Is the summer sun and heat keeping you from enjoying your outdoor space?

In the summertime, you want the best of both worlds: fresh air and outdoor enjoyment, but also a way to shelter from the sun and rain. Maybe you’d like to spend time on your patio or in a quiet corner of your yard, but you need some shade. It may be time to consider a pergola.

What is a Pergola?

A pergola is an open-sided structure supported by four columns with a roof designed of beams. It can be free-standing or attached to your home to form an extension of your living space.

Depending on the type of pergola, it can provide partial to full shade to a patio or deck.

Read on for tips on choosing the perfect pergola.

Pergola Materials

Pergolas can be made with almost any construction material. The type of material will affect the pergola’s cost, maintenance requirements, and strength.


Wood can be painted or stained any color. However, wood needs to be regularly cleaned, sanded, and sealed and is vulnerable to rot and insect damage. Cedar withstands rot and insect damage but is more expensive.


A steel pergola is attractive and withstands wind.  Steel, however, is prone to rust and may need frequent upkeep.


An inexpensive vinyl pergola resists weathering and needs little maintenance. However, vinyl may eventually become brittle and need to be replaced.


An aluminum pergola lasts a lifetime and needs no maintenance or painting. It won’t warp, rust, or sag.

Pergola Extra Features

Adding extra features to your pergola can help you create a space uniquely yours and will help you prepare your space for heat, light, or other weather.

Pergola Sun Shade

Installing a retractable sun shade on your pergola will give you even more shade during the times when the sun is lower in the sky. It also adds privacy and protection from bugs.


Outdoor curtains create additional shade or privacy to your pergola. Tie them back when not needed or close them to block the sun and neighbors.

Lighting and Fans

Adding outdoor lights or even a fan to your pergola turns your deck or patio into a space that’s perfect any time of the day!

Build It Yourself or Hire a Contractor

There are several options for building your own pergola, depending on your budget, your building experience, and the desired quality. You should also check with your local ordinances to learn about regulations and permits.

Purchase a Kit

Hardware supply stores sell kits starting at several hundred dollars to several thousand. Since an inexpensive kit uses cheap materials, you should research whether it will be sturdy enough for your needs.

Build Your Own

You can find instructions on the internet for building your own pergola. These projects cost a few hundred dollars for supplies. However, since this project is so complex, only experienced builders should try to build their own pergola.

Hire an Experienced Contractor

An experienced contractor can build you a sturdy pergola that fits your exact specifications for size and layout. This is especially useful if you are building a custom pergola to fit over a walkway or extend along the length of your house. A basic aluminum pergola will probably start around $5000 depending on features.

Get Started

After you decide on your budget, your desired size, and extra features, you’re one step closer to relaxing in the shade. Contact us today for help building the perfect pergola on your patio or deck.