfaces
- Can come stained or unstained for users to provide their own custom finish
- All anchor/mounting hardware included for easy assembly
- Requires staining or sealing every 1 to 2 years to maintain quality
- Solid wood makes this more expensive compared to similar models
Get the YardCraft pergola kit at Lowe’s, Wayfair, or YardCraft.
Create an outdoor space worthy of entertaining friends and family. Backyard Discovery’s spacious pergola provides more than 140 square feet of overhead shade and 77 square feet of usable space underneath—loads of room for guests and furniture. For entertaining, this cedar pergola has a built-in 7-foot bar which offers a serving area for drinks and food.
While electrical outlets provide a place to plug in a stylish set of string lights, mobile devices, or anything else that will enhance the party, the outlets require users to provide the electrical source to power them. The cedar pergola kit comes with precut, predrilled, and prestained lumber. A durable resin foot helps prevent rot, and concrete anchors help keep the structure in place.
- Material: Cedar wood
- Dimensions: 7 feet 11 inches high by 10 feet deep by 14 feet long
- Ease of assembly: Moderate
- Sturdy prestained cedar construction; all-season use
- Features built-in 7-foot bar and electrical outlets
- Durable resin feet and concrete anchors for a solid construction
- Suitable for large backyards or entertainment spaces
- Power source for outlets not included
Get the Backyard Discovery Ashland pergola at Amazon, Lowe’s, The Home Depot, or Backyard Discovery.
The Veikous aluminum pergola is a combination of style, durability, and functionality. Crafted with precision with high-quality aluminum, it will deliver long-lasting performance and be resistant to the elements.
The standout feature of the Veikous pergola is its retractable canopy, providing users with more control over the outdoor space. Whether the desire is for shade or sunlight, simply adjust the canopy to create the ideal atmosphere. The waterproof design protects users during unexpected rain showers, while the fade-resistant PA coating helps protect from UV rays and helps the pergola retain its vibrant appearance for years to come.
Designed for both residential and commercial settings, this pergola creates a versatile outdoor oasis. Perfect for enhancing a patio, garden, or backyard, it offers space for relaxation, entertaining, or even hosting events. With its sleek and modern design, the Veikous pergola can become the centerpiece of any outdoor area, offering both style and functionality in one package.
- Material: Aluminum
- Dimensions: 7.2 feet high by 10 feet deep by 10 feet long
- Ease of assembly: Easy
- Adjustable canopy moves smoothly and easily
- Lightweight aluminum materials are easier to assemble than heavier steel models
- Canopy features reinforced PA coating for better waterproofing and fade resistance
- Assembly instructions can be quite confusing and poorly written
Get the Veikous pergola kit at Wayfair.
Experience the elegance and functionality of the Yardistry Madison wood pergola. Made from solid cedar wood, this pergola combines durability with natural beauty. Its pitched-roof design adds a touch of sophistication, while the removable snap-on canopy allows users to control shade and sunlight effortlessly.
Enhancing its appeal, the Yardistry Madison features a convenient bar and shelf on the side. This unique addition provides the perfect space for entertaining guests or creating a cozy outdoor retreat. Whether users are hosting a lively gathering or seeking a tranquil spot to unwind, this pergola sets the stage for memorable moments.
- Material: Solid cedar wood
- Dimensions: 8 feet 2 inches high by 10 feet deep by 14 feet long
- Ease of assembly: Moderate
- Side bar area offers a fantastic entertainment element
- Natural wood construction is long lasting and ages well
- Pitched-roof design helps avoid pooling water on the canopy
- Assembly can be quite time-consuming; several heavy pieces to put together
Get the Yardistry Madison pergola at Lowe’s, The Home Depot, Wayfair, or Yardistry.
What to Consider When Choosing a Pergola Kit
Choosing the best pergola kit involves a variety of considerations. First, it’s essential to select the right material, size, and aesthetic for an outdoor space and to think about the intended use of the pergola.
