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  • Barry Lenson

What will your pergola budget buy?

What will your pergola budget buy? . . .

Should You Spend $1,000 for Your Pergola . . . or $1 Million?

Before we talk about pergolas, let’s take a minute to think about watches.

When you are shopping for a watch, you could buy a Timex Easy Reader for $50.00 or less. It’s a nice-looking watch, quite stylish actually. Or you could go to the opposite end of the spectrum and buy an A Lange & Söhne Datagraph for $107,000.00. The craftspeople who make it build it, then take it apart, polish every part, put it back together, and then sell it to you. It’s a good-looking watch too.

Both watches tell you the time. And between the Timex and the A Lange there are a lot of other watches to choose from – Bulova, Seiko, Casio, Rolex, and plenty of others. You make your choice based on style, features, durability, your budget, and a lot of other factors.

Then we come to pergolas. There are many different kinds, ranging from inexpensive to ultra-costly. Like watches, they all perform the same basic function, which is to give you a shaded, beautiful structure that helps you enjoy being outdoors. But just as is the case when you are shopping for a watch, you have some decisions to make when shopping for a pergola.

Pergolas from the Least to the Most Expensive

Pergolas come in various styles and materials, and their cost can vary significantly based on different factors. Here's a list of pergolas from the cheapest to the most expensive, with rough cost estimates:

Wooden DIY Pergolas - The cheapest option, at about $1,000-$2,000

You can make quite a nice pergola as a do-it-yourself project. When you come right down to it, a pergola is made of four legs that support a rectangular frame that contains some kind of roof structure that can be made of slats, or fabric. You can find plans for these pergolas online. Note that pressure-treated lumber is more expensive than it was only a few years ago. And if you hire a construction company or a handy person to help you, that will about double the cost.

Aluminum and Steel Pergolas from Kits - Mid-range cost, at about $1,000-$5,000

These are lightweight, durable, and low-maintenance. They are assembled from a kit by do-it-yourselfers or hired help. Many are embossed and painted to resemble wood. Most have adjustable louvers overhead or a retractable canopy for shade control. Note that steel pergolas will generally start to rust after a few years.

Again, getting help from a pro will add to the cost.

Custom-Built Wooden Pergolas Built by Construction Companies - Higher mid-range cost, at about $8,000-$20,000

Local construction companies that build decks are often able to construct pergolas that fit your available space and accommodate your style preferences. Think of these pergolas as decks with roofs.

Vinyl Pergolas - Mid-range to higher-end, at about $2,500 to $8,000

They are Low maintenance, and resistant to rot and insects. Some models feature integrated shade options like canopy covers or shade slats. Note that they are sometimes made from kits that a construction company assembles on your site. Be sure to look at one of these before you order – some look like they are made of white plastic, while others have embossed surfaces that resemble wood.

Cedar Pergolas - Mid-range to higher end, at about $8,000 - $20,000

Cedar is naturally resistant to decay and insects. These pergolas have a natural and elegant appearance. If this is your preferred option, a carpentry and deck contractor can sometimes add personalized design features and can handle the construction for you.

Redwood Pergolas – Mid-range to higher end, at about $10,000-$25,000

Redwood is a premium, naturally durable wood. Redwood pergolas have a distinctive rich color and excellent resistance to decay and pests. They, like cedar pergolas, are usually custom-built.

Custom-Made Pergolas that Integrate with Surrounding Architecture – High End, $25,000 +

A custom-built pergola allows you to design the structure to your exact specifications. You can choose premium materials that can be shared with a nearby or connected house. You can also opt for unique designs and integrated features like lighting, heating, or built-in seating. This option offers the highest level of personalization and quality. Some modern pergolas come with integrated technology, such as motorized louvers, LED lighting, heating, and automated sun or rain sensors. These high-tech features can significantly increase the cost.

It is also important to note that the actual cost of a pergola can vary depending on factors like size, location, and any additional features or accessories you choose. Custom options and professional installation will add to the overall cost. When selecting a pergola, consider not only the price but also the material's durability, maintenance requirements, and the aesthetic you desire for your outdoor space.

High-End Features that Add to the Enjoyment of Your Pergola

Outdoor kitchen with full amenities as part of a pergola project

If you use your vision, you will see that a variety of the following features can be added to even lower-cost pergolas. Let your imagination play over the following options!

  • LED strips can easily be installed in the pergola's beams or rafters to create ambient lighting for evening gatherings. Chandeliers are elegant fixtures too that can add a touch of luxury and illuminate your dining or seating areas. Recessed lights can be discreetly placed in the structure for a sleek and modern look.

Heating and Cooling
  • Built-in electric, propane or gas heaters provide warmth during cooler seasons, extending the usability of the pergola. Misting systems help cool the space on hot summer days, providing a more comfortable environment. And outdoor air conditioning systems are luxury features to consider. If they seem too energy-inefficient to you, consider using only overhead fans, which are both elegant and functional.

Retractable Canopies and Louvers
  • A motorized retractable canopy or louver system allows you to control the amount of shade and sunlight, adding a touch of luxury and comfort.

Integrated Sound Systems
  • Built-in speakers and audio systems can provide a high-quality audio experience for entertainment and relaxation.

Televisions and Home Theaters
  • They can be as basic as a flatscreen TV that you carry to your pergola for movie nights, or as deluxe as built-in big screens that are placed in front of outdoor couches and seating areas.

Outdoor Kitchens
  • A fully equipped outdoor kitchen with a grill, refrigerator, sink, and countertops can transform your pergola into a culinary haven.

Fireplaces or Fire Pits
  • A fireplace or fire pit can create a cozy ambiance and serve as a focal point for gatherings.

Fountains and Water Features
  • Incorporating water features like fountains, water walls, or a small pond can add a tranquil and luxurious touch to the space.

Hot Tubs and Spas
  • Pergolas can be the perfect places to install and shelter hot tubs. Bear in mind that installing a hot tub can be more expensive than you might expect. Of course, they require water supply pipes and electricity. But the most important thing to remember is that because they weigh a lot, pergolas must be built around most hot tubs, which should rest on the underlying ground. Installing one cannot be an afterthought.

Custom Furniture
  • Consider high-quality, comfortable, and stylish outdoor furniture, such as plush seating, dining sets, and loungers. A variety of luxurious furniture is available – as comfortable as indoor furniture, but made of water-resistant materials.

Outdoor Curtains or Drapes
  • Luxurious outdoor curtains or drapes can provide privacy, block sunlight, and add an elegant atmosphere.

Garden Elements
  • Consider adding climbing plants, trellises, or vertical gardens to create a lush and serene environment.

Smart Home Integration
  • You can connect your pergola to a home automation system to control lighting, audio, and shade remotely via your smartphone or voice commands.

Installation Next to Pools
  • With some imagination and possibly help from a knowledgeable designer, your poolside pergola can perform multiple functions. It can be a changing area, a sunning area, or even a place to shower before and after swimming.

In Summary . . .

Remember that the choice of materials, colors, and overall design will also contribute to the luxury of your pergola. Luxury features can significantly increase the cost, but they can create a beautiful and inviting outdoor retreat perfect for entertaining, relaxation, and enjoying the beauty of your surroundings.

Be sure to visit Privlux, the leading provider of high-quality pergolas. While you are visiting, be sure to fill out the online form and get a free quote on the pergola you have always wanted.

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