At Offerpad, we know a good backyard space can make a home. Nowadays, you can add so many features in making that backyard a perfect oasis or a host’s dream. With additions like landscaping, fire pits, gardens, and a pool, you should think about how to customize your backyard to what works best for your lifestyle. We keep hearing about how much a pergola can enhance your outside area and thought we’d share our findings with you.
But before we get started, we understand that the term ‘Pergola’ may be something brand new to you. The definition of a pergola found on Merriam-Webster¹ is:
A structure usually consisting of parallel colonnades supporting an open roof of girders and cross rafters.”
So basically, a pergola is an outdoor feature forming a shaded walkway, passageway, or sitting area consisting of vertical posts that support lateral cross-beams and pronounced ‘pur-guh-luh‘.
Now that everyone is up to speed, the rest of this post will be a guide to help you understand pergolas and decide whether you should build or buy one of your very own! This can absolutely be a DIY project, however, it’s still important to cover the cost vs effort aspect of building or buying. If you’re considering adding some character or you’re looking to spice things up in your outdoor living space, keep reading.
Pergola backyard benefits
In addition to the obvious visual interest and aesthetic benefit a pergola adds to your backyard, there are many other great things about them. The addition of a pergola to your outdoor living space creates another area for your outdoor furniture which can be, to some extent, protected from damaging sun rays.
Another strong benefit to the addition of a pergola is the flexibility that the structure presents and how that can translate to your outdoor space. Pergolas are immensely adaptable structures, as they can fill many different roles to accommodate the vision you have for your ultimate outdoor space. Pergolas can be free-standing structures to provide an airy and relaxing space with your outdoor furniture. They can be an admiring structure to cover your home-garden or flowering plants. Pergolas can even be attached to your home to accommodate as an additional patio or maybe your own personal getaway for a romantic evening under the stars. And who knows, it may even increase the value of your home if you ever decide to sell it – to Offerpad.
It’s a pergola – not a gazebo, pavilion or arbor/trellis
Pergolas are commonly mistaken for other similar wooden structures such as a gazebo, arbor, or trellis. All of them are outdoor structures which are commonly wooden. But for the most part, the similarities stop there as when compared to a pergola, each has both obvious and subtle differences.
- Gazebo – Consists of a closed roof and floor. In comparison to a pergola, gazebos are more-so small outdoor buildings than open structures. Therefore, gazebos offer increased durability and protection from the elements.
- Pavilion – Also consists of a multi-pillar structure with an arched roof or covering providing more shade and covering than a pergola.
- Arbor – Designed as tunnel-like lattice structures, arbors are arched and provide a focal point for garden paths and outdoor walkways. The biggest contrast between an arbor and a pergola is that arbors are not used to support outdoor living spaces.
- Trellis – Very similar to an arbor, however, trellises do not serve as structures. They’re merely garden accents and decorative support.
The cost of a pergola kit
The average price for a smaller pergola (12×12) built by a professional will cost roughly $3,500 for materials and labor. There are all types and sizes of pergola kits available that you can browse online at PergolaKitsUSA.com (who also provided many of the images within this post). However, if you opt to DIY, your costs could be much lower than hiring a contractor, but make sure you know what you are getting yourself into!
Building your own pergola will require prerequisite building knowledge and proper planning. If you decided to go this route here are some tools you’ll need handy: a drill, hammer, shovel, saw, wheelbarrow and measuring tape. If you do not possess the previous experience and knowledge to DIY, you may want to think about paying a little more to hire a professional.
Types of pergola kits
Pergolas are primarily made of three types of materials: wood, fiberglass, and vinyl. To the untrained eye, the fiberglass and vinyl pergolas look similar in shape and color, while the wood pergola stands out with its luscious brown cedar appeal.
Styles of Pergolas
Pergolas come in many styles and material variations and each has its own specific taste in home decor. Below we’ve shown the primary styles of pergolas and how they differ from one another.
- Traditional – Classic design, commonly comes four pillars in a square or rectangle and usually free-standing in nature.
- Artisan – Consisting of white vinyl posts, this style is a mix between wooden and vinyl pergolas.
- Arched – Mediterranean-styled featuring an arched roof establishing a gentle and welcoming space.
- Wall-Mounted – Some pergolas can be attached to another structure such as the back patio of your home, can also be both wooden & fiberglass for easier mounting.
Dress up your backyard with a pergola
Pergolas are a great outdoor structure to transform your backyard from the average yard to an ultimate outdoor living space. If you love DIY, consider this as your next big project. Even if DIY isn’t your strong suit, having a brand-new outdoor structure to enjoy good weather will still be worth it to hire a professional. Just as a quick reminder, some HOA’s and city ordinances may not allow structures to be seen above fence walls without a proper permit. Make sure that you research what is allowed in your neighborhood, before getting started.
If you currently are a homeowner but don’t have the outdoor space for a pergola and you’re in the market to buy a home, consider working with Offerpad and join thousands of happy homeowners who sold to Offerpad!
If you currently are a homeowner but don’t have the outdoor space for a pergola and you’re in the market to buy a home, consider working with Offerpad and join thousands of satisfied customers.