It’s fair to say that a pergola is the most elegant way to shade your backyard. Sure, there are attractive cantilever umbrellas and ultra-practical pop-up canopy tents for distanced social gatherings. But a pergola adds English-country-house vibes, beckoning you to spend long and lazy afternoons underneath relaxing with a book in hand drinking iced tea or lemonade. Whether you’re looking for traditional pergola or want something sleek and modern, there are plenty of options on the market to suit all tastes.
What to Consider
Pergolas generally come in three materials—wood, metal, or vinyl—and there are pros and cons of each. Wood often requires the most maintenance, as it needs to be varnished or painted to weatherproof and prevent rotting. Metal pergolas hold up well to the elements and can be powder-coated in everything from matte black to a finish that resembles real wood. Vinyl pergolas are the easiest to maintain, often with traditional details that give them a whitewashed look. Most pergolas are freestanding though some are built to be attached to the side of a house. Not all come with shade canopies; they’re sold separately or you can make your own. Also, most pergolas are typically between 7 to 8 feet high.
How We Chose
Our selection includes pergolas in a variety of sizes and styles, all rated with an average four stars or more. We looked at countless options and combed through customer reviews, taking into account quality of materials and ease of setup, among other considerations. There aren’t many features to compare across the board—most come with mounting hardware. We also included options in a range of price points, from value to high-end.
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Our Value Pick
It’s no secret that pergolas don’t come cheap, but this top-rated pick, priced at under $500 at the time of this writing, is a steal. The frame, constructed from rust-resistant powder-coated aluminum, weighs more than 75 pounds and comes with anchoring hardware. The angled, notched edges on the roof’s joists are a nice decorative touch.
The Roman shade-style canopy covering it is made from a woven weather-resistant propylene fabric, available in the neutral beige tone shown in addition to mocha and burnt orange terra cotta. The pergola offers 100 square feet of shade and stands at roughly 7 feet high.
The Vinyl Pergola
Lovely decorative details and a gleaming white finish make this pergola a standout. One of its best features is the roof’s louver system, which allows you to adjust between shade or sun. The pergola has an elegant, traditional look, with stately post caps and eye-catching moulding.
It stands more than 7 feet high, made from durable, weather-resistant BPA-free vinyl, and offers 100 square feet of shade when the louvers are closed. It’s also incredibly sturdy, weighing about 380 pounds.
The Wood Pergola
Yardcraft Solid Wood Pergola
This handsome solid wood pergola has graceful arched joists supported by four substantial posts with feet at the base to hide anchoring hardware. Also, all intersecting pieces lock together for additional strength.
Made from knotty yellow pine, the high-quality pergola is an elegant addition to any space and can provide 120 square feet of shade if a cover is added to the top. Its posts are laminated, but the rest is constructed of unfinished wood, so you may wish to varnish or paint it for better weather resistance.
The Corner Pergola
Alcove Vinyl Pergola
If you’re looking to add a pergola to your pool patio or roof deck, this is an excellent choice to make the most of your outdoor space. Create a side seating area for lounge chairs and your smokeless fire pit, which leaves plenty of room for a dining table and other furniture. The pergola is made from durable, all-weather vinyl in stark white, and it can be cemented to the ground or attached to a deck.
The Modern Pergola
Soft Backyard Steel Pergola
It isn’t easy to find a sleek, modern pergola, as the majority are either contemporary or traditional. With clean lines and a striking contrast between the frame and canopy, this pergola fits the bill for anyone who prefers minimalist design.
The rust-resistant steel frame is about 12 feet wide and does a stellar job defining a space, thanks to more than 10 bars in back spaced close together. The canopy is adjustable and slides across the top for shade from the afternoon sun, plus it’s made from a woven polyethylene fabric that’s easy to wipe clean.
The Attached Pergola
Elysium Vinyl Pergola
This is a great option for anyone with a narrow backyard—plus it elevates the overall look of your property, giving the appearance of added square footage to your home.
Like one of the durable, BPA-free vinyl models above made by New England Arbors, the panels on top are adjustable for shading the area below or letting sunlight stream in. It also has a similar design, with traditional decorative moulding and post caps.
All the anchoring hardware is included, and the pergola is said to withstand winds of up to 155 miles per hour if mounted.
Great for Large Spaces
Verona Aluminum Pergola
Customers rave about this expansive pergola, giving it an average 4.8 stars. It’s built to withstand the elements for year-round use, with a hefty, powder-coated aluminum frame with a wood-like finish. The cocoa polyester Roman shade-style canopy is water-resistant and slides across the top to let in light or shield outdoor furniture from rain. The pergola comes with ground stakes and bolts to anchor it to a cement patio, wood deck, grassy backyard.
Great for Small Spaces
Walsall Vinyl Pergola
If you only have a patch of outdoor space, this charming square pergola is perfect for a small seating nook in the garden—with plenty of room for two armchairs, a side table, and a small rug.
Made from easy-to-maintain vinyl, it’s more contemporary than some other white pergolas we cover, with simple, classic lines and fewer decorative details finishing off the interlocking joists. The pergola stands at nearly 8 feet high, and customers give it an average of 4.8 stars.
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