Does your backyard feel like it’s missing something? So did an Egyptian high court official around 1,400 B.C., which led to the invention of the pergola!
Today, this elegant structure is popular all around the U.S., and many homeowners enjoy keeping them on their property.
If you’re thinking about building a backyard pergola, keep reading for our recommendations and advice!
Our Top Picks
PURPLE LEAF Patio Louvered Pergola 11.5′ × 23.6′
Many shoppers want a backyard pergola that offers the best combination of attractiveness, reliability, and affordability. You’ll find that in the PURPLE LEAF 10’ x 18’ outdoor model. Made from aluminum and other metals, it’s resistant to corrosion and strong enough to withstand heavy winds.
The frame’s dark color is sophisticated on its own but pairs well with any other decoration you want to add to it.
Additionally, the roof comes with a durable fabric to prevent UV rays from reaching your skin. It also keeps water, snow, and other precipitation from falling on you. You can adjust the fabric to suit your particular needs or desires any time of year. Just remove it altogether if you want to welcome more sunshine into your life!
- Strong and durable
- Provides protection from UV rays and precipitation
- Resistant to corrosion
- Fabric available in multiple colors
- Modest price for its quality
- Instructions are hard to follow
- Sometimes ships with missing parts
Best Budget-Friendly Option
If you want to save money without sacrificing quality, the Gaildon 10×10 model could be the perfect backyard pergola for you. With a heavy-duty, waterproof, and rust-resistant steel frame, it can survive all kinds of inclement weather.
Even the stringed lights are waterproof, and they even run on solar power to save on your energy bill and reduce environmental impact.
This pergola also includes a waterproof fabric canopy that blocks UV rays. You can expand or retract the canopy with ropes attached to the poles. Considering how quick and easy it is to set up, you could even take it with you for long camping trips. All these benefits are yours for a much lower price than what other models demand!
- Strong and durable
- Resistant to corrosion
- Canopy is available in two colors
- Fabric of canopy is waterproof and blocks UV rays
- Comes with solar-powered waterproof lights
- Very affordable
- Not large enough to accommodate more than a few people
- Solar lights are not always reliable
- Ropes are not always reliable
You might believe that there’s no price too high for the best quality. If so, look at PURPLE LEAF’s 11.5’ × 23.6’ louvered patio pergola.
The sheer size is reason enough to indulge; it’s more than large enough to fit large groups of people and/or equipment for anything you might want to do. Plus, each row of UV-blocking louvers is connected separately to the roof and can be adjusted independently from the others, so you can customize the shading according to the preferences of your guests.
The waterproof, anti-corrosive metal and aluminum frame features a gutter system that disposes of rainwater and melted snow more efficiently than many other backyard pergolas on the market today. It also stands up formidably against high winds and other types of harsh weather.
- Strong and durable
- Resistant to corrosion
- Customizable, independently operating louvers
- Capable of accommodating large groups and/or equipment
- Difficult and time-consuming to install due to its size and weight
- Parts are sometimes missing or damaged upon arrival
- Very expensive
Best Heavy Duty Option
Do you live in an area known for particularly severe weather? You need something tough enough to endure anything, so consider the Backyard Discovery 14’ x 10’ Hawthorne pergola.
Because the frame is made from galvanized steel–one of the strongest materials you could hope to find in a backyard pergola–it’s almost impossible to dent or knock down. Steel anchoring plates provide extra reinforcement, keeping the frame steady in all conditions. In fact, the frame has been proven to withstand winds up to 100 miles per hour.
The steel is also resistant to damage from water, rust, and sunlight, meaning this backyard pergola can effectively protect you from UV rays, too, especially when combined with the sail fabric canopy included with the kit. As if all this wasn’t enough, it’s equipped with three electrical panels and USB ports so that you can plug in appliances, lights, televisions, gaming systems, or other electronics.
- Extremely tough and durable
- Includes steel anchoring plates
- Comes with UV-blocking canopy
- Includes three electrical panels and USB ports
- Fairly expensive
- Canopy does not stay on in high winds
- May arrive with missing or damaged parts
Best for Outdoor Entertainment
Whether you’re looking to entertain yourself, your guests, or both, a backyard pergola can do the trick if you go for the Backyard Discovery 20’ x 12’ Beaumont model. The entire frame is made from water- and rot-resistant cedar wood and metal, which is as practical and durable as it is visually appealing. A great look makes it easier to have a great time!
Like the Hawthorne galvanized steel model, the Beaumont is capable of holding its own against winds up to 100 miles per hour, and it includes three electrical panels and USB ports. That alone already makes it ideal for setting up televisions, gaming systems, movie projectors, and any other electronics you like.
