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  • Writer's pictureJohn Coleman

The 7 Best Wood Pergolas of 2024 for Your Outdoor Kitchen and Patio Escape

Updated: Apr 23





7 Best Wood Pergolas
7 Best Wood Pergolas

Introduction

When it comes to creating an awesome outdoor space, nothing beats the grandeur of a wood pergola. These timeless structures provide a picturesque spot to chill, hang out, and enjoy the outdoors while giving you shade and comfort. Choosing the perfect wood pergola can be both exciting and overwhelming with so many options out there.


That's where this ultimate guide comes in. Discover the captivating realm of wooden pergolas as I guide you through their advantages, various styles, and my top recommendations. Find out how to choose, build, and maintain a wood pergola that becomes the highlight of your yard, standing the test of time. Let's transform your outdoor space into a fantastic retreat with my list of the best wood pergolas.



Benefits of Wood Pergolas

Wood pergolas offer more than just aesthetic appeal in your outdoor retreat. They are valuable investments in your home, providing numerous advantages when constructed with high-quality, weather-resistant timber. Let's delve into some exciting benefits that are sure to capture your attention:


1. Natural Beauty and Aesthetics

The organic appeal of wood enhances the natural elements in your garden, lending warmth and character that other materials simply can't replicate. A wood pergola can transform a mundane backyard into an inviting extension of your home, blending seamlessly with the surrounding landscape and setting the stage for many awesome gatherings.


2. Durability and Strength

When treated and maintained properly, wood pergolas can be remarkably resilient. Species like cedar and redwood boast natural compounds that resist decay and insect damage, ensuring a long-lasting structure that stands strong against the elements.


3. Customization Options

Wood is incredibly versatile, allowing for a high degree of personalization. Whether you opt for a classic design or a contemporary twist, wood pergolas lend themselves to intricate details, decorative cuts, and a variety of finishes that promise a unique and tailored structure for your home.





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Factors to Consider When Choosing a Wood Pergola

Selecting the right wood pergola calls for careful consideration of several factors:


Size and Shape

The size and shape of your pergola should complement your outdoor space. A large yard may accommodate a sprawling, open-roofed pergola, while a more intimate space might benefit from a smaller, cornered design.


Wood Type and Treatment

Different wood species have varying characteristics that impact their performance as pergola material. Selecting the appropriate wood type is crucial to the lifespan of your wood pergola. Additionally, proper treatment such as staining or sealing will help protect the wood from weathering and other potential damage. For outdoor use, I prefer to use a wood stain and sealer. It allows you to stain and still in one application which saves time.


Location

Consider where you plan to install your wood pergola. Is it in a windy area? Will it be exposed to direct sunlight for extended periods? These factors will determine the type of wood and treatment needed to ensure durability and longevity.


Type of Wood

The most common types of wood used for pergolas are cedar, redwood, and pressure-treated pine. Each has its unique qualities that make them suitable for different environments and design preferences. Here's a closer look at each type:


Cedar

Cedar is a popular choice for outdoor structures due to its natural resistance to decay, rot, and insect infestation. It also has a beautiful reddish-brown color that can be maintained with regular staining or left untreated to weather to an attractive silvery-grey.


Redwood

Similar to cedar, redwood is naturally resistant to rot and decay. It has a rich, red tone that can add warmth and character to any outdoor space. Regular maintenance in the form of staining or sealing can help preserve its color and prolong its lifespan.


Pressure-Treated Pine

Pressure-treated pine is a budget-friendly option that has been chemically treated to resist decay, insects, and mold. Its greenish color may not be as visually appealing as cedar or redwood, but it can still be stained to achieve a desired look.


Treatment Options

Proper treatment is crucial for maintaining the beauty and durability of your wood pergola. Staining and sealing are two common options that protect the wood from weathering and damage caused by moisture and UV rays. These treatments also enhance the natural color and grain of the wood, giving it a polished look.


Another option is to use a clear wood preservative that contains UV inhibitors. This type of treatment helps prevent discoloration and protects against rot and decay without altering the appearance of the wood.


Significant to note that most wood pergola kits come pre-stained and pre-treated which saves you time and money.





Design and Style

Pergolas come in many styles, from the quintessential open-beam to the cozy gabled roof. Think about the aesthetic of your home and how you want your pergola to tie into it. This will help guide decisions about the roof shape, column style, and decorative elements.


