Can my deck support a pergola?

Pergola is a structure built to provide shades. The built-up is supported by four vertical posts. Post bases are used to affix pergola to the deck, which hold weight to the entire structure. Precautions have to be undertaken if a pergola is attached to the house, for, e.g. a water-weight connection.  

Size of Pergola

The sizes of the overhead vary, and the lowest boards are the heaviest. Building a pergola is subject to building codes. The structure is built to withstand substantial items, namely snowflakes, which can develop up to 4 inches or more. The snow piling on the pergola is similarly heavy as the pile-up on the roof of the house. Many local building authorities mandated that a minimum of 20 per square feet of live load for the structure to support.

Pergola Installation

Installation of the pergola on the deck sets it up higher and makes the structure vulnerable to the wind’s movement. The pergola’s reliable and robust attachment over a patio is necessary to withstand unpredictable weather, for, e.g. high wind condition. A similar technique as attaching the rail post is used to tighten the pergola beam to the deck’s frame. Most deck builders will bolt pergola support to the deck’s frame using (2) ½” X 6 lag screws with washers per post.  

The heavy top of the pergola would not sway in the wind with the lateral bracing in place, which forces the pergola to act as a sail. Attaching the sections of rail between posts will strengthen the pergola. Installation of braces between the posts and headers would increase the stability of the structure.

The structure is vulnerable to termite infestation when attaching to the deck, according to Sean from Decking Central Coast. The use of insect-repellant wood, namely pressure-treated wood, is ideal for a durable design. No roof should be added to ensure the stability of the pergola attaching to the deck.

These features are to be considered when a decision is made to install a pergola over a deck. The building codes dictate that putting up decking is permitted development and no planning permission is required provided that:-

  • The decking is no more than 30 cm above the ground
  • The decking or platform covers no more than 50% of the garden area
  • None of the decking or medium is on land forward of a wall forming the principal elevation.

In certain areas, additional limitations apply:

  • In the case of any land within the curtilage of the house which is within (a) World Heritage Site, (b) National Park, (c) an area of outstanding natural beauty or (d) the Broads (Listed buildings/properties), development is not permitted if the total size of ground covered by buildings, enclosures, pools and containers situated more than 20 metres from any wall of the house to be greater than 10 square metres, planning permission is required.

Any development at the sides of the Listed buildings/properties requires planning permission. Any outbuildings within the curtilage of listed buildings/properties will require planning permission.

Are Pergolas worth it?

Pergola is an exterior structure that offers sun protection in your backyard. It beautifies the landscape and provides an entertainment sanctuary for outdoor activities but is it worth installing/owning the system?

Let’s make a comparison.


  1. Pergola is inexpensive in comparison to Gazebo and Pavilion. The budget for the installation of Pergola depends on the design, material and labour cost. You may appoint a local landscape professional to design and custom build it, or you may purchase a kit from any well-known manufacturers or stores.

The average price for installation of Pergola based on material is as follows:

Material Type Price (US$)

Pressure Treated Wood 3,200 – 30,600

Red Cedar 4,300 – 35,500

Vinyl 5,700 – 44,000

*Note:  For elaborate structure would require a permit, and the cost differs.  

Following Pergola Newcastle advice, other considerations to add to the budget are the height, size of beams and another concrete roof. Labour cost varies by state or region. The national average price for 10 x 10 sq ft or 10 x 12 sq ft pergola is US$3,600. The typical type of pergola range from US$1,970 to US$5,200 and high-end of US$900 under a professional digital marketplace that connects homeowner and local professional for home improvement.

The average price for installation of a Gazebo based on material is as follows:

Material Type Price (US$)

Pressure Treated Wood 3,200 – 30,600

Red Cedar 4,300 – 35,500

Vinyl 5,700 – 44,000

For installation of Pavilion would price between US$19,200 for pressure treated wood – US$27,300 for steel type of material. 

For budget-friendly Pergola and DIY enthusiasts, the average cost is approximately US$3,500. The Pergola from a Kit for 10 X 10 sq ft cost about US$400 – US800, which includes a retractable cover. Cedar material type would cost approximately US$1,200 for a similar size.  

A basic garden pergola measuring 8 X 16 sq ft of Pressure-treated wood would cost US$570 excluding tax, delivery and other miscellaneous charges. Additionally, installing the Pergola requires hole digging for the post holes. Gas rental for the digging is needed, plus an application for a building permit before the DIY commencement.

Pergola is usually made of several types of durable wood beside vinyl and fibreglass. For material made of Ipe, which can withstand the weather for built-up on the coast, repel insects and termites for the cedar type of material whilst pressure-treated wood is known for its durability insect-repellant.

  1. It creates an outdoor living space for entertainment and hospitality. It also encourages flora and fauna and offers tranquillity and an oasis in the backyard. The trailing and growing plants around the beams create a romantic environment. An extension of the living space and provides a cozy spot for relaxation.   


Owning a pergola requires maintenance. The maintenance depends on the type of material of the structure, for, e.g. constant review of the system for signs of mildew when living in the coastal area where the air is moist. The mildew will destroy the structure is ignored. Wood needs regular re-paint or scrub off for any splinter to avoid injury. 

Also, the wood may change its natural colour. Preservation of the wood by regular application of wood stain and sealant is necessary. Additionally, the trailing plants surrounding the beams need to be trimmed regularly.  

It’s not uncommon for termite infestation for wood structures, albeit cedar and pressure-treated wood are known for their feature as insect-repellent. Regular treatment is necessary to prevent such infestation.


The option of material for Pergola must take into considerations the maintenance cost. Overall, it is worth installing a pergola as it creates a unique personality to the landscape—a place to unwind and entertainment and complement the outdoor living space. Since ancient Rome and Egypt, it has been depicted in the Nile Mosaic Palestrina, Italy. The form survives and is prevalent till today.  