However, it’s also much bigger. That means more room for guests, furniture, food, grills, decorations, lights, and other items that will transform your backyard pergola into the ideal entertainment center.
- Extremely strong and durable
- Water- and rot-resistant
- Comes with three USB ports and electrical panels
- Large enough to accommodate large groups
- Fairly expensive
- Doesn’t come with a canopy
- Difficult and time-consuming to install due to size and weight
Buyer’s Guide for Backyard Pergolas
Definition of a Pergola
Backyard pergolas sometimes get confused with similar structures, like gazebos and pavilions. This could complicate your search for your ideal pergola, so you should know how to spot one.
Legally, a pergola is defined as an arched or flat roof supported by four to eight posts or poles, and the arch or roof is made of criss-crossing bars that leave at least half the structure open to the air. They often double as garden trellises; the posts and perforated roofs are excellent for climbing vines.
Shapes and Materials Used for Backyard Pergolas
As long as they meet the requirements for structural style, backyard pergolas can be made from anything. Today, the most common materials are wood, steel, aluminum, fiberglass, vinyl, and plastic. The more natural the material, the more expensive the model tends to be.
What to Look For
All the best backyard pergolas will promise the same advantages. For example, even the most reliably constructed models offer warranties to cover any unexpected problems. Prioritize those traits.
Other than that, narrow your search for backyard pergolas that suit your personal values and preferences. Bigger pergolas help with entertaining company or setting up play areas for your pets and children. On the other hand, smaller pergolas are cozier and more personal. Either way, electrical outlets are helpful for including fans, lanterns, appliances, and personal devices to make the space more fun.
If longevity and eco-friendliness are of utmost importance to you, then opt for a backyard pergola fashioned from pure wood or metal, provided that you’re prepared for regular painting, staining, and other maintenance to prevent rust or water damage. For low-maintenance models with plenty of color options, go for plastic and/or vinyl, possibly with polyester fabric on the lattice; just be prepared for a shorter lifespan than natural materials.
The maintenance details may vary according to the material of your backyard pergola. However, for wood models, a good rule of thumb is to paint and/or stain the frame every one to three years. Everything else needs a new coat of anti-rust spray annually. All materials should get a good scrubbing every few months to prevent premature wear from dirt, dust, and debris.
Frequently Asked Questions for Backyard Pergolas
What are the benefits of having a pergola?
You only need to glance at a pergola to see how easily it would enhance your backyard’s aesthetic. They’re alluringly tall and charmingly latticed or perforated. An arch shape appears inviting and graceful while a flat roof looks stately or dignified.
Beyond that, a backyard pergola helps you make the most of warm, sunny days. There’s enough shade to keep you cool, but the openings in the roof still allow sunlight to stream through. It’s a great spot to set up outdoor furniture, play area, or hot tub so that you and your pets, children, and other loved ones can relax outside as long as you want without overheating.
Do you anticipate hosting parties, weddings, receptions, mitzvahs, or other social gatherings? The pergola is a lovely place to cook food, seat your guests, and/or hold ceremonies. If you also have a pool for guests to use, they would naturally feel drawn to the pergola to rest from swimming.
Although the pergola itself is beautiful, you can use the posts and/or roof to make it even more so, which in turn makes your backyard extra pleasant. Nearly any part of the pergola could hold bird feeders, potted plants, stringed lights, and other decorations.
Also, consider how much a backyard pergola could increase your home’s market value. In the event that you move and don’t want to bring the pergola to your new house, you could net a greater profit from the sale.
Do you need a permit to set one up?
There’s no need to get into legal trouble just for a backyard pergola, and every area has different permit requirements. Before choosing your model, contact your local township or city government to see how you can stay compliant with the law.
Where should you put the pergola?
The first question to ask yourself is how you can intend to use your backyard pergola. If it’s mainly for you to unwind outside, then you may like it in a corner space to give you a full view of the yard, or near your back door for easy access. For social events, a central spot would be ideal. If you just want an attractive trellis for your garden, set it up near your climbing plants.
In any case, a backyard pergola can go wherever you want, so long as the ground is flat and there’s enough room. Generally, concrete and stone are best, as they’re strong enough to keep the pergola sturdy. However, you could also opt for grass, soil, and/or gravel, provided that they drain well.
How should you prepare the pergola’s site?
Before setting up your gazebo kit, make sure the ground you chose is even. There should be no more than six inches of difference between the area’s highest and lowest points. If you measure a greater than that, level the ground with additional soil or pavers, or have a professional landscaper assist you.
Which Backyard Pergola is Your Favorite?
You’ll love whichever backyard pergola you choose. Imagine how much more you’ll love it when combined with other amazing features! Check out our section on backyard living for more inspiration and advice to make your property even better and more reflective of your wonderful set.