Best Garden Pergola – 2024 Buyers Guide

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Looking to add a practical feature to your garden? A garden pergola is definitely going to be the best option for you! Their main purpose is to provide you with a space outdoors which is protected from both the sun and the rain – perfect for if you like eating outdoors or have children that want to play outside over the summer. Not only are they useful, but they also make a beautiful feature in your garden with some made from wood or metal and both modern or more traditional designs.

There is a huge host of garden pergolas to choose from to suit you and your garden – with sizes and build materials that are as varied as the pergolas themselves.

We have looked through all the best models and combined the features that really stood out to us!

Looking for some inspiration on how to use a pergola in your outdoor space. Check out this video with some great ideas!

Best Pick – Parcel in the Attic Garden Pergola

Garden Arbour Seat Pergola Trellis Wood Arch Bench Corner Storage Patio Furniture - 10 year warranty against rot (Marbella Arbour)
  • Marbella Arbour with Table and Seat Dining set
  • Dim.: 2.16m x 1.78m x 2.36m (W x D x H)
  • Supplied Flat-Pack for Home Assembly
  • High Quality Thick Solid Wood - Pressure treated (unfinished)
  • 10 years guarantee against rot - FSC certified solid wood

Last update on 2024-02-29 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

In a Hurry?

If those summer months are upon you then look no further – all the most essential information that you need to get buying. We have even included some of the best garden pergolas we have found to make your shopping even easier! 

Style/Build 

The first thing that you need to consider is the style of garden pergola that you are looking for and a large part of that depends on where in the garden you are wanting to erect your new feature. 

Is your garden pergola going to be a standalone structure in your garden or is it going to be attached to the side of a shed or even your property? This is obviously going to affect the build of your pergola (whether you need 4 legs or 2 and whether you need it to be able to secure to another wall). Lean-to pergolas are generally going to be a cheaper option as they require less materials and structures to stay upright, as they are using part of your property to achieve this stability. You also have the added weather protection as at least one side is going to be covered. However, free standing pergolas allow you to have that sun protection anywhere in your garden and are arguably better for creating a feature somewhere different in the garden. Once you have decided on this you can start looking at the style that you want to go for…

A sloping roof is going to be better for ensuring that rainwater runs off the top of your pergola safely and in the direction you want it to, however if your pergola is going to be more of an attractive feature than a practical addition to your garden then you may choose to opt for one with a slatted roof, so you need to worry less about a build up of water. As much as these may seem less practical, if you are wanting your pergola to be taken over by climbing plants in the summer months then a slatted roof will be a better option to allow the climbing plants plenty of chance to grow successfully. 

Build Material

More often than not, you will find that pergolas are made out of wood but there are actually a wide range of materials that are used. We found pergolas made from wrought iron, aluminium and even plastic. 

Opting for wood is going to be a relatively cost effective option and you will find that your pergola should last for upwards of 15 years. They also add to that natural look of the garden so won’t stand out more than you want them to, however you need to be prepared to treat them regularly with a stain treatment to protect them from damp and rot. This can be rather difficult if you are growing climbing plants up your pergola but is vitally important if you want the structure to last. 

Metal options, such as wrought iron or aluminium, are going to be much more likely to withstand the weather conditions for many years and you should find that they can last as long as you want them to! Wrought iron will still need some treatment and protection from rust but not as regularly as wood options. You do tend to find that these are the most expensive options though, but this is arguably more cost effective for the weather resistance and durability you are getting. 

Your final option would be plastic, which is by far the cheapest of materials for a pergola so if you are working to a budget then they are the way to go. However, you do tend to find that they won’t last as long as the other models. They are easy to look after with very little maintenance needed (particularly if you buy one that is UV protected to avoid discolouration from the sun). However, they are just not built to last for the long haul so this is worth considering.

Pergola Roof 

There are many different options for the material and style of pergola roof that you go for. This all depends on exactly what you are wanting to use your pergola for and the level of protection that you need it to offer. A traditional pergola roof is going to have cross beams but this is changing to make them more practical. Your options include: 

  • Wood – Wooden roofs are going to be most in-keeping with the natural look of the garden. It will offer good protection from the sun however you must be prepared to protect it as well, which is going to take some work on your part! 
  • Roof tiles – Roof tiles will give your garden pergola a real homely feel, they are going to offer superb protection as they are completely watertight and can also increase the life of your pergola overall. However they are expensive and do take quite a bit of work to fit in the first place so you need to be prepared for this (or have someone to do it for you). 
  • Glas/plexiglass – Glass and plexiglass are going to be strong materials that will be watertight whilst still allowing light to enter. It also offers a very modern look for your pergola. The only issue is that it is going to provide little support in terms of shade – in fact it can actually increase the sun’s power underneath your pergola through the middle of the day. 
  • Fabric – There are various different types of fabric that you can go for – from cotton or polyester, to acrylic. The benefit of fabric is that it is considerably lighter and cheaper. Plus you are going to have that real summer holiday feel! If you think a fabric option is best for you then we would always recommend opting for a one with good waterproof qualities plus that is detachable for the winter months. You do need to bear in mind that they don’t often cover the full roof so although they are going to offer some shade they will be unable to protect fully from rain showers. 

Size 

The size of your pergola really depends on the area that you are wanting it to cover and the space that you have available in your garden. They range from smaller models around 3 meters in length and width, up to huge garden features around 8 metres long! They shapes and sizes vary massively so this is something to check for when shopping. 

We would recommend leaving a space of around half a metre (at least) from the edges of your garden, bushes or tree-line. This not only gives you the room to treat and maintain all sides of your pergola but also helps to avoid excessive debris and leaf-fall sitting on your pergola. 

