Choosing The Right Material For A Pergola

Posted on: 18 June 2020

Pergolas make attractive garden features and can be used to create shade, to highlight an area of the garden, such as the patio, or as a frame for climbing plants. When designing a pergola, there is more to think about than the shape and whether or not it will have a roof or outdoor shades fitted to it. There are a number of materials that can be used to construct a pergola, and the right type of material will depend on a range of factors including the purpose of the pergola, budget and location. Here's an overview of three popular materials used to build pergolas.


Wood is the conventional choice when designing a pergola, as it blends into the natural landscape and can be stained to match existing garden fixtures. Hardwoods, such as mahogany and oak, are more durable than softwoods, such as pine and cedar, but hardwoods are more expensive. Wood requires regular maintenance to prevent damage from moisture and fungi, and an oil-based wood preservative should be applied at least every couple of years.


Steel is an easy material to build with, as it's lightweight, strong and quick to install. It doesn't decay or oxidise as a result of being exposed to the elements, so there's no need to spend time on maintenance once a steel pergola is erected. However, having a metal structure in the garden won't be to everyone's liking, and it will stand out in gardens with a classic or traditional style that highlights the natural landscape.


Aluminium is similar to steel, as it's light and can be installed in less time than a wood pergola. It's a budget-friendly option and can be painted to complement existing structures. However, it's not a good choice for properties located on the coast, as the salty air and humidity can damage aluminium. Common signs of damage include surface-level pitting and the development of a chalky coating. This type of corrosion can not only impact the appearance of a pergola, but it can also affect the lifespan of the aluminium.

Pergolas are popular garden features that can be customised to suit a variety of tastes and uses. When selecting the materials for a pergola, consideration should be given to how the immediate landscape will be impacted by the construction of a pergola. If possible, compare samples at the build site of each of the construction materials being considered to ensure the right choice is selected in accordance with the existing landscape and location. 

For more information, contact a pergola builder in your area.