A Guide to Buying a Wooden Pergola

Discover our Wooden Pergola Buyer’s Guide – your guide to outdoor sophistication. Explore key considerations, premium materials, and expert tips to find the ideal wooden pergola for your outdoor haven. Elevate your space with timeless wood charm and transform your outdoor living with style and durability. Let our guide be your companion in creating the perfect retreat.

Pergola buyers guide Pergola buyers guide

The Ultimate Guide to Buying a Pergola

If you’re looking to add a touch of elegance to your outdoor space, a wooden garden pergola is an excellent choice. These garden structures provide a charming and stylish way to create an area for outdoor activities, or simply to enjoy the beauty of your back garden. However, with so many options on the market, it can be tough to know where to start when it comes to choosing the perfect wooden pergola for your needs. In this buying guide, we’ll provide you with all the information you need to make an informed decision.

pergolas determine your budget

Determine your Budget

The first step in any purchase is to determine your budget. Wooden pergolas can vary greatly in price depending on the size, quality of materials, and customised options. Before you start shopping, decide how much you are willing to spend.

When purchasing a DIY wooden pergola kit, be sure to check that everything is included in the price, so you are not hit with any hidden costs. For example, some companies will supply all the fixings needed for assembly at no extra charge.

pergolas outdoor space

Consider the Size of your Outdoor Space

The size and shape of your outdoor space is another important factor to consider when choosing a wooden pergola. You want to make sure the pergola you choose fits comfortably in your garden without overwhelming the space. Measure your outdoor area and take note of any obstacles or features that may impact the placement of your pergola, such as trees or landscaping.

Choose your style

Wooden pergolas come in a variety of styles, from traditional to modern. Think about the overall aesthetic of your outdoor space and choose a pergola that complements it, or is a statement centrepiece. Some popular styles include square, rectangular, corner, and arched pergolas. The style you choose may be dictated by the available space in your garden, or purely down to your own individual preferences.

Pergolas are designed to be a decorative feature, so will look great covered with climbing plants or trailed with fairy lights. A garden arch will add beauty to any pathway, while a square or rectangular pergola will enhance an outdoor seating, dining, or hot tub area.

pergolas roof configurations

Roof Styles

When deciding on the best pergola for your needs, it’s worth considering the pergola’s roofing style.

Enclosed roofs – These roofs allow you to open and close the roof of your pergola to create more shelter

Open roofs – To keep a sense of the open air, this option is great, and is most practical to sit under in Summer and for plant growing

Fabric roofs – Much like a parasol, adding fabric across the top of your beams creates something more like a shade sail, providing a little more shade and shelter than an open roof.

pergolas customisable design

Determine the Level of Customisation you Desire

Many wooden pergolas can be customised to fit your specific needs. Some popular customisation options include built-in benches, additional walls and glazed panels, and canopies and curtains.

The options you choose may depend on what you plan to use your pergola for. An integrated bench will provide a compact seating area with the decorative feature of a pergola overhead.

If you require permanent protection from the elements, then walls will act as a windbreak. A solid wooden wall will create a private space. A glazed panel will provide protection whilst still allowing you a view. If you want more flexibility, then curtains can be opened to let in a fresh breeze, or closed for privacy, depending on your requirements at the time. For added shade opt for a canopy on top.

pergolas pressure treated

Research the Quality of Materials

The quality of the materials used to construct a wooden pergola will impact its durability and lifespan. Look for pergolas constructed from high-quality woods like slow grown spruce, which is considered more stable than alternatives like pine. A more stable timber results in less knots, splits and warping, which are some of the natural properties of timber. You also want to make sure that the product is made from only one type of timber. Mixing timbers can lead to poor quality and poor aesthetics.

Check for a company that sources their timber responsibly or sustainably, and cares for the environment. For example, members of Timber Development UK must comply with certain regulations to ensure their products are environmentally responsible.

