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Pergolas are outdoor structures that provide shade and add style to your lawn or garden. If you love to spend time outside, adding a pergola can make your space comfortable even during the hot, sunny days of Summer or the cool, windy nights of Spring and Autumn. For plant lovers, pergolas offer the perfect place for climbing plants to enjoy. They can even create a focal point for your yard.
Many pergola kits come delivered right to your door. With just a little bit of assembly, you can create a pergola that is both stylish and practical. A kit allows you to make your pergola without any specialized tools or knowledge. For many homeowners, this convenience can provide the confidence needed to tackle this yard upgrade project.
Here, the best pergola kits to elevate your outdoor space.
Best Overall: Sol 72 Outdoor Verwood Vinyl Pergola
Shape: Square | Frame Material: Vinyl | Coverage Area: 100 square feet
Easy to maintain
Traditional look and details
Medium size may not work for all yards
Requires additional tools for assembly
This pergola combines the easy maintenance of vinyl with the traditional look of most wood pergolas, all at a budget-friendly price. The overhead lattice is ideal for climbing plants and flowering vines, or for the addition of a canopy. Assembly is straightforward, although you will need some additional tools and help to get it finished.
At 10 feet x 10 feet, this pergola kit is just the right size for most uses, although those planning to host large gatherings may want something bigger. You can sit comfortably for dinner at an outdoor table underneath or set up a cozy conversation area around a firepit or other focal point.
Best Budget: Sunjoy Meadow 9.5 Ft. W x 11 Ft. D Metal Pergola with Canopy
Shape: Rectangular | Frame Material: Powder-coated steel | Coverage Area: 104.5 square feet
Metal may show wear faster than some wood
Not mold/mildew resistant
This pergola kit is just as easy on the eyes as it is on the wallet. Made of rust-resistant, powder-coated metal, the Sunjoy Metal Pergola kit is great for year-round use no matter the weather. It offers 104.5 square feet of coverage, with plenty of space for a table and chairs, firepit, or space to lounge. Although pergola kits are a sizable investment for any backyard, this pick is more affordable than most.
The shape is slightly arched, which provides an additional architectural detail that many homeowners look for when upgrading their outdoor space. You can use the included canopy to provide shade or assemble it without, especially if you plan to use your pergola to grow climbing plants.
Best Splurge: Backyard Discovery Laguna Cabana Pergola with Conversation Seating
Shape: Triangular | Frame Material: Steel | Coverage Area: 52 square feet
Loveseat, side table, and cushions included
Open concept works in a variety of settings
Powder-coated steel frame
Sunbrella outdoor fabric
Small area covered by overhead portion
Benches and tables are built-in (no options for configuration)
If you're looking to get the best of the best for your outdoor area, Backyard Discovery has a lot of great options that look attractive, are built to last, and have special features. One of their more expensive models, the Laguna Cabana with Conversation Seating, doesn’t cover a lot of space but has everything you need for a relaxing stay right in your own backyard.
For a small pergola, this triangular option from Backyard Discovery is pricey, but the extra features make it worth the splurge. It includes seating for six adults, slat details on the top, decorative panels on the sides, removable Sunbrella cushions, and a square table. It's the perfect piece of furniture for creating a cozy nook in your backyard or outdoor space.
Best Wood: Millwood Pines Tignall 10 Ft. W x 4 Ft. D Solid Wood Pergola
Shape: Rectangular | Frame Material: Solid wood | Coverage Area: 40 square feet
Made of solid wood
Easy to assemble
Rust, rot, and mildew resistant
Ground anchoring system purchased separately
If you're in the market for something that's constructed of wood, this pergola kit is made of 100 percent Western Red Cedar, which is naturally mold, rot, and mildew resistant. Every piece comes pre-cut, pre-stained, and with pre-drilled holes. All you need to do is assemble and enjoy. It’s best to have some help with assembly, though, as many of the pieces require two people to lift.
Although this pergola has a smaller coverage area than other options on this list, it's the perfect size for smaller outdoor spaces. Place a grill underneath the pergola or two Adirondack chairs for a picturesque retreat. It will extend your home's outdoor living space and still provide some shelter from the rain and sun.
Best Vinyl: Vita Camelot 12 ft. x 12 ft. Louvered Pergola
Shape: Square | Frame Material Vinyl | Coverage Area: 144 square feet
Easy to maintain
Louvers open and close with one hand
Additional add-ons available
Only available in white
Simpler design than high-end models
For a pergola kit that requires almost no maintenance, a vinyl option looks great and is easy to take care of with just a hose and water. In addition to being constructed from vinyl with a 20-year warranty, the Vita Camelot Pergola has a louvered canopy. By just pushing the louvers closed, you can get more shade or protection from rain and wind. This pergola truly becomes an outdoor room that is easy to enjoy and maintain.
If you're interested in further customizing this kit, Vita offers a nice assortment of accessories and add-ons. For a pop of color and greenery, opt for a lattice panel trellis, which creates an additional privacy screen for plants to grow as well as provides some additional protection from the wind. The add-ons can be a great way to add some extra sparkle to an otherwise simple pergola design.
