If you are wondering, is a pergola worth it? You must have visited a few homes and found a pergola.
Your relatives or friends must have also suggested you install it as a way of improving the look of your backyard. The big question is, is a pergola really worth it? Let’s look into it.
What is a pergola?
Pergolas are similar to pavilions, but they lack a solid roof. Even though the pergola has an open or lattice-type roof, it still provides some shade while allowing you to enjoy the outdoor spaces.
The lattice-like roof also makes a perfect place to hang your vine plants, which can significantly improve the look of your outdoor spaces.
Types of Pergolas
Most people are fond of wooden or vinyl pergolas, but did you know there are plenty of pergolas made from other materials? Here are some of the most common types of pergolas you will come across:
Wood pergolas give your home a rustic, natural style and feel. These pergolas can be made from different types of woods.
The most common is the pressure treated wood you can stain or paint, giving you cheaper pergolas ideal when you are operating on a tight budget.
There is also cedar, said to be the best material to go for. Cedar offers natural resistance, contains no chemicals, has a beautiful natural color, not to mention an appealing fragrance.
Cedar pergolas are ideal for dry climates, but you need to add a seal to them, for them to last for a long time.
Pressure-treated wood pergolas are ideal for humid climates. They come with a green appearance, but with time, they dry to a golden brown color. Once you stain them, they turn to gray color.
You can buy any wooden pergola you want, but remember wood requires some levels of maintenance for it to last for a long time. This includes staining, repainting, and sealing every 2-4 years.
Vinyl pergolas are the true definition of class, elegance, and cleanliness. In addition to adding style to your home, the pergolas are easy to maintain.
All you need to do is to periodically power wash them (every 1-3 years) to remove dirt, grass, mold, and any other material that might be present.
Most high-quality vinyl pergolas last a lifetime, but if the material used in the construction is low quality, it’s normal for the pergola to get brittle and easier to crack with the advance in age.
While the pergolas are great, their major downside is they don’t come in many color variations. They mostly come in white or variations of white, which means you are significantly limited to your color choices.
Although vinyl is pricier than pressure-treated wood, it’s still affordable when you consider the transformation it makes to your backyard.
Like vinyl, fiberglass pergolas also have a long lifespan and require little maintenance. Fiberglass doesn’t rust, corrode or pit regardless of where you place it.
Fiberglass pergolas also tend to hold paint exceptionally well and don’t absorb moisture, which contributes significantly to the long life.
Before you rush to get these pieces, you should note the many advantages come at a cost as fiberglass pergolas are the most expensive pergolas you will come across in the market.
Also, only a few manufacturers make them, so it will take you a long time to find the ideal ones for your project.
They are made from different metals that include: steel and aluminum. Aluminum pergolas are lightweight and don’t rust, which makes them an ideal choice if you live near the ocean.
When putting them up, ensure you anchor them properly, so they aren’t twisted or damaged by the wind.
Would you love metal pergolas that will give you more color options? Go for powder-coated aluminum.
Steel pergolas are still a great choice, but they are heavy. The good side is they are strong and able to withstand the strong weather elements.
Their tough nature also makes it possible for them to cover a wide area with less support structure.
Why should you install a pergola?
If you are wondering, should I install a pergola? Here are 10 reasons you should install the pergola in your home:
They make your home look more stylish and sophisticated.
If you have a basic structure, and you would like to make it look more stylish and sophisticated, you have to hire a professional designer to come up with designs that will complement the current design.
This isn’t the case when you install a pergola.
The right canopy will add color and softness to your property, giving it a stylish and elegant appeal. The cool thing is you don’t need to hire a professional or spend astronomical amounts of money to do it.
Whether you want a shade that blends in with your home or stands out from the rest, a pergola will go a long way towards giving you a look you want.
They help you create a definite space.
If you are one of the blessed people that have a large backyard, you can use it to create specific areas. For example, you can use it to create a dining area, entertainment lounge, and any other area of interest.
They make your patio more comfortable.
Although they don’t completely block out the sun from getting through, they provide some shade that makes the patio more comfortable to live in.
So, if you live in hot climates and you love using your patio or deck in the middle of the day, the pergola will go a long way towards giving you the comfort you are looking for.