Ease of installation and additional features that may come with a pergola kit also matter. When searching for the best pergola kit for your needs, keep the following key factors in mind.
Pergolas are made in wood, aluminum, steel, fiberglass, cellular PVC, and vinyl. Each material offers distinct advantages and disadvantages to consider. It’s helpful to think about these while shopping for the best pergola kit for your outdoor space.
- Wood pergolas have a rustic, natural aesthetic and are suitable for stain or paint. Although, it requires ongoing maintenance to prevent the color from fading and the wood from aging over time from severe weather. There is also a significant variability in price range based on wood type and other factors. Finally, it is also heavier than other materials and impractical to move after it is assembled.
- Aluminum pergola kits have sleek, modern-looking styles. The lightweight material is also suitable for moving some structures around the yard. They also have a nonporous surface that resists rot and rust. However, they are less durable than steel and fiberglass and may sustain dents over time. This type of pergola kit requires minimal maintenance and is also one of the most affordable options.
- Steel pergola kits typically have dark metal finishes and a stylish, minimalist appearance. They are also durable, can withstand the elements, and cover a wider area with fewer support structures. Though they require annual maintenance, they are available at midrange price points. They are also one of the heavier options for pergolas, aside from wood.
- Fiberglass pergola kits are strong with a long lifespan, but may crack in extreme temperatures. Slightly heavier than aluminum, they are lightweight and select picks have hollow components to more easily install lighting, fans, and patio heaters. Though they require minimal maintenance, they are one of the most expensive options on the market.
- Cellular PVC pergola kits are made with wood-like polymer/synthetic PVC plastic and can resist moisture penetration, splitting, and rotting. They are nearly impermeable, easy to paint, and require low to no maintenance. However, they are more expensive than natural wood.
- Vinyl pergolas are available in neutral shades that blend well with backyard spaces and are resistant to fading, chips, and cracks. Vinyl pergolas are also virtually maintenance-free and are typically on the higher end of the cost spectrum.
Purpose and Type
A pergola kit provides shade, privacy, and an overall upgrade to an underutilized lawn or patio space. Some attached pergolas may even increase the value of a home or property, which makes this purchase a long-term investment.
Pergolas create a homey outdoor space for social events, quiet solo time, or family dinnertime. While the uses of a pergola are only limited to an imagination, certain types of pergolas may align better with each user’s particular needs, including open top, sail, gabled (which are all freestanding structures), and attached.
- Open-top pergolas have an open roof, leaving the interior exposed to the elements. Designed for climbing plants to wind around, the pergola provides additional shade and weather protection as the vines grow thicker over time.
- Sail pergolas provide shade through fabric stretched taut between several poles of varying heights. This style offers more UV protection than an open top, but it may catch strong winds or wear and tear over time.
- Gabled pergolas have a pitched roof with triangular gables at the ends. This shape offers more interior height and space than flat-roof designs.
- Attached pergolas use a structure, usually the side of a house, to support one or more sides in place of additional columns. They create a smooth transition from indoor to outdoor space but may require a permit.
Size and Shape
Selecting the right size of a pergola for a yard, patio, or deck depends on the size of the yard. It’s often the goal of users to pick a size that doesn’t crowd out other yard elements. Sizes range from as small as 7 feet by 7 feet to as large as 20 feet by 20 feet.
Pergolas can be quite tall, so make sure that there is enough clearance to avoid touching tree branches, awnings, and other obstacles. Post placement is also crucial so the structure has the support it needs to keep from collapsing. Pergola shapes vary and the choice depends on both personal style and the best fit for the yard.
- Square pergolas include two to four posts that are easy to place in a yard or on a deck or patio.
- Rectangular pergolas create enough space for an outdoor dining table and additional room for entertaining.
- Hexagonal pergolas may be harder to find. They’re generally for larger deck spaces or poolside areas. They take up much more room and may have additional posts, which makes placing them more difficult.
