Do you want a cozy outdoor living space? Expect to pay $2,100 to $6,000 for a professionally installed pergola. The average cost of a pergola is $4,000, but they can cost as little as $1,050 and as much as $11,000. The total cost depends on several factors, including size, material, and features.
Pergolas are often confused with other outdoor structures. The main difference between a pergola and a gazebo (or pavilion) is that pergolas do not have a solid roof. Instead, they have a grid of beams and rafters—a roof style that lets in partial sun.
In this article:
- Average costs
- Cost estimator by size
- Other factors that affect cost
- Related services
- DIY cost
- Cost by location
Average pergola costs in 2023
|National average cost||$4,000|
|Typical price range||$2,100 – $6,000|
|Extreme low end cost||$1,050|
|Extreme high end cost||$11,000|
A pergola typically costs $37 per square foot, but that price depends on the material you use. For example, fiberglass pergolas can cost $60 or more per square foot, whereas aluminum pergolas typically cost only $20 per square foot.
Pergola cost estimator by size
The size of your pergola will impact the cost because pergolas are usually priced by the square foot. A typical pergola will cost $20 to $60 per square foot, with the average structure costing $37 per square foot.
|Size of pergola||Typical price range|
|64 sq. ft.||$1,280 – $3,840|
|100 sq. ft.||$2,000 – $6,000|
|144 sq. ft.||$2,880 – $8,640|
Remember, the cost per square foot depends on the material your pergola is made of.
Other factors that affect cost
Several factors, aside from size, impact the cost of a pergola. These factors include:
Pergola pricing depends on the material used to construct it. Wood is the most popular material, but aluminum and vinyl are the cheapest. Fiberglass and teak pergolas are your most expensive options.
|Material||Typical cost per square foot||Typical lifespan|
|Vinyl||$20||15 – 20 years|
|Aluminum||$20||15 – 20 years|
|Wood||$35||5 – 12 years|
|Fiberglass||$60||15 – 20 years|
Wooden pergolas are the most popular because they are sturdy with a natural look that can complement any outdoor decor. Pricing depends on the type of wood. Pine, cedar, redwood, and teak are popular choices. Pine and cedar pergolas are cheaper, but redwood and teak have a longer lifespan.
|Wood type||Typical cost per square foot||Info|
|Pine||$25||Pressure-treated pine will last longer.|
|Cedar||$30||Alaskan yellow cedar and western red cedar are weather and insect resistant.|
|Redwood||$45||Resistant to weather and insect damage.|
|Teak||$55||Lasts about 4 times as long as pine.|
Vinyl is cheap and low-maintenance, typically costing $20 per square foot. Although vinyl doesn’t rot like wood, it is more vulnerable to weight from snow or debris. Reinforcing a vinyl pergola with aluminum increases its durability and lifespan.
Aluminum is as sturdy as wood but less vulnerable to wear from the elements. Priced at around $20 per square foot, aluminum pergolas are affordable and low-maintenance.
Fiberglass is one of the strongest pergola materials and also the most expensive. The average price of a fiberglass pergola is $60 per square foot. Unfortunately, fiberglass pergolas lack the natural wood look, so they don’t fit into a rustic landscape design.
The pergola’s roof structure also influences the price. Here are some of the different options to consider.
Classic pergola roof
The classic pergola roof design features wooden slats that provide partial shade. The more slats used, the more your pergola will cost. Some homeowners cover a traditional pergola roof with cloth to block additional sunlight and give the pergola a new look.
You can purchase a retractable roof to put on top of your classic pergola. These typically cost about $4.50 per square foot.
Louvered roofs have slanted slats that open and close, like Venetian blinds on the roof. However, louvered roofs normally open and close by pressing a button. Expect a louvered roof to cost an extra $25 to $130 per square foot.
Smart pergolas are the most expensive and also the most high-tech. The average cost of a smart pergola is $60 to $65 per square foot. You can automatically program them to open and close based on the weather or control them from a phone app.
Custom vs prefabricated
A custom design will cost more than a prefabricated structure. You can always opt for a smaller structure if you’re on a budget but don’t want a mass-produced model.
Homeowners should install their pergola on top of a flat surface (e.g. level ground or pavement). If you don’t have a large enough flat space in your yard already, you may have to have part of the yard leveled or lay some concrete, which will add to your costs.
