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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 stylish and practical pergola. 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 are 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
Size may not work for larger 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 a canopy. Assembly is straightforward, although you will need some additional tools and help to get it finished.
At 10 feet by 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 wear down faster than wood
Not 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 various settings
Powder-coated steel frame
Sunbrella outdoor fabric
Small area covered by overhead portion
Benches and tables are built-in (not reconfigurable)
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 backyard.
This triangular option from Backyard Discovery is pricey for a small pergola, 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 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 and 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 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 by 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 requires 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.
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 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, ensuring 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 sizing 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 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 more straightforward. It may be worth hiring a professional to do the literal heavy lifting for you for the trickiest setups.
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 latticework 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.