The Best Pergola Kits of 2022

Extend your living space into the fresh air with the best pergola kits for entertaining, lounging, and dining.

By Kat Hodgins and Tiffany Lewis | Updated Jun 21, 2022 7:59 PM

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The Best Pergola Kit Options

Photo: wayfair.com

A pergola offers shade to residential and commercial outdoor spaces alike. Whether it abuts a building or stands off on its own, the build is generally consistent: a frame with columns that support a latticework of beams, rafters, and stringers. You might even use it with fabric panels across the top or curtains draped along the sides to offer more protection from UV rays. Its corner posts and open-air walls create the epitome of the “outdoor living room”—an outdoor living trend that suggests your yard and patio can be as cozy as your interior space, particularly when set up around a collection of patio furniture, lounge chairs, and an outdoor rug.

This structure elevates a typical backyard seating area to an enticing gathering spot thanks to its privacy and cooling shade. Read on for the most important considerations when shopping for one of these assemble-yourself kits, and see our favorite pergola kits from hours of market research. Your backyard upgrade can start with one of these top-rated pergolas.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Backyard Discovery Cedar Solid Wood 10′ x 14′ Pergola
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: PURPLE LEAF 10′ x 12′ Outdoor Retractable Pergola
  3. BEST MIDRANGE: Coolaroo Aurora 9′ W x 9′ D Aluminum Pergola
  4. BEST LUXURY: Wallsend 12′ W x 12′ D Vinyl Pergola
  5. BEST WITH CANOPY: Sunjoy Meadow 11′ x 9.5′ Metal Pergola with Canopy
  6. BEST WITH CURVED ROOF: YardCraft 12 Ft. W x 10 Ft. D Solid Wood Pergola
  7. BEST FOR ENTERTAINING: Backyard Discovery Ashland 10′ x 14′ Cedar Pergola
The Best Pergola Kit Options

Photo: homedepot.com

Before You Buy a Pergola Kit

Make sure you understand the difference between a pergola, a trellis, an arbor, and a gazebo so you choose the best structure for your needs.

  • A pergola offers a shaded outdoor living space. It features columns that support a latticework of beams, rafters, and stringers that let the sun shine through the openings.
  • A trellis is a piece of latticework. It can stand alone or attach to a pergola to enable vines or roses to climb up the side of it.
  • An arbor is similar to a pergola, except it is much smaller; you walk through rather than sit under an arbor.
  • A gazebo is a freestanding round or hexagonal garden structure with interior bench seating, low walls, and a complete roof.

Pergolas aren’t suitable for every outdoor space as they tend to be quite large. In fact, some local laws prohibit construction that blocks the view of neighbors or neighboring buildings. Before buying a pergola, find out whether restrictions in your area prohibit installation freestanding or attached structures and whether you need a permit.

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Pergola Kit

Choosing the best pergola kit involves a variety of considerations. First, it’s essential to select the right material, size, and aesthetic for your outdoor space and to think about the intended use of the pergola.

Ease of installation and additional features that may come with a pergola kit also matter. When searching for the best pergola kit for your needs, keep the following key factors in mind.

Material

Pergolas come in wood, aluminum, steel, fiberglass, cellular PVC, and vinyl. Each material offers distinct advantages and disadvantages to consider as you shop for the best pergola kit for your outdoor space.