These common pergola add-ons will also increase your installation cost if you want them:
- Electricity: Electricians typically charge $45 to $100 per hour, or you can buy an electric DIY kit for $30 to $120.
- Lighting: If you like to hang out outside on a warm summer night, you probably want to purchase lighting for your pergola area. Chinese lanterns and string lights are popular, affordable choices.
- Furniture: Chairs, tables, and ottomans provide comfort and utility to family and guests.
- Hot tub: Placing a hot tub beneath a pergola increases the tub’s lifespan.
- Outdoor USB plug: In today’s digital world, USB plugs are always handy, and you may want to add a few to your covered outdoor hang-out space.
- Outdoor grill or kitchen: Pergolas are perfect for covering an outdoor cooking or dining space. Just keep in mind that the cost of building an outdoor kitchen can be very high.
Whether you are looking for cozy winter patio ideas or an inviting way to bask in the summer sun, pergolas are great for outdoor living. Here are some related services that add to your yard’s comfort and curb appeal.
Gazebos differ from pergolas in two important ways:
- They have solid roofs that entirely block sunlight.
- They are more expensive – the average cost of a Gazebo is $7,590.
|Typical Price Range||$5,365 – $9,030|
Trellises are structures that provide an attractive post for vines to climb. They are commonly made from interlocking lattices and typically cost $200 per linear foot.
|Average Cost / Linear Foot||$200|
|Typical Price Range||$60 – $350|
You may need to remove trees to clear room for your pergola, or you might just want to reduce leaves in your yard. On average, tree removal costs $850.
|National average cost||$850|
|Typical price range||$385 – $1,070|
|Extreme low-end cost||$230|
|Extreme high-end cost||$2,000|
Artificial grass is low-maintenance and durable while adding vibrant color and texture to your outdoor living space. If your family spends a lot of time in the yard, artificial grass is the easiest way to keep your lawn green (especially if you have pets). Artificial grass typically costs about $5,300 for a full lawn.
|National average cost||$5,300|
|Typical price range||$2,970 – $7,100|
|Extreme low-end cost||$2,000|
|Extreme high-end cost||$10,500|
If you live in one of the top cities where grass goes to die, you may prefer an artificial lawn.
Perhaps you prefer natural grass to its artificial counterpart. On average, sod installation costs $0.90 to $1.80 per square foot. See prices for the most popular grass types in the table below.
|Grass type||Typical cost|
|Kentucky bluegrass||$0.30 – $.60|
|Fine fescue||$0.30 – $.60|
|St. Augustinegrass||$0.44 – $0.92|
|Bermudagrass||$0.46 – $0.85|
|Zoysiagrass||$0.50 – $0.73|
|Centipedegrass||$0.80 – $0.85|
River rock landscaping
Water fountain installation
Another popular addition to an outdoor living space is a water feature. Water fountains are a tranquil way to beautify your yard, and most water fountains cost $1,100 to $7,500 to install.
Cost of building a pergola DIY
Are you looking to save money? Building your own pergola can save you thousands of dollars, and it only requires basic carpentry skills.
DIY cost breakdown
Here are the tools and equipment you will need to build a pergola.
|80 pound bag of cement||$7|
If you are building the pergola from scratch, you will need the following wood and hardware. The wood in this example is sized for an 8 x 8-foot pergola.
|4-inch screws (or bolts)||$10|
|4 posts (8′ x 8′, 10 feet tall)||$80|
|12 2′ x 10′ wood pieces||$180|
|8 1′ x 2′ wood slats||$24|
Instead of building it from scratch, you may want to get a DIY pergola kit. Kits typically cost about $550 to $4,000 and come with all the wood and hardware needed to complete the project.
How to build a pergola in 15 steps
Here are the basic steps to building a pergola from scratch.
Step 1: Plan your project
Project planning is just as important as planning your route for a road trip. You want to know where you are going and how you will get there, including:
- What pergola design do you want?
- What’s your budget?
- Will it be freestanding or attached to your house?
- What material do you want to use? Account for your local climate, costs/availability, and aesthetics.
- Where will you place the pergola?
- How big should it be?
Step 2: Research local laws
Find out if you need a permit to build a structure and if there are any zoning restrictions.
Step 3: Contact utility companies
Before digging holes, ensure you won’t damage utility lines or piping. Americans can dial 811 to contact local utility companies.
