How Much Does a Pergola Cost in 2023?

Expect to pay $2,100 to $6,000 for a professionally installed pergola.

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 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 pergolaTypical 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:

Material

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. 

MaterialTypical cost per square footTypical lifespan
Vinyl$2015 – 20 years
Aluminum$2015 – 20 years
Wood$355 – 12 years
Fiberglass$6015 – 20 years

Wood pergolas

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 typeTypical cost per square footInfo
Pine$25Pressure-treated pine will last longer.
Cedar$30Alaskan yellow cedar and western red cedar are weather and insect resistant.
Redwood$45Resistant to weather and insect damage.
Teak$55Lasts about 4 times as long as pine.

Vinyl pergolas

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 pergolas

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 pergolas

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. 

Roof type

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. 

Retractable roofs

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

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

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. 

Preparation

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.   

Add-ons

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.

Gazebo installation

Gazebos differ from pergolas in two important ways:

  1. They have solid roofs that entirely block sunlight.
  2. They are more expensive – the average cost of a Gazebo is $7,590.
Average Cost $7,590
Typical Price Range$5,365 – $9,030

Trellis installation

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

Tree removal

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

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.

Sod installation

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 typeTypical 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

There are many great ideas for river rock landscaping to complement your new pergola, and river rocks cost $60 to $170 per ton. The price depends on the rocks’ size, material, and style.

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.

EquipmentTypical cost 
Tape measure$15
Level$18
Spray paint$6
Shovel$18
Gravel$5
Screwdriver$15
Wheelbarrow$50
Hammer$20
80 pound bag of cement$7
Total$154

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. 

MaterialTypical cost 
4-inch nails$20
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
Total$314

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.

pergola-post-braces
Bracing the posts. Image credit: Michelle Selzer

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.  

post-mark
The yellow marking is two feet from the top of the post. Image Credit: Michelle Selzer

Step 12: Hammer nails into posts

In the center of each marking, hammer a 4-inch nail halfway into the post.

nail
Nail halfway into post. Image Credit: Michelle Selzer

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. 

beams
Pergola roof beams. Image Credit: Michelle Selzer

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).

pergola roof structure
Finished pergola roof structure. Image Credit: Michelle Selzer

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. 

MethodTypical Cost
Professional installation$4,000
DIY kit$2,350
From scratch$470

Cost of a pergola by location

Your geographic location affects the price you pay for a pergola. Local factors include:

  • Labor costs
  • Transportation costs
  • Permits

Labor 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.

Transportation costs

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. 

Permits

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.

FAQ

How much does a 12×12 pergola cost?

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.  

How much does it cost to build a 10×12 pergola?

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.

 Are pergolas worth the money?

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

What height should a pergola be?

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. 

Final thoughts 

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.

Note: Lawn Love may get a referral fee for matching you with contractors in your area.

Photo by Maxwell Young on Unsplash

Michelle Selzer

Michelle Selzer is a web developer, technical writer, and Linux enthusiast from the hills of Tennessee. Her hobbies include collecting toys, hiking to waterfalls, and writing short fan-fiction stories.