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  • Barry Lenson

From Concept to Reality: The Custom Pergola Building Process

Updated: Dec 7, 2023

You have a vision for your high-end, custom pergola. When you close your eyes and turn your imagination loose, perhaps you see a pergola that is big and shady, with comfortable furniture where you and your family can spend relaxing summer afternoons. Or maybe when you start dreaming, you see a pergola with an outdoor kitchen, a dining table and other features that will make it a hub for entertaining your best friends. Or if you have kids, maybe you want your pergola to be a place where they can play, splash in a small pool, and invite friends over.

Chances are good that you are envisioning something, at least in a hazy way. But the next question is . . .

How can you find the help you need to make that vision real . . . and when you do, how are you going to design, build, and equip it?

Here are some steps to take to help ensure that your pergola will meet your expectations and fulfill your hopes.

Draw Up a Working Budget

Start by deciding how much money in total you want to invest to take you from a vision to a finished pergola – and work back from that figure to decide approximately how much money you would like to spend in the following areas . . .

  • Design

  • Materials and construction

  • Supplying electricity, water, and gas service

  • Landscaping and plantings

  • Furnishings, including furniture, lighting, firepits and barbecues

Get the Right Professionals on Your Pergola Team

In general, you will need to use two kinds of professionals . . .

Architects and designers. We suggest that you visit to explore the most elegant current designs for the world’s most beautiful pergolas. While you are there, fill out and submit the form to request a quote for a custom pergola. If you decide to use an architect that you find and retain yourself, be sure to get referrals to one who has extensive experience designing pergolas.

A construction company. Privlux can expertly handle this aspect of your pergola completion. But if you would prefer to use a construction company in your geographic area, be sure to follow these steps:

  • Ask neighbors and friends to recommend construction companies that have done an excellent job of building their pergolas. Ask whether the company they are recommending arrived on time to complete the day’s work, worked daily until the project was finished, delivered high quality work, respected the homeowner’s property, and cleaned up the construction site when work was done.

  • Visit and inspect pergolas the construction company has built. You don’t want your pergola to be the first one built by any construction company – you want it to be the 10th or 15th. Don’t rely on photographs the company representative shows you in a notebook, and don’t rely on photos of completed projects that the company has posted on its website. Go and look at the projects themselves. What quality of construction do you see? And if you are looking at a pergola that the company built four or more years ago, how well has it held up? Are boards warped or discolored? Remember, you are investing in a pergola that you want to be beautiful, year after year.

  • Trust your instincts and be sure you are making the right choice. Do you get a good feeling about the construction company representative or salesperson who is trying to win your project? Are you being asked to sign a contract and put down too much money to retain the company’s services? The percentage of costs that you should pay when you sign a construction contract depends on the size and scope of the project, the contractor’s preferences, and the payment terms that you agree on. However, a general rule of thumb is that deposits can range from 10% to 50% of the total project cost, with 25% to 33% being a reasonable expectation for medium-sized projects. For a construction company to charge more than 50% is unreasonable, regardless of the project type. Also remember that after you have made your initial deposit, you can pay the construction costs in several installments, or a final installment upon completion and approval of the project.

  • Schedule regular times to meet with your construction company and designer at regular intervals during the construction process to be sure all aspects of the project are completed in a punctual and high-quality way.

  • And remember to apply similar strategies to selecting a landscaping company too.

Key Factors to Discuss as You Plan Your Pergola

  • Focus on how you’ll use it. Decide where you want to place your pergola, how big you want it to be, and what style you prefer. Also think about your vision of how you want to use your pergola, as we discussed in the first paragraph of this post.

  • Review the location carefully. Is the soil soft, sandy, or hard? What is the water drainage like? Is the property partially shaded by trees, or in open sun in ways that could affect your choice of location? A careful examination of your land or location will prevent costly and frustrating problems later.

  • Consider how users will access the pergola. Will they walk across open lawn, cross a path that you will construct, or walk into your pergola directly from a patio or deck where it is located? How will those considerations affect the placement and design of your pergola?

  • The need for electricity, water service, or natural gas, depending on how you want to use and enjoy your pergola. These factors can affect where you place or orient your pergola. Plus, they can add extra cost and require you to hire electricians and plumbers.

  • Choose between free-standing or attached. A free-standing pergola is a standalone structure that can be placed anywhere in your yard, while an attached pergola is connected to your house or another building.

  • The materials. You can choose from different materials for your pergola, such as wood, masonry, vinyl, metal, or composite. The material you choose will affect the durability, maintenance, and cost of your pergola.

  • Extras. You can customize your pergola with various features, such as lighting, fans, curtains, plants, furniture, fire pits, or even a swing or small climbing wall for kids to enjoy.

Privlux Is Your Partner as You Plan and Complete Your Dream Pergola

To make the right decisions, be sure to visit, the leading provider of high-quality pergolas. While you are visiting, fill out the online form and get a free quote on designing the elegant outdoor oasis you have always wanted.

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