System Pavers Outdoor Lifestyle Blog

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Apr 07 2022

Wondering what a pergola is or what exactly a pergola does? An architectural design feature dating from the Italian Renaissance, these breezy outdoor structures are used to bring a casual, indoor-like feel to yards, public spaces and parks around the world.

Consisting of an open frame of columns, pergolas have a basic roof that’s flat or peaked. Some have a finished roof that entirely blocks the elements but more often, it’s designed to be somewhat open.


Bring definition and a sense of purpose to your yard
Create an inviting outdoor living area
Protect and shade from the elements
Generate a sense of privacy 
Increase your property’s value 
Accent your home’s architectural style
Add beauty and personality to your landscape

Now that you know what a pergola is, it’s time to talk about the many options you have in designing one and get an idea of what they cost.   


Attached Pergola
Commonly built over a deck or patio, an attached pergola is supported on one side by your home’s exterior wall. With their typical open roof designs, they allow sunlight to reach indoors without blocking your view. 

Free-Standing Pergola
A free-standing pergola can be installed anywhere you’d like to create a sense of enclosure. They can act as an entrance to a garden, courtyard or front entrance or make a stylish cover for your BBQ island or hot tub.


The most defining features in selecting your pergola’s look will be the materials it’s made from and the type of roof you choose.

Gabled Pergola 
Featuring a high triangular roof, these have a traditional look that adds character while maximizing airflow and blocking the elements. 

Lattice or Louvered Pergola
A simple, modern design with a slatted roof that’s ideal for growing vines, lattice pergolas allow sunlight to filter in while providing partial shade. 

Adjustable Louvered Pergola 
Typically made from aluminum or vinyl, the adjustable roof of a louvered pergolas allows you to tweak your coverage, depending on the weather. 

When it comes to pergola cost, the range in prices is almost as wide as your options. 

For the budget conscious, a simple DIY pergola made from a stick frame and corrugated roof can be a useful addition to your space that shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg. 

A slightly pricier option are wood kit pergolas. These are available in a variety of styles and are easy to build. All that’s usually needed are basic construction skills, a few enthusiastic friends, and some free time!

At the upper price end are custom wood pavilions and pergolas. These are crafted from solid wood beams and entail more complicated design and building skills. They can be made as extravagant or simple as you like, depending on your needs and vision. 

Finally, one of the biggest trends in pergolas is aluminum. Available in a gamut of styles from contemporary to traditional, they’re becoming an increasingly popular and durable option. While aluminum structures can be expensive, they typically cost less than a custom wood one and are closer in range to a pergola wood kit. 

The most important consideration in building your pergola is safety and strength. Will it stand up to the elements? Is your pergola wobbly or leaning? Do you need it to support a swing? 

Before breaking ground for your pergola, remember to factor in details such as HOA requirements, local building codes and utility needs. You’ll also want to consider things like post placement and optimal drainage, as well as correctly factoring in snow and wind loads. 

When in doubt, consult a professional builder. They can help ensure you have a sturdy, secure structure that’s designed for years of enjoyment. 

Once your pergola is built, the fun really begins! Create your perfect seating with cozy patio furniture. Accent your look with lush potted plants. Add personal touches like wind chimes and signage. Plant vines. In no time at all, you’ll have an outdoor living space that’s easily everyone’s favorite new place to get together. 

Looking for more pergola ideas?
Check out our inspiration gallery!


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