Best pergolas and buyers guide 2021

Bring your life outside with a new pergola. We look at some of the best pergolas in each style and what you should look out for when buying one.
Large wooden pergola design

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A pergolaor gazebo can be the perfect addition to a garden both for practical and visual reasons. They can complement and elevate an area, creating an outdoors space to get out of the rain or the sun.

The UK is following Mediterranean culture in treating the garden like another room in the house instead of a chore. As a garden designer pergolas are a godsend for this purpose.

They create the private, intimate environment which we all value in our gardens. 

So how do we choose the right pergola and what factors should we consider? This article looks at the main points that should be considered when choosing a pergola.

We think pergola kits are a great way to get something amazing without the cost of professional installation. They cut out much of the need for expensive tools and are usually fast and easy to assemble.

If you would prefer to take the total DIY approach we have put together a guide to building a freestanding pergola front scratch.

Best pergola kits

1. Palram year round gazebo

  • 4.5 x 4.5m
  • Premium features
  • High quality build

A truly premium pergola with UV protection and solid roof to keep the rain out. With temperature regulation, welded joints and highly durable materials this is our top pick for durability and practicality.


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2. Sculpted Wooden Garden Pergola Kit

  • 2.4 x 2.4m
  • Solid build
  • Easy to construct

This minimal pergola kit is great value, easy to construct and has quick delivery. For those that like a classic look and something which wont take up too much room or break the bank its a solid choice.


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3. Metal sun shade gazebo

  • 2.8 x 3m
  • Retractable canopy
  • Privacy screen

With a built in privacy screen this pergola can be used to separate and elevate an area of the garden. Great for both sun and shade and ideal for BBQs and social gathering.  


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4. Rowlinson Canopy, grey finish

  • 3 x 3m
  • Retractable canopy
  • Aluminium construction

A stylish cotemporary pergola with a retractable canopy. Create a perfect outdoor dining space with with no maintenance aluminium framed pergola. We love this one for its simplicity and style. 


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Pergola buyers guide

Before buying a pergola it’s a good idea to consider its use and propose from as many points of view as possible. What do you want to use it for? How many people will need to comfortably fit under it? Will you want to use it in both good and bad weather? 

Here are the main points we consider when planning the type, size and position of a pergola

Size and position

A pergola should compliment a garden and fit well into its surroundings, it should be chosen well for its purpose, if you are likely not to use it that often it may be better to opt for a smaller structure so you have more garden when the sun shines. 

The position of your pergola goes hand in hand with its size, if you are using it to create shade you probably don’t want it to occupy the most sunny spot in the garden.

I give the same advice to everyone when they are adding features to the garden; plan the garden as a single space not a collection of parts. 

This rule helps you to make the right trade-offs when choosing between features and free space or what style you should go for. 

Design 

There is a huge range of choice when it comes to pergolas, making the right design choice depends on taste, practical use and the environment. 

What is it for? 

Do you want to house a hot tub? Maybe you need something with sides to keep the wind out

An outdoor kitchen? Safety and ease of access will be high priorities

Drinking tea on warm summer afternoons? Maybe you want some privacy trellises and planters for the summer bloom

Gathering round a fire pit with some wine in the evenings? Consider a retractable roof and built in seating

Decorative options

A pergola is both a practical structure and a feature, there is so much you can do with both custom built and pre-built pergola design. Check out plenty of designs and narrow down your choices to the ones which fit the best.

Durability

Anything can look good for 6 months, but will it still be looking great and standing strong in 5 or 10 years.

The answer for most cheap wooden pergolas is no. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing though, many people like to change the garden from time to time so a temporary structure can be ideal. 

If you are aiming for durability go for decent wood

Make sure its pressure treated and rated for long life. Wood always needed to be treated when used outdoors but all treatments are not equal. 

Dip treated wood can look great but will usually need to be retreated around every 2 years. Pressure treated wood can  last up to 15 years before showing any sign of ageing.

If you want to be rid of the task of treating and cleaning wood then there are loads of options for man made materials. PVC, metal and composite pergolas are becoming very common and most are basically weather proof and never need treating or cleaning. 

Ease of construction

Finally, it’s time to consider how it will turn from idea into reality.

If you are planning on doing it yourself this can save a lot of money but you will need a good range of tools and the time to learn how it’s done.

Make sure to think through the design carefully and use the correct materials to get it right.

Alternatively you can hire a professional who has learned the lessons and will most likely be 5 times the speed. The added benefit with using professionals is that they will know a load about styles, designs and durability.

Their expertise can help you make the right choices and avoid the pitfalls of first time DIY pergolas. 

Want to keep the cost down and avoid the steep learning curve of pure DIY? Pergola kits are the way to go.

They come perfectly measured with everything you need and an installation manual. This reduced the amount of tools needed and means you aren’t going to make any drastic mistakes because most of the precise work has been done for you. 

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