Pergolas are a great way to enjoy your summer (or spring and fall if you live in Texas), and we build some amazing ones at that. There are various design options for pergolas, but when it comes to materials, three main options need consideration. So, let’s get into this and make sure you pick what is right for you.

Materials – you are really looking at wood (pine or cedar) or metal; rarely are pergolas made with anything other than these. Cedar is obviously the preferred choice when it comes to style and design, and it is also resistant to bugs and generally lasts quite some time. Pine requires more upkeep but is very inexpensive upfront, making it a great choice if you are on a budget. You can always go with a combination of the two, for example, cedar beams and pine for everything else, and still get some very beautiful results. Metal will outlast anything and is the sturdiest of all the materials, but it is also the most expensive. If you have the budget for it, definitely go with this option. Prices for the different materials will vary based on design and size, but you can expect pine to be the cheapest, cedar will cost about 2-4 times more than pine, and metal will cost about 5-10 times more than pine.

Design – I am not going to spend too much time on this subject as this could be an entire article all on its own, but just know that there are traditional designs and modern designs, all of which warrant a look on your part because each one has aspects that you may or may not like, but they are all beautiful in their own way.

Roof – Traditionally, pergolas have slats for a roof; over the years, solid roofs have been incorporated into the build, making pergolas more useful during the rainy season (all 5 days of it in Texas). The type of roof on a pergola can vary, but we recommend steel since it gives the pergola a more modern look. You have the option to go all out with the proper structure, using OSB boards, Tyvek sheets, and the metal roof, or you can opt for a simpler approach with plywood and a metal roof. We recommend the former as it helps regulate temperatures and provides better protection from the rain when done correctly. When it comes to attaching to your home or not, well, that is completely up to you. Just make sure the contractor knows what they are doing to ensure proper insulation and leak prevention, not to mention damage to your home.

Posts – Installing the posts directly into the ground and encasing them in cement or building a cement pillar and mounting the post on top of it, both options are good. One is obviously more expensive than the other since it does require more work, but structurally, if everything else is done correctly, both options will work great.

Cement or Wooden Deck – If you want cement, make sure the contractor you hire knows how to pour the slab correctly and make sure they are insured! If you go with a wooden deck, make sure the contractor knows what they are doing and make sure they are insured! Sometimes, the contractor for the pergola will be perfect for building the wooden deck, and they might know how to do cement as well, or at least know someone whom they trust to do the cement. Either way, when it comes to major projects like cement, listen to the recommendations of the pros that you hired, but ALWAYS do your homework!

What now? – You have all this information; some of it is helpful, and some of it will make you go do more homework. But the biggest thing you need to remember is this: when planning a pergola, you must have fun! This is something you will use to entertain guests, spend time outside with your family and friends, and enjoy on weekend BBQs. The entire experience should be enjoyable, from conception to execution, so make sure you find the right people. Those who have the skills to execute your dreams, and those who vibe with you on the right level because those who understand you are more likely to take steps to ensure you enjoy your pergola for years to come—whether it's helping out with some string lights or coming up with design ideas that you might have never even thought about. So good luck and have a blast!"

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