The best pergola

Allen Foster

If you're looking for a change, you can remodel your living room for $20,000. Or you could create a beautiful living space outside by purchasing a pergola for just a fraction of that cost. Besides providing you with a great deal of pleasure, a quality pergola can add value to your home.

The best pergola will be durable and fit perfectly with the style of your home. The one we love is Backyard Discovery's Cedar Pergola, which is both elegant and sturdy. To learn more about this top-quality model and to find out what you should be looking for in a pergola, continue reading.

Considerations when choosing pergolas

Building materials

Wood: When you picture a pergola, you're probably imagining a wooden model. These pergolas have a natural rustic look, are sturdy, and make a beautiful addition to almost any home. The downside is that they require the most care and maintenance, and they are typically the most expensive.

Metal: A metal pergola is going to be the most affordable option in many instances. You will not have to worry about rot or splits, but if not properly cared for, these units may rust. These models also tend to have a more contemporary look, which may or may not be appropriate for your home.

Vinyl: A vinyl pergola adds a touch of class to your home. This material is the easiest to care for because it will not rust or rot, but they are only available in shades of white. Additionally, vinyl pergolas may require some reinforcement to be as sturdy as the other types of pergolas.


Besides building materials, there are a few other crucial elements you will need to consider in order to find the right pergola for you.

Size and shape

Pergolas are mostly square or rectangular structures, but you can find them in other shapes if desired. The key is to be sure what you are purchasing isn't too small for your needs or too large for your yard.

Shade cover

If you would like a little more shade than slats of wood can provide, you may want to consider a pergola with a shade cover. Additionally, you could consider a pergola that has privacy walls, which may either be constructed of slats or fabric.


If you're putting your pergola on a patio or a pool deck, it will require a different type of foundation than a pergola installed in the ground. Be sure the pergola you're considering can be installed where you desire.

Attached or freestanding

Some pergolas need to be attached to your house for proper installation while others are freestanding. The choice is yours, but be certain you are purchasing the model that you like best.


You want to only consider pergolas that are sturdy and durable. A pergola that is near or attached to your house can cause a great deal of damage if it blows over during a strong storm.


You can find an inexpensive metal pergola for between $350 and $500. Vinyl pergolas can run as low as $600, but the larger higher-quality models will cost about $1,000. A durable wood pergola will cost about $1,000, but the larger more elaborate designs can easily run for $2,000 or more.


Q. What kind of maintenance does a pergola require?

A. Maintenance depends on the type of material your pergola is made of. Vinyl pergolas can survive with just an occasional cleaning. Metal pergolas also only require an occasional cleaning as well as a fresh coat of paint when the pergola starts to look dingy. A wooden pergola should be regularly inspected for splits and structural damage as well as carpenter-bee holes. Additionally, a wooden pergola will need to be cleaned and restained every other year.

Q. How do I clean my pergola?

A. In general, using warm water, some mild detergent, and a cloth should be enough for a vinyl or metal pergola. A wooden pergola, on the other hand, may require a scrub brush or a pressure washer -- just be sure not to damage the pergola by holding the nozzle of the pressure washer too close to the wood.

Pergolas we recommend

Best of the best: Backyard Discovery Cedar Pergola

Our take: A sturdy cedar pergola that adds an elegant outdoor-living space to your medium- to large-size backyard.

What we like: This high-quality wooden pergola includes diagonal braces for added support. It is designed to be a permanent addition to your yard, and it includes fairly straightforward instructions and requires no additional preparation, such as sanding or staining, for installation.

What we dislike: Although the instructions are clear, if you're not experienced with framing, the installation may be a little bit trickier than expected.

Best bang for your buck: Coolaroo Aurora Patio Shade Pergola

Our take: An affordable pergola that features a weather-resistant shade for protection from the sun.

What we like: This contemporary-looking 9' x 9' pergola is manufactured using powder-coated aluminum poles for added durability. The retractable canopy provides additional comfort to help create a more enjoyable outdoor-living space.

What we dislike: The instructions that come with this pergola aren't clear.

Choice 3: New England Arbors Regency 12' x 12' Vinyl Pergola

Our take: A 12' x 12' white vinyl pergola that features a classic design and is built to last.

What we like: This pergola is manufactured using vinyl, so it won't rust or rot. Additionally, under normal conditions, the material is resistant to yellowing, and it won't warp or crack. Installation requires only a handful of tools and can usually be completed in less than one day.

What we dislike: There are some additional items required for installation that aren't included with your purchase.

Allen Foster is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.

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