TOP TIP: If you have already planned what furniture you want for under your pergola then consider the size of this and try to add another metre around the outside. This will allow for protection even as the sun travels round the garden. 

Best Budget – Sculpted Wooden Garden Pergola Kit

Wooden pergola kit - Sculpted design rafters (3m x 3.6m 4 posts, Light Green (Natural))
  • Elevate Your Outdoor Space: Our wooden pergola kit is the perfect way to transform your garden into an inviting oasis. With its stylish and sophisticated design, our pergola will add charm and character to your outdoor space. Whether you want to create a cozy nook for reading or a stunning focal point for entertaining, our pergola kit has got you covered.
  • Quick and Easy Assembly: Our DIY pergola kit is designed for hassle-free installation. With clear and simple instructions included, you can have your pergola up and ready to use in no time. No need to hire a professional or spend hours puzzling over complicated instructions. With our kit, anyone can create a beautiful and functional outdoor living space.
  • Durable and Long-Lasting: Our high-quality wooden materials ensure that your pergola will stand the test of time. Made with the finest wood and expert craftsmanship, our pergola kit is built to last. With minimal maintenance required, you can enjoy the beauty and durability of natural wood for years to come.
  • Our wooden pergola kit is the perfect addition to any garden or patio, providing a functional and elegant space for relaxation and entertainment. With its easy installation process, high-quality materials, and customizable design, our kit is a smart investment for anyone looking to enhance their outdoor living space.

Last update on 2024-02-29 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

The Best Garden Pergola Features 

Although many garden pergolas will be similar – there are some features that are going to make your garden pergola stand out from the rest. Here are some of the best features that we found…so if you are wanting a garden pergola that is the envy of all your neighbours then read on…

  • Removable sides – Some of the more modern garden pergolas actually have sides that can be removed! The uses for this is just incredible….if there is a rain shower then you could put up a couple of sides to block this out, equally if you are wanting more shade from the sun at different times of day then removable sides can do that whilst still allowing you to have plenty of access to the outside world! 
  • Fixings and bases – You also need to think about the ways to secure your garden pergola to the ground. Some are going to come with fastenings and weighted bases that you can use on all surfaces, whereas others are going to need you to buy this as an extra which is going to impact on your initial cost. Make sure to check the fastenings are compatible for the patio or grass that you are building on. 
  • Bioclimatic pergolas – These are the best of all garden pergolas, as they can be adjusted to whatever weather conditions you are dealing with and depending on what you are actually wanting. They have adjustable louvers that will provide shade from the sides or roof of the pergola depending on the position of the sun and wind. But then can also be lifted if you are wanting to bask in the sun. The perfect solution for if you are wanting to lounge under your pergola all day long! 
  • Lighting – You will find that some garden pergolas come with lighting already fitted, which will really add to the look of the pergola but also makes it much more practical to use in the evenings. We found this especially helpful as it means wiring and unattractive casings are fitted into the pergola already – so all you need to do is make sure you can run the electricity to it (but even this can be avoided if you go for solar powered options). 
  • Heating – Pergolas with heating solutions are rarer to find but there are some on the market, so if you are wanting to use your pergola throughout the year, or on those colder summer evenings then this may be an option for you. Look out for models that offer it as an add on feature – although this means an extra cost, it will be cheaper in the long run and allows you to remove the heaters through particularly bad weather so they don’t become damaged. 
  • Climbing plants – It is becoming rarer that people actually want to grow climbing plants up their pergola (probably due to the difficulty you then have maintaining the material). However, if you are wanting the true holiday feel then look out for pergolas with more ornate, grooved legs as this will provide the climbing plants with the ability to hook into the material and begin their ascent. 

Best of the Rest

Rowlinson Garden Products Balmoral Arbour
  • Fits in any right angled corner
  • Open slatted roof
  • Pressure treated against rot
  • Natural timber finish

Last update on 2024-02-29 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

Last update on 2024-02-29 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

Last update on 2024-02-29 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

Frequently Asked Questions 

What is the difference between a pergola and a gazebo?

Traditionally, a pergola would have slats on the roof whereas gazebos would have a solid roof, however this has begun to change in recent years where more practical structured roofs are needed. You will also usually find that pergolas are square shaped whereas gazebos tend to be circular or hexagonal shaped. 

How long should my pergola last?

This obviously depends on the material choice that you go for, but plastic pergolas tend to be a more temporary option lasting around 5 years, whereas metal or wooden pergolas can last up to 15 years providing they are well maintained. 

How should I maintain my pergola?

If you purchase a wooden pergola then this is going to need wiping down a few times a year to remove any mould or debris. It will also need treating once or twice a year to protect it from rot and decay. This is best done at the end of spring and again at the end of summer so that you can be sure you have a good level of protection. Metal pergolas are going to be similar in their maintenance but tend to need painting less regularly.

Can I erect a garden pergola myself?

Normally it is going to take at least 2-3 people to erect a garden pergola. If the pergola is small then you may be able to build the main structure independently but you will likely still need an additional pair of hands to actually lift the pergola upright and into place.

  • Performance
  • Features
  • Ergonomics
  • Value
About Thomas Paxton 368 Articles
Hey there, I'm Thomas Paxton, your Tool Guru with a Twist! I've been knee-deep in the world of tools since I was a little tinkerer in my dad's shed. Now, I'm running my own website where I share my passion for tools and gardening products through buyers guides and insightful tips. I've got the knowledge and experience to break down complex concepts into simple, easy-to-understand language. I purchased Tools Review from Mike Jones at the start of 2023, he has done a sterling job of building the site and I hope I can continue in his success! When I'm not writing guides, you'll find me in my garden or garage, putting my skills to work and pushing the boundaries of creativity. So, whether you're a pro or just starting out, join me on this adventure, and let's conquer DIY projects together!

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