Budget

Your budget will influence not only the materials you choose but also the level of customization. Wood pergolas vary widely in cost, and it's important to find a balance between your financial resources and your design vision. According to an article from SuperMoney, a pergola kit sized 10'x10' to 12'x12' will cost between $2,000-$2,500 (plus labor if you don't DIY). Additionally, the article also mentions that a custom-built pergola will have an estimated cost of $3,500 but the cost will be reduced if you DIY.


Now that we've covered the essentials, let's dive into the heart of the matter: The best wood pergolas.


My List of the 7 Best Wood Pergolas


This selection offered by SunJoy is unique in its ability to create that beach vibe that you want in that area by a pool or patio. Just imagine lights hung along the trellis and perhaps a few tiki torches around the edges. And of course, you lounging underneath.


Features: 

  • Covers 140 sq. ft. for optimal coverage of a seating or grilling area.

  • Minimalist and stylish design

  • Stable construction is built with a premium cedar wood frame coated with a light gray finish.

  • Canopy made of light gray polyester fabric that is UV, fade, and weather-resistant

  • 2 large built-in shelves

  • A curved arched roof that creates a more open feel

  • The partially slatted extensions from the columns add even more character

Pros:

  • Easy installation and can be installed in just a few hours.

  • Easy-to-follow instructions with everything pre-drilled and pre-cut.

  • Resist winds up to 18 mph

  • Includes accessories to anchor in your yard.

Cons:

  • Higher initial cost compared to some alternatives

  • Does not include concrete anchor screws for mounting


A great option if you need to cover a larger size area. Depending on the size you choose, you can cover an area ranging from 168 to 240 sq. ft. The large size timber gives a very rustic but stylish appeal.


Features: 

  • Available in sizes ranging from 14ft x 12ft to 20ft x 12ft

  • Made of cedar and coated with a light brown stain which is resistant to weather and rot.

  • Multi-level roof for optimal shade and ventilation

  • Optional climbing plants package for natural greenery

  • Includes a power port that offers 3 electrical outlets and 3 USB ports

  • Built for strength with dual structural crossbeams and 6x6 posts

Pros:

  • Installation app included that provides 3D step-by-step instructions for easy assembly

  • When anchored appropriately, this pergola can withstand winds up to 100 mph

  • Excellent weather resistance and longevity

  • Backed by a 5-year warranty

Cons:

  • Higher initial cost compared to some alternatives

  • Requires periodic staining and/or sealing to maintain appearance



I chose this pergola for the list because it has such versatility. It can be used to enhance a hot tub area while making it easy for your guests to socialize whether they are soaking in the hot tub or standing at the large bar shelves. This pergola would also make a great grilling area as it is wide enough to accommodate two grills underneath. Not to mention it has privacy walls which is a plus.


Features: 

  • Covers a 110 sq. ft.

  • Premium cedar frame with a natural wood look and mounting plates for anchoring in your yard.

  • Privacy walls

  • Two Bar Shelves

Pros:

  • Easy Installation with video available here.

  • When anchored appropriately, this pergola can withstand winds up to 100 mph

Cons:

  • Higher initial cost compared to some alternatives

  • May need a coat of sealant after assembly.

  • Does not include concrete anchor screws for mounting



An elegant and stylish smaller option that covers 120 sq. ft. This pergola would be perfect for a sitting area with a fire pit or a grilling station. It can make a statement without overpowering the rest of your backyard. You will find this to be a budget-friendly option.


Features: 

  • Made of pine preprocessed with varnish for weather resistance.

  • Multi-level trellis roof for enhanced shade

  • Solid construction with reinforced joints

  • Pre-cut and pre-drilled for easier assembly

Pros:

  • Great for shade on the poolside, patio, backyard, or garden

  • Robust build that can withstand heavy winds up to 100 mph

  • Budget-friendly without skimping on quality

  • Relatively low maintenance required

Cons:

  • Aesthetically simple, suited for a more rustic or utilitarian look

  • The pre-cut design might limit customization options

  • It does not come with power outlets



This selection made the list due to its unique design complimented by adjustable hanging planters to warm the space with greenery. The Sunjoy wood pergola has a more enclosed design which enhances privacy.


Features: 

  • Covers 105 sq. ft.

  • Premium solid cedar frame

  • Rust-resistant powder-coated steel planters

  • Slatted roof for optimal airflow

Pros:

  • Easy to assemble

  • Exquisite design that adds a touch of luxury to any home

  • Made of weather and rot-resistant cedar

  • Perfect fit for smaller areas or areas that need a little more privacy

Cons:

  • Mid-price range of wood pergola kits

  • May require the application of sealant to extend the lifespan



With its arched top, this pergola takes it to the next level. Adding string lights to the arches and complimenting the outer edges with privacy drapes will really wow your guests at any gathering.