  • Wood pergolas have a rustic, natural aesthetic and are suitable for stain or paint. Although, the color may fade and it may rot over time due to adverse weather so it requires ongoing maintenance. There is also a significant variability in price range based on wood type and other factors. Finally, it is also heavier than other materials and possibly difficult or impractical to move once assembled.
  • Aluminum pergola kits have sleek, modern-looking styles and have a lightweight material for moving some structures around the yard. They also have a nonporous surface that resists rot and rust. However, they are less durable than steel and fiberglass and may sustain dents over time. This type of pergola kit requires minimal maintenance and is also one of the most affordable options.
  • Steel pergola kits typically have dark metal finishes and a stylish, minimalist appearance. They are also durable, can withstand the elements, and cover a wider area with fewer support structures. Though they require annual maintenance, they are available at midrange price points. They are also one of the heavier options for pergolas, aside from wood.
  • Fiberglass pergola kits are strong with a long lifespan, but may crack in extreme temperatures. Slightly heavier than aluminum, they are lightweight and select picks have hollow components to easily install lighting, fans, and patio heaters. Though they require minimal maintenance, they are one of the most expensive options on the market.
  • Cellular PVC pergola kits are made with wood-like polymer/synthetic PVC plastic and can resist moisture penetration, splitting, and rotting. They are nearly impermeable, easy to paint, and low to no maintenance. However, they are more expensive than natural wood.
  • Vinyl pergolas are available in neutral shades that blend well with backyard spaces and are resistant to fading, chips, and cracks. Vinyl pergolas are also virtually maintenance-free and are typically on the higher end of the cost spectrum.

Purpose and Type

A pergola kit provides shade, privacy, and an overall upgrade to underutilized lawn or patio space. Some attached pergolas may even increase the value of a home or property, which makes this purchase a long-term investment.

Pergolas create a homey outdoor space for social events, quiet solo time, or family dinnertime. While the uses of a pergola are only limited to your imagination, certain types of pergolas may align better with your particular needs, including open top, sail, gabled (which are all freestanding structures), and attached.

  • Open-top pergolas have an open roof, leaving the interior exposed to the elements. Designed for climbing plants to wind around, the pergola provides additional shade and weather protection as the vines grow thicker over time.
  • Sail pergolas provide shade through fabric stretched taut between several poles of varying heights. This style offers more UV protection than an open top, but it may catch strong winds and tear over time.
  • Gabled pergolas have a pitched roof with triangular gables at the ends. This shape offers more interior height and space than flat-roof designs.
  • Attached pergolas use a structure, usually the side of a house, to support one or more sides in place of additional columns. They create a smooth transition from indoor to outdoor space but may require a permit.

Size and Shape

A pergola should be the appropriate size for a yard, patio, or deck so that it doesn’t crowd out other yard elements. Sizes range from as small as 7 feet by 7 feet to as large as 20 feet by 20 feet.

Pergolas can be quite tall, so make sure that there is enough clearance to avoid touching tree branches, awnings, and other obstacles. Column placement is also crucial so the structure has the support it needs to keep from collapsing. Pergola shapes vary and the choice depends on both personal style and the best fit for the yard.

  • Square pergolas include two to four columns that are easy to place in a yard or on a deck or patio.
  • Rectangular pergolas create enough space for an outdoor dining table and additional room for entertaining.
  • Hexagonal pergolas may be harder to find. They’re generally for larger deck spaces or poolside areas. They take up much more room and may have additional columns, which makes placing them more difficult.
  • Circular pergolas tend to be larger and may require more columns to support the circular shape. These more intricate showpieces are intended for larger spaces and feature material for arches and other curved shapes. They are suitable for big yards, gardens, or barbecue areas.

Aesthetic

Pergolas tend to fit into a traditional, modern, or contemporary aesthetic.

  • Traditional pergolas are more decorative and are usually made from wood treated with a protective sealant. This aesthetic employs elements such as scrolled ends on the beams and rafters, even spacing on the roof, and decorative columns.
  • Modern pergolas utilize a simple box frame with clean lines. Made of a variety of materials such as metal, fiberglass, and PVC, this aesthetic creates a streamlined look with blunt ends and minimalist details.
  • Contemporary pergolas incorporate a variety of design elements such as arched tops, curves, and I beams. This aesthetic may mix parts of traditional and modern aesthetics, using several materials to create a new and noteworthy style.

Adding vines, trellises, or curtains can enhance the aesthetic of a pergola.

  • Vines can climb a trellis or the flat top of a pergola to create a living wall or structure.
  • Trellises on the sides of a pergola provide additional privacy, shade, and a place for vines to climb.
  • Curtains can be installed in a pergola’s frame for privacy, shade, and a cabana-style aesthetic.

Additional Features

Specialized pergolas may offer extra features such as bench seating, built-in tables, and motorized screens.