They give you privacy.
Don’t like being on display when enjoying the outdoor space? The pergola can give you some privacy.
Although, it’s an open structure, you can keep off prying eyes by adding latticework, drapes, or even screens to the sides of the pergola.
They give you additional space for plants.
The pergola allows you to add additional garden space in your yard. For example, if you have properly anchored the pergola, you can hang plants from the boards and create a beautiful garden in the air.
You can plant different types of plants, including: ivy, clematis, wisteria, honeysuckle, grapevines, and other plants.
They add value to your property.
According to home experts, you can add as much as 20% to your home by improving your landscaping.
The cool thing is pergolas aren’t as expensive as gazebos, so you will be adding a lot of value to your home without spending much.
They are beautiful
Pergolas are a beautiful addition to any backyard. You can even make them more beautiful by adding accessories such as lights, hanging pots, curtains, and others that suit the personality and style of your home.
They are easy to install
Are you a DIY enthusiast? You can easily install the pergola as long as you have the right tools. Thankfully, you can easily find many pergola kits that come with pre-cut wood and the necessary hardware.
If you don’t like handling the projects by yourself, there are plenty of professional landscaping companies that will help you design, build, and install the perfect unit for your home.
You can easily find one for your home.
As mentioned above, pergolas are made from different materials such as cedar, metal, and vinyl. They also come in different sizes and designs ideal for different tastes, budgets, and home designs.
Due to this, you can easily find a pergola that is ideal for your home.
You can use the pergola in different ways.
You can use the pergola in different ways. You can use it as a lead-in to other structures such as gazebos and verandas.
You can also use the pergola as a lead to a solitary gazebo from the back door giving you an attractive outdoor living area.
Regardless of how you are planning to use the pergola, ensure you install the right one.
It can reduce your energy costs.
Everyone is looking to save money in every way, and the pergola can help you with that.
According to Energy.gov, placing the pergola outside a large window can reduce your solar heat gain by up to 65%, which means more energy savings.
What should you consider when buying a pergola?
It’s no doubt a pergola makes an excellent addition to your deck or patio. For you to get the most from it, you should buy the right one. To do this, you need to consider plenty of factors that include:
The material used in making the pergola
During your research, you will find that most of the pergolas in the market are made from wood, but does this mean the wood is the best material?
Absolutely not! A wood pergola has the same problems as a wood deck or fence. The pergola also needs regular upkeep as it’s vulnerable to insects, moisture, and time.
A great option is a vinyl pergola. Unlike wood, vinyl pergolas don’t break down or change their appearance over time.
They also don’t need a lot of maintenance or special treatment. Vinyl pergolas also tend to last longer than wood pergolas.
Role of the pergola
How do you intend to use the pergola? You can use the unit for different roles, including: dining, sunbathing, and many others.
How you are planning to use the unit will significantly influence the design, sign, and material of the pergola you buy.
There are two main types of pergolas: freestanding and attached. You can fit attached pergolas to the house and use them as patio or porch, creating an outdoor area that is relaxing and ideal for dining.
You can place freestanding pergolas in the middle of the garden and use the trellis to grow vines.
If you have a large garden, buy a large pergola or combine several of them and use them to create a beautiful shaded garden walkway ideal for wedding parties and other occasions.
The size of the pergola you go for depends on the size of space you have and the size of the other outdoor structure or landscaping elements you might be having in your yard. These can be gazebos and many others.
The number of people who will be using the pergola will also guide you on the size of pergola you should install. Avoid buying a pergola that is too small as it won’t serve its function properly.
Also, avoid one that is too big as it will be taking up unnecessary space that you could use for other functions such as putting up a swimming pool.
To ensure you are buying the right unit, work with a reputable professional who will guide you, and even help you make the necessary calculations.
The amount of shade you want
Pergolas can create different amounts of shades that vary depending on where you place the pergola in your backyard and the spacing between rafters and slats that make up the pergola roof.
You should note that the closer the rafters and slats are, the more shade the pergola will provide. To increase the amount of shade, consider adding lattice on the roof or a canopy shade.