Features: 

  • Premium cedar frame

  • Available in two sizes: 10ft x 12ft and 12ft x 14ft

  • Artistically crafted arches and intricately designed lattice

  • Higher roof clearance due to arched shape

Pros:

  • Easy to assemble - All materials are pre-cut, pre-drilled, and pre-stained.

  • Includes an interactive app that provides step-by-step instructions to assemble

  • Made of weather and rot-resistant cedar

Cons:

  • Takes a little more time to install.

  • It does not include electrical ports


This modern-style Brockton pergola is very spacious as it covers 140 sq. ft. It has a rustic but straight-line look that can blend into almost any space.


Features: 

  • Made of quality cedar resistant to weather and rot. Also coated with a weather-resistant stain which adds a second layer of protection.

  • Dark Walnut finish

  • Built sturdy with 6 3/4" upright cedar post

  • Includes a power port with 3 electrical outlets and 3 USB ports

  • Slatted roof for optimal airflow

Pros:

  • Easy to assemble - All materials are pre-cut, pre-drilled, and pre-stained.

  • Includes an interactive app that provides step-by-step instructions to assemble

  • Withstands up to 100 mph winds

  • Great for sitting areas with large outdoor furniture

  • 5-year warranty

Cons:

  • Anchor screws are not included.

  • Posts are solid but are not completely solid all the way through.



As I searched for pergolas to include in this list, I considered reasonable prices for various budgets, unique features, square feet of coverage, and of course, aesthetic appeal. My goal was to provide options that could fit anyone's preferences.


DIY Wood Pergola Construction

Embarking on a do-it-yourself pergola project can be as fulfilling as it is economical. Before you grab your tools, ensure you have:


  • A detailed plan or a kit with pre-cut pieces

  • Quality wood, durable fasteners, and weatherproofing treatments

  • The necessary tools, including a saw, drill, and level

In case you are considering building a DIY wood pergola from scratch, here is a simplified guide to constructing a basic wood pergola:


  1. Site Preparation: Choose a level area and mark the pergola's footprint. Clear any vegetation and ensure the ground is compact and stable.

  2. Foundation Anchors: Depending on the site, you may need to anchor posts to concrete footings. Alternatively, you can use heavy-duty stakes for a temporary structure.

  3. Assemble the Frame: Connect the vertical posts with horizontal beams, ensuring everything is square and level. Consider both the length and width of your structure, as well as the height of your roof, if applicable.

  4. Roof Installation: Attach rafters to the top of the frame, followed by the slats for the roof. You may choose to space them close together for more shade or leave them open for greater light penetration.

  5. Finishing Touches and Maintenance: Sand all surfaces, seal the wood, and consider adding decorative end caps to your posts for a polished look. Regular maintenance, like reapplying sealant, will keep your pergola looking its best.

Maintenance and Care of Wood Pergolas

Proper maintenance is crucial for extending the life of your wood pergola.

  • Regularly clean the structure to remove dirt and debris

  • Inspect for signs of rot or insect infestation, particularly in vulnerable areas like joints

  • Apply a fresh coat of UV-protective stain or sealant every few years to maintain the color and integrity of the wood

By dedicating just a few hours each year, you can ensure that your wood pergola remains an exquisite and functional centerpiece of your outdoor living space.


Conclusion

Whether you're looking for a way to add shade and style to your backyard or create an inviting outdoor living area, a wood pergola is a timeless and versatile option. With proper planning, construction, and maintenance, you can enjoy the benefits of this beautiful structure for many years to come.


Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What type of wood is best for constructing a pergola?

A: Cedar and redwood are commonly used due to their natural resistance to rot, decay, and insect infestation. However, pressure-treated pine can also be a cost-effective choice.


Q: How often should I apply a fresh coat of stain or sealant to my wood pergola?

A: Generally, it's recommended to apply a fresh coat of UV-protective stain or sealant every two to three years, but this can vary based on your specific climate and the type of wood used.


Q: How can I clean my wood pergola?

A: Use a mild detergent and warm water to clean your pergola. Avoid using harsh chemicals, as they can damage the wood.


Q: Do I need a permit to build a pergola?

A: Permit requirements vary by region and the specifics of the project. It's always best to check with your local municipal office or building department to ensure you comply with all regulations.


Q: Can I hang plants or lights from my pergola?

A: Yes, adding plants, lights, or other decor to your pergola can enhance its beauty and functionality. However, consider the weight of these additions and ensure your pergola's structure can support them.


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