A pressure-treated pergola may seem more expensive at first glance but will save you time and money in the long run. Pressure treated timber is protected against insects and rot, ensuring that the product is guaranteed to last for at least 10 years. It won’t need to be regularly re-treated, reducing the amount of maintenance needed.

It’s worth mentioning that different pergola styles can be purchased but each of them have pros and cons

Materials Pros Cons
Wood Budget-friendly.

Service life of 15 years+.

Natural and warm appearance.

Timeless style.

Can face rot and decay. Ensure you purchase a pergola with a pressure treatment guarantee. Also ensure the pergola is pressure treated and NOT dip treated.
Wrought iron Strong and impact-resistant.

Service life of 15 years+. Charming and elegant appearance.

Must be treated against rust every two years. Very heavy structure.
Aluminium Good thermal resistance. Unlimited service life. No specific maintenance is required. On-trend material. More expensive than other materials. Less likely to fit in with its outdoor surroundings. Not customisable


Additionally, make sure the pergola is built with sturdy, weather-resistant hardware like stainless steel screws.


Consider the Assembly Process

If you are relatively new to the DIY world, assembly of your outdoor structure may seem a bit daunting. Some wooden pergolas come with pre-cut pieces that make assembly a breeze, while others require more advanced carpentry skills. Beams with pre-cut notches will ensure precision and a snug fit, whilst making the assembly process a lot quicker and easier for you. Make sure you know what you are getting into before you buy.

All our garden buildings have been designed on the basis that any competent DIY customer should have no problem installing a product themselves in a short amount of time. You do not have to be an expert at DIY to build a Dunster House garden building, as we do provide you with comprehensive pictorial instructions. We totally understand that DIY is not for everyone therefore, you may want to consider getting in touch with a local carpenter or handyman to install it for you. But before you do, check out our construction video and decide for yourself!


Read reviews

Finally, read reviews from other customers who have purchased the pergola you’re considering. This will give you an insight into any potential issues or concerns you should be aware of before making your purchase. Buy from a well-established company that you can trust.


By following these steps, you’ll be well on your way to choosing the perfect wooden pergola for your outdoor space. Remember to take your time and do your research to ensure you make a purchase you’ll be happy with for years to come.

Still, have some questions?

Our friendly sales team would be happy to talk to you about any queries you may have about our products or services.  Contact us

Alternatively, here are some FAQs that you may find helpful.

What is a wooden pergola?

A wooden pergola is a garden or outdoor structure consisting of vertical posts or pillars that support horizontal crossbeams and an open lattice roof. It is designed to provide shade, support climbing plants, and create an inviting outdoor space.

What are the advantages of a wooden pergola?

  • Adds aesthetic appeal to outdoor spaces.
  • Provides shade and protection from the sun.
  • Supports climbing plants for a natural canopy.
  • Offers a defined outdoor area for relaxation and entertainment.

Frequently asked Questions

What types of wood are commonly used for pergolas?

Common wood choices include cedar, redwood, pine, and pressure-treated lumber. Cedar and redwood are popular due to their natural resistance to decay and insects but these options can be pricey. Look out for slow-grown spruce alternatives which are pressure-treated and can provide a great alternative.


Can I install a wooden pergola myself?

Yes, it is possible to install a wooden pergola as a DIY project if you have the necessary skills and tools. However, it is recommended to consult building codes and regulations in your area and consider hiring a professional for more complex designs.

What is the average cost of a wooden pergola?

The cost of a wooden pergola varies widely depending on its size, design, type of wood, and location. On average, it can range from a few hundred pounds for a small DIY kit to several thousand pounds.

Can I customise the design of my wooden pergola?

Yes, you can customise the design of your wooden pergola to match your preferences and the style of your outdoor space. You can choose the size, shape, and features such as decorative cuts, lattice patterns, and more. We do not however endorse any structural modifications to a Dunster House designed product.

How long can I expect a wooden pergola to last?

The lifespan of a wooden pergola depends on the type of wood, the quality of construction, and the maintenance. Generally, a well-maintained wooden pergola can last 10-25 years or even longer.