Choosing the Best Pergola for Your Backyard

A pergola is a stunning addition to any outdoor space. Known for both style and practicality, there are endless ways to incorporate a pergola into your backyard. 

Whether you’re looking to create a space to relax or entertain, want a centerpiece for al fresco dining, looking for a poolside paradise or wanting to give your garden that finishing touch, pergolas are great structures that will bring your space together in an elegant and stylish way.

If you’ve begun the shopping process and are feeling overwhelmed, don’t worry, we’re here to help. It’s natural to have questions, as pergolas come in various sizes, styles, materials, and colors. Below are a few things to consider when choosing the best pergola for your backyard.


Do You Want Shade?

Let’s start with what a pergola is. A pergola is a free-standing, open-roof structure, often made of wood or metal, and connected at the top by beams to form a horizontal lattice.

Though pergola roofs are open and designed to let in sunlight, there are a few options if you’re seeking a shady retreat:

  • A soft-shade canopy: There are select pergolas that come with an option to add a soft shade canopy over the beams. This canopy provides the shade you’re looking for and is a great option because you don’t sacrifice the aesthetic. However, the canopy is not designed to block rain, so keep that in mind if you decide to go that route.

  • A louvered pergola: If you’re looking for shade and protection from rain, a louvered pergola is the ideal choice. Louvered pergolas are designed similarly to traditional pergolas with one key difference. Instead of fixed beams on an open roof, the roof consists of louvers that can be opened fully to let in sunlight, or offer shade and protection from rain when fully closed. Normally these louvers can be opened or closed with just a few turns of a louver wand. To avoid water settling on top of the closed louvers, these innovative, high-end pergolas come with an integrated drainage system that allows water to flow into downspouts in the posts.


What Material Do You Prefer?

Perhaps the most important aspect of choosing the right pergola for you is the material from which it’s made. Pergolas are designed to be incredibly strong and durable structures, but making sure you have the right material goes a long way toward enjoying it season after season.

There are two main materials we recommend if you’re looking to add a pergola:

Galvanized steel: If you’re looking for a metal pergola, we recommend steel, and in particular, galvanized steel. Steel is up to 200 percent stronger than other metals such as aluminum, and choosing a steel pergola will ensure durability.

But there’s more to a steel pergola than just strength. Powder-coated steel pergolas are also virtually maintenance-free. They’re rust-resistant and easy to clean, and you don’t have to do yearly maintenance such as sealing or painting. If you’re seeking a louvered pergola, you’ll likely find one in steel, as it’s one of the best materials for resisting water damage.

Steel pergolas are also stylish. They’re modern-looking and offer a contemporary aesthetic for your outdoor space.

Cedar: If you prefer wood for your pergola, there’s no material better than cedar. Cedar is among the most durable woods, ensuring your pergola will be stable and last for years to come.

Cedar also blends well with its surroundings. Many choose cedar for their pergolas because of the rustic charm and the way in which it fits naturally with the outdoors around it. If you have a particular aesthetic and want a certain color, you can always stain your pergola to match.

Unlike some woods, cedar is also naturally rot-resistant. Minimal annual maintenance such as applying sealant to the wood will keep it looking new as the years go by.


What Size Should I Get?

The beauty of pergolas is they come in many different sizes. If you have a quaint backyard or small patio and are looking for something that may fit, you can find a traditional pergola as small as 10’ x 10’. Anchor your pergola to the patio, set it up in your garden, or turn that small stretch of yard into a relaxing haven.

If you have more space to play with, a larger pergola may be exactly what you need. You can find pergolas as big as 20 feet by 12 feet, turning your outdoor space into a multi-functional outdoor oasis. 


What About Assembly?

Once you have your pergola style, size, and material picked out, the final step for you may be finding one that can easily be assembled and anchored. 

There are two main ways pergolas can be built and assembled:

  • A do-it-yourself ready-to-assemble kit: If you’re handy with a screwdriver and want to put it together yourself, consider a ready-to-assemble kit. These kits come with pre-cut parts and pre-drilled holes, as well as easy-to-follow instructions. With a ready-to-assemble kit, you can have your pergola assembled in just a few hours using only basic tools from your garage.

  • Professional assembly: If you don’t have the skills or just don’t want to attempt self-assembly, you can always hire a professional service. Once your pergola kit is delivered, you can schedule assembly professionals to come put it together for you. This option does come with an additional cost, but you get the peace-of-mind of knowing you don’t have to do it, and that it’ll be assembled correctly.


Choose From One Of Backyard Discovery’s Dozens Of High-Quality Pergolas

If you’re looking for a pergola that is high quality and built to last, consider one from Backyard Discovery.

Backyard Discovery’s line of pergolas include traditional open-roof structures, as well as select models with soft shade canopies and a new collection of louvered options. These include stylish steel in both black and white, as well as a plethora of shaded cedar options.

The durability of these pergolas is second-to-none. All are PRO-TECT™ Tested and Proven to withstand up to 100 mph winds and heavy loads, and are backed by an industry-leading five-year limited warranty. The strength and durability of the cedar pergolas lie in the way they’re made. With posts that are up to 50% wider than competitors, larger beams for structural support and four anchors for each post, you can be sure your pergola isn’t going anywhere.

And the best part: all of Backyard Discovery’s pergolas come in ready-to-assemble kits with supported assembly via the BILT® app.!

Contact Backyard Discovery or browse the pergola section of the website to start your shopping journey, and get one step closer to the backyard makeover of your dreams.


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