Before settling where you want to place the pergola, pay attention to where the sun is shining from during the different times of the day.
To have the best shades, experts recommend you choose a spot that is away from the midday sun.
Local building codes
Some states have regulations on the types of structures you can put up, so always check with the local authorities before you install the pergola. You don’t want to be on the wrong side of the law, do you?
The regulations in place will guide you on the type of structure you should build. When constructing, follow the regulations for details such as maximum height, size, type of cover, and any other details.
The budget is an essential factor to consider, unfortunately, many people don’t pay attention to it. The amount of money you have will determine the material you can buy, the size of the pergola you can install, and plenty of other factors.
Thankfully, pergolas come in different sizes and materials, so you are bound to find one that fits your budget.
To reduce the amount of money you spend on your project, take time, and properly plan for it to ensure you work within your budget. When it comes to the materials, avoid those that are too cheap as they won’t last for long.
Cheap materials also tend to require a lot of maintenance, which ends up being too expensive in the long run.
Pergolas come as either four posts or four posts if you are going to attach them to the house. Most of the units you will find in the market are square or rectangular, but it’s not rare to find circular or arched structures.
For a great appeal, ensure the style of pergola you choose fits your garden settings. For example, avoid a huge pergola in a small garden as it will look out of place.
Accessories significantly improve the look of the pergola, and you can hang a wide range of them. The most popular ones include: ceiling fans, awning, lighting, and many others.
You should note that large accessories such as solar panels require supporting material, so you will have to ensure the pergola you are looking to install allows you to hang your desired accessories.
You can install most pergolas on an existing concrete pad, deck, or paver patio.
The weight of the unit varies depending on the material used in the construction and the size of the pergola, so ensure the surface you are looking to install the unit is strong enough to carry the weight.
For a beautiful and well-finished pergola, ensure the unit is installed by an experienced professional who understands your plan.
A good contractor should also advise you on the best way to install the unit, so it looks the best in your property.
Popular pergola myths
Like any other home improvement appliance, pergolas are marred by plenty of myths that can deter you from buying one. Some of these myths include:
Pergolas are high maintenance
You will come across people who will advise you not to install a pergola as its high maintenance. This isn’t the truth. Like your house, you need to give care to your pergola for it to look good and last for a long time.
Yes, pergolas require maintenance, but the care isn’t different from the one you give to your house. You need to wipe or clean the pergola, inspect it for weeds or plants that might sprout on it, among many other things.
The level of maintenance you give to the pergola depends on the pergola material, so if you don’t like units that are high maintenance, you should avoid pergolas made from high maintenance materials.
Pergolas make sense only in summer.
While many people use them in summer as the weather is excellent at this time, you can use your pergola at any time of the year. Even in winter, when you get bored by the cabin, you can use the pergola and enjoy the outdoors.
Regardless of the time of the year, there is no time you can’t use your pergola. If it’s cold, add a heater or outdoor fireplace to supply you with heat.
They don’t hold up well to harsh weather.
Since pergolas have slats, some people have the impression they can’t keep off winds, rains, snow, and other weather elements.
Fortunately, this isn’t the case. You can open and close the louvered slats to block out rain or provide a shady place.
If it’s raining or you want some shade, you simply need to close the slats, and you are good to go. On the other hand, if you want to bask into the sun, open the slats, and you will have the time of your life.
They are complex to install
How long it takes to install pergolas depends on the size of the unit and the area you are looking to install it. If planning to install a large unit, you will need more time to get done with the installation.
On average, it will take you a week to complete installing a standard pergola. To have an easy time installing it and expertly install it, you should ensure the work is done by an expert pergola contractor.
Pergolas don’t last for a long time.
The durability of the pergola depends on plenty of factors, including the materials used to build it, the construction method, and the installation process.
Any error during any of the three processes will result in a poor pergola that will last for just a short time.
To ensure your unit lasts for a long time, ensure it’s made from high-quality material. You also should get it from a reputable pergola company.
Over to you
A pergola is an excellent addition to your property. It improves the appeal of the house, enhances the exterior of the house, gives you a great place to relax in, among many other things.
For you to get the most from it, ensure a reputable company manufactures it. It also should be installed by an expert.