  • Bench seating may be built into the side of a pergola, much like a gazebo. It provides a place to enjoy the outdoors without investing in additional outdoor furniture. These seats are typically made of the same material as the rest of the pergola.
  • Built-in tables solve the issue of where to set up a bar, place appetizers, or play cards. As these tables are generally taller than a standard dining table, users can stand at or sit on stools around the table.
  • Motorized screens come in handy when the sun dips low. The flat top of the pergola only provides shade when the sun is higher in the sky. With a click of a button, a motorized screen lowers to just the right height to keep the sun out of your eyes as it sets.

Installation

Pergola kits typically include all the necessary precut and predrilled materials, including anchors. The only additional requirements are time and space. In most instances, you will need just a few tools, such as a wrench and a screwdriver. There are two installation methods, depending on whether you purchase a freestanding or attached pergola.

  • Freestanding pergolas, independent of other structures, offer flexibility in their placement. They must be properly anchored to a patio, deck, concrete anchors, or with decorative foot covers that sink into the lawn to prevent them from falling over. These DIY pergola kits offer easy-to-follow instructions, making them ideal for easy installation.
  • Attached pergolas are a bit more complex as it secures to a home or building via a ledger board and may not be considered a “DIY pergola kit” unless you are confident in your skills. Based on the unique features and dimensions of the home or building, attachment methods may vary. Consulting with a contractor may be the best option for this installation.

Our Top Picks

The best pergola kits turn available lawn, patio, or deck space into an outdoor oasis. Now that you understand which factors to consider as you shop, here’s a rundown of top picks. They represent some of the best pergola kits available today in a variety of categories to help bring a backyard to life.

Best Overall

The Best Pergola Kits Option:
Photo: homedepot.com

An elegant structure for a backyard, this Backyard Discovery cedar pergola provides plenty of space for outdoor lounging and entertaining. Resin feet and concrete anchors on the posts provide stability and weather resistance, which keeps the pergola safe and secure even when wind and rain blow in. The structure offers over 120 square feet of overhead shade.

With plenty of space for vines and plants, a green thumb can easily enhance the pergola’s aesthetic and cultivate additional shade by adding greenery. Measuring 14 feet by 10 feet and with an interior height of 7 feet, this rectangular pergola provides 63 square feet of inside space for hanging lights and planters and placing outdoor furniture, a barbecue grill, and more.

Assembly and installation are simple thanks to the manufacturer’s BILT app, which guides users through the setup step by step. Pieces come prestained, precut, and ready to assemble. The only other requirements are the right tools and an extra set of hands to assist.

Product Specs

  • Material: Cedar wood
  • Dimensions: 10 feet by 14 feet by 7 feet
  • Ease of Assembly: Easy

Pros

  • 120 square feet of shade; 63 square feet of inside space
  • Resin feet and concrete anchors included
  • Comes with BILT app for assembly
  • Pieces come prestained and ready to assemble

Cons

  • Only comes in 1 colorway
  • May require specific tools or help to assemble

Best Bang for the Buck

The Best Pergola Kits Option: Wallsend 12' W x 12' D Vinyl Pergola
Photo: amazon.com

This pergola kit from Purple Leaf boasts a retractable canopy that allows the user to enjoy direct sunlight or shade. The UV resistant and water repellent top canvas protects users from the sun and light rain when fully closed. In addition, the locking system keeps the canopy safely in place.

Its rust-resistant, powder-coated aluminum frame is sturdy and reliable, and the base plate attaches to a variety of surfaces for additional integrity. Ideal for the pool, hot tub, outdoor dining, and entertainment, this pergola kit is 10 feet wide and 12 feet long with a height of 8 feet for plenty of sitting space. Overall, this pergola adds style and ambiance to outdoor living.

