Is a DIY Pergola the Right Choice for you?

Introduction to Pergolas

First of all, what is a pergola? A Pergola can be generalized in to being a vertical 4 post (or more, depending on size) structure, with horizontal cross beams. Some pergolas can have an open roof plan and some have more of a motorized, open and close, option.

As popularity in the DIY space grows, it is only natural that it would also be included when discussing pergolas. Many homeowners are looking for more ways to save some money and do projects as a DIY project.

Creating cool diy pergolas can protect you from rain and wind.  Watch your yard space grow into a great weekend hangout spot!

Understanding Pergolas

We briefly touched on what a pergola is and what some common benefits may be. A pergola is a 4 or more post structure with beams and perhaps a roof system. You can either have it as a stand alone option or attach to a side of your home. There are several different material list that you can use. Anywhere from vinyl to wood, to fiberglass to metal.

Many different style options are available. You can have a rafters, or an open roof. It is also possible to use a louvered roof system, allowing you to close and open the louvers. Depending on the space or idea you are working on will determine what type of pergola you have interest in.

Definition and purpose

A pergola is a structure typically found in gardens, yards or outdoor spaces. They are oftentimes designed to provide a framework for vertical posts or pillars that support cross beams and a durable open lattice; also can be left open or closed roof. With plants being added and lighting or fans under the pergola, it can become a very comfortable space to host friends and family.

Common pergola materials used

There are several different materials that can be used when going through your pergola plans. Many of the basic options include: Vinyl, wood, aluminum and fiberglass. I will share a bit more detail about each of these different materials.

Aluminum pergola on an existing patio structure.  Beautiful pergola and shade for your house.

Wood offers a couple of choices. Many people are going to look at Cedar, Redwood or Pressure treated Pine. Cedar is resistant to decay and insects. It is also known to be lightweight and known for its natural beauty. It also carries a pleasant aroma, thus making it a popular choice.

Redwood is a similar wood to cedar as it is naturally resistant to decay and insects. Like Cedar, it has a rich color and can be left untreated for a more natural look.

Redwood is a good, natural wood option when looking at a DIY pergola option.

Pressure-treated Pine can be another wood option. It is also resistant to decay and insects and is more cost effective than other wood types. This may require staining or sealing for a longer lifespan.

Lumber used in the construction of this DIY pergola.  Open, slated roof with a nice flat seating area, underneath.

Vinyl is also another very popular material for pergola plans. Vinyl is known to be a virtually maintenance free material and easy to clean if needed. Vinyl will also not decay, rot, rust or be infested by insects. Vinyl is also available in a variety of different colors and styles.

Create a backyard build you can be proud of!  You don't need hope.  With some details and a bit of additional information, you can build the pergola of your dreams.

Another very popular pergola material available to build your DIY pergola, would be aluminum. Aluminum is a lightweight material, also very much resistant to rust and corrosion, as well as low maintenance. An aluminum pergola could be the best material, across the board for your DIY pergola project, for many of the benefits listed above. Aluminum is often powder coated as well, for a lasting finish.

If sleek design and clean lines are your interest, an aluminum diy pergola may be a perfect fit for you.  In many parts of the country, its the perfect choice!

Styles and Design options

There are a number of style and design options when it comes down to building your DYI pergola. What type of pergola are you after? There are traditional pergolas, modern pergolas, arched pergola as well. You can get them gabled or freestanding, attached to your home or not, the possibilities are numerous and fun to go through.

Basic tools can be used to secure this structure in your backyard.  High durability with this project.

The most popular styles you might see are generally a 4 post, traditional pergola. These are often made out of wood, vinyl or aluminum and can have decorative features and many different color options.

A modern pergola is almost unilaterally built out of aluminum. Aluminum offers the ability to manufacture pergolas with very geometric, straight lines. There is usually minimal decoration and built mostly for their industrial look.

Benefits of having a pergola in your outdoor space

The benefits of owning a pergola in your outdoor space are numerous. Do you enjoy hosting or entertaining friends and family at your home? If your answer was Yes!, then a pergola has a great benefit to you. Regardless of your answer, if enjoying the outdoors and shade in your backyard are relaxing to you, just imagine doing that under your new Pergola.

PROs of DIY Pergola

The PROs of a DIY pergola are many and could really sway your decisions one way or another. For one, there is a tremendous cost savings by installing your own pergola. You will be able to save thousands on labor costs. You also have complete control of the project. You know exactly how large and the scope to prepare yourself.

This may also be a good project work on with friends or family. It could be looked at as a bonding time experience and could be fun. Neighbors will be in awe when they see you tackling this fun, DiY project.

Concrete patio foundation is needed for most diy projects.

CONs of DIY Pergolas

Some of the Cons of a DIY pergola project could be: not enough construction experience. If you do not have the needed experience, the project could turn into a nightmare. Limited customization options could be an issue with a kit.

DIY Projects can be a fun process for all involved.

If a cut is made incorrectly, costs could begin to skyrocket as additional parts and pieces would be needed. If your construction expertise is lacking, the time commitment needed for a DIY pergola may be a bit too much for you to handle.


Is a DIY pergola project the right project for you? You will need to make sure you do a proper assessment of your construction knowledge and skill level before you get involved in a DIY project.

It can absolutely be a great way to save a few bucks, but if you are not comfortable experience wise, then it can cost you greatly.

Do some research and find some friends to help work on your DIY projects! You will not regret it.

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