Is it Cheaper to Buy or Build a Pergola?

There is space available in the backyard. Also, there is a surge in the trend to own a pergola as part of outdoor living in home improvement. You think that a pergola would be an ideal spot for you to enjoy with your family and friends during the weekend. It will complement the outdoor landscape and the best hub for relaxation, creativity, meditation and family outdoor activities with the children.  

There are many features to consider before any decision is made to either buy or build the pergola. Some homeowners prefer to buy the prefabricated kit from online retailers or stores. Others prefer to hire a professional builder to custom-made the structure.

So, what is the best option?

Simplicity vs Customization


The prefabricated kit offers a simple structure that professional engineers have designed. The materials and gadgets of the construction would be professionally packed for delivery. It would be simple for you to assemble by following instructions during the assembly and ready for use in a lesser time.

Another consideration that may add to the cost of buying the pergola is digging the post holes. It would require four-by-four posts for the holes to support the structure. The drilling would require renting a gas-powered gadget. A complete tool or ladder is also required. Without experience or skill, the task could be daunting and risky. Minor accidents may happen. 

The most crucial consideration is regulatory compliant. You must ensure that regulations are adhered to to avoid any penalty to be imposed by the authority. In some cases, a building permit has to be applied by the local authority.

The price of 10 X 10 sq ft made of aluminium ranges from US$400 to US$800. The weight of the structure would increase the cost of the pergola. The design made of wood with similar measurement would cost a minimum of US$1,200. The price is exclusive of shipping or delivery charges. It may increase following the weight of the material.

The prefabricated kit may not be able to provide the desired design and styles or customization. You may want to add the lighting, sunshades and other features to the finished structure, which may often incur additional time and money.


Hiring an experienced and reputable contractor or builder will ensure the quality of the finished product. You can ensure that the finished structure is solid, aligned and healthy.

You can create the desired design that suits your lifestyle and budget. Planning is time-consuming, and hiring a professional would lessen the headache. Imagine that you do not have to plan the location, technical aspects of the structure, obstacle of finding the right material, permits etc., as the skilled contractor undertakes the job.  

Most importantly, the finished work would be by the local building codes. You would be able to showcase the finished structure to your friends and neighbours and increase your home’s value.

Is it Cheaper to Buy or Build a Pergola?


It is more cost-effective to hire a professional due to the skill and technical know-how. The expert would be able to handle any untoward incident if it arises. The contractor would have easy access to the necessary tools for the job and the expertise to safely use the tools. The injury could be avoided because of their expertise.  

Overall, your choice is either to buy or build depending on your lifestyle, budget and preference.

What is the point of having Pergola?

Are you looking for ideas of entertainment or relaxation in your backyard? Need another space to enjoy the outdoors during the summer? Considering to enhance the deck or patio installed? A solution or answer to these questions is to add a Pergola!

Why Pergola?

It is a simple rectangle structure with fixed dimensions. It may look like an incomplete structure with horizontal and vertical beams without any concrete roof or walls, but it is perfect for turning your backyard into an outdoor living space. Here are the reasons for having a Pergola:

  1. It is the outdoor sanctuary for your family and friends/guests. You can create an entertainment lounge for your family or guest/s. There are many activities for your family under the Pergola. It is either dining in style or relaxing while sipping your wine bottle and even barbeque (BBQ) during the weekend. It is the place to extend your hospitality other than your living room. It offers shades and attractive spots for activities and cookouts. 
  2. A pergola can be a place to display your flowers and plants. It is appropriate for plants that grow upwards and create a beautiful natural ceiling as they intertwine themselves, producing a romantic feel. Additional accessories or creativity would bring personality to space by adding hanging plants and lights or curtains/linen fabric. The plants or flowers will attract butterflies and birds. The sound of chirping birds with beautiful butterflies flying around would make you feel cozy while relaxing during the warm summer afternoon.
  3. A pergola can be the place to enjoy the summer sun without worrying about sunburn. There are options for retractable canopy or drapes or even screens for protection against any unpredictable weather, e.g. light rain. It offers protection against direct sunlight or unpredictable weather when entertaining or relaxing under the Pergola. It will increase the amount of time you spend outdoors.  
  4. Having a pergola can add value to your home if you decide to sell your house. It adds beauty, stylish touch and additional landscape to your backyard. It is also an alternative if you do not install a deck or patio. These are different merits that are attractive to the potential buyer.

Is Pergola affordable?  

It depends on your budget. There are multiple types and design materials available, namely wood, Vinyl, and Fiberglass.  

The least expensive option is Pressure-treated wood. It is best to be painted or stained, treated with preservatives to withstand outdoor use. The preservation is necessary as the wood can warp or crack during its lifespan.

For the Pergola, which requires less maintenance, Vinyl would be the best choice as it would not require annual paint or stain, unlike the wooden Pergola. On the flip side, it has a limited colour option if you decide to paint it.

The most expensive type is Fiberglass, but it has many advantages. It has a longer lifespan, lower maintenance, more robust and can act as an addition to an existing patio or deck. Fibreglass doesn’t require annual paint or stain or any deep footer, unlike its other counterpart.

Another type would be Western red cedar wood which is a popular choice. It is more expensive than Pressure-treated timber, but it has a longer lifespan and looks more beautiful.

What is the point of having Pergola?

Installation of a Pergola

It is flexible, depending on your budget and choice. You may appoint a local landscape professional to design and custom build it, or you may purchase a kit from many well-known manufacturers. If you love DIY projects, the installation of Pergola would be a perfect project for you.  

Having a pergola is worth the investment. It is less expensive than the installation of a gazebo or pavilion. It adds value to your property, and the most benefit is the spot for entertainment for the family and friends/guests.