Product Specs

  • Material: Aluminum
  • Dimensions: 10 feet by 12 feet by 8 feet
  • Ease of Assembly: Easy

Pros

  • Rust-resistant and powder-coated aluminum construction
  • Retractable and lockable canopy; UV and water repellent
  • Canopy comes in multiple colorways

Cons

  • May require concrete surface for affixing

Best Midrange

The Best Pergola Kits Option: PURPLE LEAF 10' x 12' Outdoor Retractable Pergola
Photo: wayfair.com

Coolaroo’s Aurora pergola fits well in outdoor areas without imposing on the yard or the wallet, transforming a yard or deck into a modern space. Made from a lightweight aluminum frame with a removable polyethylene canopy, this pergola suits both formal and casual settings equally well. Easily remove the weatherproof canopy for more sunlight or for occasional cleaning to keep it looking fresh.

Measuring 9 feet by 9 feet, it provides enough space for comfortable outdoor dining, while the assembled 7-foot height offers enough headroom to stand comfortably. This pergola kit includes deck fasteners for stability, and the pieces have precut and predrilled holes for easy assembly.

Product Specs

  • Material: Aluminum
  • Dimensions: 9 feet by 9 feet by 7 feet
  • Ease of Assembly: Difficult

Pros

  • Rust, UV, mildew, and water resistant construction
  • Comes with removable and retractable canopy
  • Comes in multiple colorways
  • Affordable price point

Cons

  • Anchor and mounting materials not included
  • Some users report difficulty during assembly

Best Luxury

The Best Pergola Kits Option: Coolaroo Aurora 9' W x 9' D Aluminum Pergola
Photo: wayfair.com

Wallsend’s vinyl pergola kits offer plenty of outdoor space for entertaining or just plain relaxing in the sun. They have three panels of louvers that can be set individually according to the sun’s position and the amount of shade they wish to let in—one fully open, one fully closed, and the third slightly open.

The UV-, water-, and rust-resistant vinyl structure allows for year-round use, and this 12 foot by 12 foot pergola can be anchored to grass, concrete, or wood. Vinyl won’t rot, crack, peel, fade, rust, discolor, or burn plants. It’s an ideal material for climbing vines, is easy to assemble, and has a height of 7 feet.

Product Specs

  • Material: Vinyl
  • Dimensions: 12 feet by 12 feet by 7 feet
  • Ease of Assembly: Easy

Pros

  • Strong, all-season vinyl construction
  • Three adjustable panels included
  • Can be affixed to multiple surfaces
  • Weather, mold, rust, and corrosion-resistant

Cons

  • Anchor and mounting materials not included
  • Comes in 1 colorway
  • Expensive compared to similar models

Best With Canopy

The Best Pergola Kits Option: Sunjoy Meadow 11' x 9.5' Metal Pergola with Canopy
Photo: wayfair.com

At some point in the day, the sun will beat down on that one spot that just doesn’t have any shade. But, with this 11 foot by 9.4 foot metal pergola kit from Sunjoy, users need not worry about that any longer. Instead, users can adjust the 7.9-foot high canopy by dragging it down on either side of the structure to block out the sun as needed.

Sunjoy’s pergola kit offers style with its tan-colored canopy with chocolate brown trim to match the brown frame. Rust-resistant powder-coated steel makes for a sturdy and reliable freestanding pergola. It is also easy to assemble and users can have the pergola kit up and installed in no time, ready for the next outdoor event.

Product Specs

  • Material: Metal
  • Dimensions: 11 feet by 9.4 feet by 7.9 feet
  • Ease of Assembly: Moderate

Pros

  • Sturdy powder-coated metal frame
  • Compact design for small yards
  • Includes weather-resistant canopy
  • Includes anchor/mounting hardware

Cons

  • Canopy comes in 1 colorway
  • May require multiple people for assembly

Best With Curved Roof

Best Pergola Kits YardCraft
Photo: wayfair.com

YardCraft’s premium wood pergola kit adds both style and sophistication to an outdoor space with its curved roof. Post skirts hide the anchor brackets to further enhance this pergola’s allure. Each intersection of the roof is notched to lock the top together and resist warping.

With its water-resistant, solid wood construction, this 12 foot by 10 foot by 12 foot pergola is suitable for year-round use and comes in 3 colorways to match your current backyard fixtures. Users have the option to anchor this pergola into concrete, on patios, or beside a pool. Curl up with a great book, watch the stars at night, or invite guests over for a dinner party. This pergola works in all sorts of scenarios and is easy to assemble.