Step 4: Measure and mark post holes
A post will go in each of the four corners. (Some pergola designs require six posts)
- Grass: If placing the pergola on grass, mark post locations with spray paint
- Pavement: If placing on pavement, mark post locations with chalk
Step 5: Dig post holes
If you are putting the pergola on grass, you will now dig a hole to anchor each post. This makes your pergola much more stable.
- Post hole size: 8 x 8 inches
- Post hole depth: 28 – 48 inches
If you are installing the pergola on top of pavement, use metal screw anchors to secure the posts, then continue to step 10.
Step 6: Partially fill each post hole with gravel or cement
The goal is to create flat, uniform surfaces for the posts to stand on. Each post hole should have cement/gravel at equal heights.
Step 7: Place posts in their holes
Make sure the posts are level, or your pergola will be crooked.
Step 8: Brace the posts
To brace the posts, nail four small wood planks (1x4s) to each post. Each wood plank should be at a 30° angle from the post to the ground.
Attach the planks to the post using two nails per plank.
This step typically requires two people – one person to hold the post level and another to nail in the wood planks.
Step 9: Pour concrete into the holes
Mix your concrete, then pour it into each post hole, ensuring each post is level. Read the instructions on the concrete bag for more detailed advice on how to mix and pour it.
- Fill each hole with concrete, leaving 3-6 inches of space on top.
- Let the concrete dry for 24 hours before continuing to step 10.
Step 10: Remove the braces
Remove the nails from the 1×4 wood planks to detach the braces. Your posts should stand strong on their own now that you’ve filled the holes with concrete.
Step 11: Mark where you will attach the rafter beams
Now, it’s time to start on the roof. Add a mark around each post, two feet from the top, where you will attach the rafter beams for the roof.
Step 12: Hammer nails into posts
In the center of each marking, hammer a 4-inch nail halfway into the post.
Step 13: Attach the beams
Next, select two perpendicular sides of the pergola on which to install the beams. Each side gets two beams – one on the outer side of the post and one on the inside.
Rest the beams on top of the nails and ensure they are level. Screw or bolt in the beams. Use two screws per beam, one for each post. Once the beams are secure, you can remove the nails you used to rest them on.
Step 14: Attach the rafters
The rafters should be perpendicular to the beams. You want them about one foot apart from each other. The farther apart the rafters are, the more sunlight your pergola will let in.
Nail the rafters into the beams. Use one nail per beam (4 nails per rafter).
Step 15: Nail the slats
Finally, you are ready to nail in the slats. The slats should be perpendicular to the rafters, creating a grid. Place the slats about one foot apart. Nail each slat into each rafter.
The following tutorial from Mitre 10 New Zealand can provide further guidance:
DIY cost vs. professional cost
The best way to save money is to build your own pergola from scratch. However, if you lack basic carpentry skills, it may be more trouble than it’s worth. Professional installations are usually higher quality and more stable.
Cost of a pergola by location
Your geographic location affects the price you pay for a pergola. Local factors include:
- Labor costs
- Transportation costs
If you live in an area with a high cost of living, such as New York City, Honolulu, and San Francisco, expect to pay more for pergola installation. In contrast, areas with a low cost of living have lower labor costs. Generally, rural areas have lower labor costs than sprawling urban cities.
Material costs increase the further your materials have to travel. If you want to save money, choose a material you can get your hands on locally.
Many pergolas do not require any permits, but some do. Local ordinances and guidelines will determine if permits are needed and how much they cost. A typical pergola permit costs $30 to $150.
A 12×12 pergola costs about $5,000 on average. Depending on the size and pergola style, most 12×12 pergolas cost between $2,880 and $8,640.
If you build it from scratch, a 10×12 wooden pergola will cost around $740 (including tools and materials). If you hire a professional, expect to pay about $4,440 for materials and installation.
If you like spending time outside, a pergola is worth the money. It provides a stylish outdoor hangout spot and adds value to your home. Pergolas are great for:
• BBQs and parties
• Spending time with family and friends
• Relaxing outdoors
• Getting moderate sunshine
• Improving curb appeal
A standard freestanding pergola is 8 to 10 feet tall. If you want to attach the pergola to your home, make sure it is sized correctly so that it doesn’t obstruct windows, doors, or aesthetics.
Are you ready to entertain guests and bond with family under the partial shade of a pergola? Then, it’s time to contact highly-rated professionals in your area. They will help you choose a design you like that is also within your budget.
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