Best with Canopy: Hampton Bay 10 ft. x 12 ft. Longford Wood Outdoor Patio Pergola with Sling Canopy
Shape: Rectangular | Frame Material: Steel | Coverage Area: 120 square feet
Sturdy steel frame
Not a lot of architectural detail
Canopy isn't water-resistant
Sometimes pergola users want the option of a retractable canopy that can offer shade on a sunny day. The Longford Wood Outdoor Pergola has an easy-to-use retractable canopy that can be extended or retracted within minutes. Assembly is relatively straightforward and there's plenty of space underneath for a table and chairs, a grouping of lounge chairs, or a conversation area with a firepit or low table. It is the perfect addition for yards that experience both sun and shade throughout the day or year.
Best Large Pergola: Vita Regency Grande 12' x 24' Vinyl Pergola
Shape: Rectangular | Frame Material: Vinyl | Coverage Area: 288 square feet
Large coverage area
Slender supports don’t detract from look
Easy to maintain
Only available in white
Requires multiple people for assembly
If you want to provide shade and comfort to a large space, this pergola kit is a whopping 12 feet x 24 feet. It has multiple supports to make sure that it can withstand weather and wind, as well as a detailed lattice design overhead. It only comes in white, which offers a clean and modern look to your yard.
As expected with such a large piece, the assembly process is lengthy. It arrives in 11 boxes and requires multiple people to move and assemble. You will need some tools to finish the assembly, such as a power drill, and cement if you want to install it in-ground. Once you assemble the pergola, it weighs over 400 pounds, so it’s best to get it set up exactly where you plan to use it.
Best Sun Shade: AsterOutdoor Sun Shade Sail
Shape: Rectangular | Frame Material: Polyethylene fabric | Coverage Area: 320 square feet
Large coverage area
Doesn't take up yard space
Requires attachment points
Offers little wind protection
Most pergola kits require multiple people and additional tools to assemble. If you're looking to get the benefit of shade without the work of assembly, a sun shade may be the perfect solution. This pergola alternative looks modern and works great to provide shade, although it’s not well suited to offer much protection from wind or heavy rain. Many sail shades are packable and can be set up by just one person.
This extra-large sun shade from AsterOutdoor measures 16 feet x 20 feet, comes in four neutral colors, and costs less than the other picks on this list. The fabric itself offers some protection from UV rays, making it a great choice for areas that see a lot of sun. It does require four attachment points on the exterior of your home, a shed, or from freestanding support. The included attachment tethers are each 5 feet long, which provides some versatility when looking for the ideal place to set it up.
Our top pick is the Sol 72 Outdoor Verwood Vinyl Pergola (view at Wayfair), which has a classic look, low maintenance needs, and a great price. For those who don’t like vinyl, the Millwood Pines Tignall Solid Wood Pergola (view at Wayfair) is made of attractive and long-lasting red cedar. It has a smaller coverage area, but it's a beautiful and durable piece that is sure to complete any backyard oasis.
What to Look for in a Pergola Kit
The first factor that you need to consider when selecting a pergola kit is the size of your space. Pergolas are generally rectangular, square, or triangular and come in a variety of sizes. If you opt for a rectangular pergola, they often look best with the long side parallel with your home, although setting up your pergola is all about personal preference.
If you want to use your pergola for a dining area, make sure that you choose a size that allows your table and chairs to sit comfortably underneath. It helps to set up your space and then mark out the ideal pergola size with paint, chalk, or string. Allow extra space for people to push chairs out from the table, making sure that they can do so without bumping into the pergola frame.
Keep in mind that if you are planning to use your pergola over a paver patio, most companies recommend that you buy a pergola that is larger than your space. This allows you to anchor the pergola structure into the ground, which is very important to help it withstand wind or rain.
Pergolas come in vinyl, wood, or metal. Vinyl is one of the most popular options due to its low maintenance, but it can be more expensive or have fewer craftsman-like details. Wood pergolas are often constructed from cedar, which has an attractive look and is mold and mildew resistant. If you choose a metal pergola, make sure that it is powder-coated to increase its longevity. Powder-coated metal prevents rust, which can quickly make your pergola unsafe as well as unattractive.
Ease of installation
Due to their size and the requirement for heavy overhead pieces, pergola kits almost always require two or more people to assemble. Having a ladder or two nearby can make the process easier, as people don’t have to hold heavy beams overhead as much.
The easiest to install pergola kits have pre-drilled holes and pre-cut pieces. Assembly instructions with diagrams, online tutorials, and company support can also make installation much easier. For the trickiest setups, it may be worth hiring a professional to do the literal heavy lifting for you.
If you are considering a pergola to spruce up your yard, chances are you value outdoor entertaining and comfort. A pergola kit that has built-in seating or a table creates not just a comfortable place in the shade but an all-inclusive retreat for you or your guests to enjoy. Other extra features worth considering include architectural details on the support columns, decorative privacy screens, or intricate lattice work overhead.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article was researched and written by Katie Begley, who has created a backyard oasis in each of her homes as she moved around the United States. Whether enjoying the sunshine of California or beachside living in Virginia, Katie loves to make her backyard the go-to spot in the neighborhood.