Product Specs

  • Material: Yellow pine wood
  • Dimensions: 12 foot by 10 foot by 12 foot
  • Ease of Assembly: Easy

Pros

  • Sturdy pine construction; all-season use
  • Can be affixed to multiple surfaces
  • Comes in 3 colorways
  • All anchor/mounting hardware included

Cons

  • No canopy included; limited rain protection
  • Requires staining or sealing every 1-2 years
  • Expensive compared to similar models

Best for Entertaining

The Best Home Intercom System Option: Backyard Discovery Ashland 10' x 14' Cedar Pergola
Photo: homedepot.com

Create an outdoor space worthy of entertaining friends and family. Backyard Discovery’s spacious pergola provides over 140 square feet of overhead shade and 77 square feet of usable space underneath—loads of room for guests and furniture. For entertaining, this cedar pergola has a built-in 7-foot bar which offers a serving area for drinks and food.

Electrical outlets provide a place to plug in lighting, mobile devices, or anything else that will enhance the party. The cedar pergola kit comes with precut, predrilled, and prestained lumber. A durable resin foot helps prevent rot, and concrete anchors help keep the structure in place.

Product Specs

  • Material: Cedar wood
  • Dimensions: 14 feet by 10 feet by 8 feet
  • Ease of Assembly: Moderate

Pros

  • Sturdy pre-stained cedar construction; all-season use
  • Built-in 7-foot bar and electrical outlets
  • Durable resin feet and concrete anchors
  • Suitable for large backyards or spaces

Cons

  • Power source for outlets not included
  • Expensive compared to similar models

Our Verdict

While there are many pergola kits available, select options may be better suited for your outdoor entertaining needs. One of the best options on the market is the Backyard Discovery kit with its easy assembly, sturdy cedar wood construction, and 10 foot by 14 foot size which can fit in most backyards. Alternatively, the PURPLE LEAF pergola kit is made with an aluminum pergola frame, comes with a retractable, lockable, and water and UV-resistant canopy, and has an affordable price tag.

How We Chose the Best Pergola Kits

Add a sense of elegance, stylem and backyard discovery to your outdoor space. Pergola kits provide an outdoor room or dining space for entertaining or relaxing, and even a hideout for snoozing. The above list of pergola kits was determined by material, size, ease of assembly, and special features included for backyard events.

The above picks include aluminum, vinyl, metal, and premium wood pergola kits, all of which are sturdy and weather-resistant. The varying sizes of these models also make them suitable for small or large yards and most come with anchors or mounting hardware for easy assembly. Though a power drill or multiple people may be required for select pergolas, once assembled many are made to last through all-season weather.

The above picks also prioritize special features like adjustable panels or canopies for rain and UV protection, bars for entertaining, outlets, or resin feet for added durability.

FAQs

Once you’ve decided to purchase a pergola kit, you may have some additional questions about its purpose or how to best use it. Read on for some of the most frequently asked questions and answers about owning a pergola.

Q: What is the purpose of a pergola?

A pergola extends living space to the outdoors, essentially creating an open-air room that protects users from overbearing sunlight and the elements while providing a place to entertain and relax.

Q: How do I choose a pergola?

The best pergola for your needs depends on the available outdoor space, the type of pergola you prefer, the material used to construct it, and any other personal preferences or desire for additional features.

Q: Can you put a cover over a pergola?

Yes. You can install a cover to provide more shade when spending time inside the pergola. Consider a weatherproof fabric that’s easy to maintain.

Q: Are pergolas considered a permanent structure?

Pergolas are an open structure for a yard or patio/deck space. In the majority of cases, pergolas generally do not require a permit, but in some municipalities, if it attaches to the house, a permit may be required. Before purchasing a pergola, look into local legislation on pergolas or similar structures.

Q: How long will it take to install my pergola kit?

Installation time for a pergola kit depends on the individual features and complexity of the assembly. Having one or more people help with the installation generally makes it easier and faster to put together.