- Circular pergolas tend to be larger and may require more posts to support the circular shape. These more intricate showpieces are intended for larger spaces and feature material for arches and other curved shapes. They are often suitable for big yards, gardens, or barbecue areas.
Pergolas tend to fit into a traditional, modern, or contemporary aesthetic.
- Traditional pergolas are more decorative and are usually made from wood treated with a protective sealant. This aesthetic employs elements such as scrolled ends on the beams or rafters, even spacing of purlins on the roof, and decorative posts.
- Modern pergolas utilize a simple box frame with clean lines. Made of a variety of materials such as metal, fiberglass, and PVC, this aesthetic creates a streamlined look with blunt ends and minimalist details.
- Contemporary pergolas incorporate a variety of design elements such as arched tops, curves, and I beams. This aesthetic may mix parts of traditional and modern aesthetics, using several materials to create a new and noteworthy style.
Adding vines, trellises, or curtains can enhance the aesthetic of a pergola.
- Vines can climb a trellis or the flat top of a pergola to create a living wall or structure.
- Trellises on the sides of a pergola provide additional privacy, shade, and a place for vines to climb.
- Curtains can be installed in a pergola’s frame for privacy, to increase shade, and to create a cabana-style aesthetic.
Specialized pergolas may offer extra features such as bench seating, built-in tables, and motorized screens.
- Bench seating may be built into the side of a pergola, much like a gazebo. A bench provides a place to enjoy the outdoors without needing to invest in additional outdoor furniture. These seats are typically made of the same material as the rest of the pergola.
- Built-in tables solve the issue of where to set up a bar, place appetizers, or play cards. As these tables are generally taller than a standard dining table, users can stand at or sit on stools around the table.
- Motorized screens come in handy when the sun dips low. The flat top of the pergola only provides shade when the sun is higher in the sky. With a click of a button, a motorized screen lowers to just the right height to keep the sun out of eyes as it sets.
Pergola kits typically include all the necessary precut and predrilled materials, including anchors. The only additional requirements are time and space. In most instances, users will need just a few tools, such as a wrench and a drill or screwdriver. There are two installation methods, depending on whether it is a freestanding or attached pergola.
- Freestanding pergolas, independent of other structures, offer flexibility in their placement. They must be properly anchored to a patio, deck, concrete, or lawn to prevent them from falling over. These pergola kits often offer easy-to-follow instructions, making them ideal for DIY installation.
- Attached pergolas are a bit more complex as they need to be secured to a home or building via a ledger board and may not be considered a “DIY pergola kit” unless the DIYer is confident in carpentry skills. Based on the unique features and dimensions of the home or building, attachment methods may vary. Consulting with a contractor may be the best option for this installation.
Once you’ve decided to purchase a pergola kit, you may have some additional questions about its purpose or how to best use it. Read on for some of the most frequently asked questions and answers about owning a pergola.
Q. What is the purpose of a pergola?
A pergola extends living space to the outdoors, essentially creating an open-air room that protects users from overbearing sunlight and the elements while providing a place to entertain and relax.
Q. How do I choose a pergola?
The best pergola for your needs depends on the available outdoor space, the type of pergola you prefer, the material used to construct it, and any other personal preferences or desire for additional features.
Q. Can you put a cover over a pergola?
Yes. You can install a cover to provide more shade when spending time inside the pergola. Consider a weatherproof fabric that’s easy to maintain.
Q. Are pergolas considered a permanent structure?
Pergolas are an open structure for a yard or patio/deck space. In the majority of cases, pergolas generally do not require a permit. However, in some municipalities, if it needs to be attached to the house, a permit may be required. Before purchasing a pergola, look into local code requirements on pergolas or similar structures.
Q. How long will it take to install my pergola kit?
Installation time for a pergola kit depends on the individual features and complexity of the assembly. Having one or more helpers ready to lend a hand with the installation generally makes it easier and faster to put together.
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