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If you love the look of a beautiful backyard pergola, but don’t love the premium price tag, looking into a DIY pergola project is a great solution. DIY projects allow you to pay only for the materials and tools used, without the burden of design and labor costs. Of course, some DIY projects are more affordable than others, and some outdoor projects are simply impossible to complete without a little professional help. 

DIY Pergola Cost

A few different factors determine the cost of a DIY pergola. DIY pergolas have a wide price range. Those looking to save the most money should set their expectations before beginning. Attempting to achieve a luxury look on a budget of just a few hundred dollars may be unrealistic for your space or skill level.

The cost of a DIY pergola is middle of the road when compared to other structural DIY backyard living projects. Other, smaller structure may cost less. Think of an arbor, or a privacy screen or trellis. These features require less material, and less support than a pergola.

On the other end of the spectrum, a DIY pergola will be more affordable than bigger undertakings such as a cabana or gazebo. Essentially, free standing and covered structures will cost you more than smaller projects. 

Homeowners looking to build their own pergola in their backyard space can expect to pay anywhere from $400 to $2,000 dollars. This is dependent on many of the following factors.

Materials

The largest determination in the cost of your own DIY pergola is the material from which it is constructed. There is a wide range of material you can look into when beginning your project. From lower quality pine, to high quality, treated cedar or teak, no two woods will be the same.

Standard pine will run you around $20-30 dollars per square foot. In comparison, teak or high quality treated materials can cost as much as $50 per square foot. You may be able to save money on materials by sourcing them from recycled facilities. However, this can be a gamble. Though it may be more expensive to choose high quality wood, you are ensuring that it is a one-time expense.

Cheaper wood could save you money up front, but you will be dismayed when it begins to rot quickly. Soft wood is incredibly vulnerable to moisture and insects. If you are already saving thousands of dollars on labor and design, splurging on high quality material is recommended. 

Type of Pergola

Cost of a DIY pergola is also dependent on the kind of pergola you choose to build. The cheapest options are available to homeowners for several hundred dollars from online sites. They are shipped and then put together by customers in their own backyard, similar to large indoor furniture. Other options require more know-how, planning, and purchase of individual materials.

The approach you pick will be informed by your comfort with DIY projects, as well as your confidence and skill level. If you’re taking on a DIY project, it’s a good idea to truly embrace the spirit of the project. The timeline may be longer, but you are likely to end up with a truly admirable finished product.

From a Kit

As mentioned, one of the cheapest and easiest ways to build your own pergola is to order a kit. Many online retailers sell ready to assemble pergolas. They also can be found at some big box stores such as Home Depot or Walmart. The kits provide homeowners all the materials needed, and they are simply charged with putting the pieces together. 

These kits cost between a few hundred to over a thousand dollars. However, despite costs you will not be able to reap many of the benefits of a true DIY project. Lowered customization levels and lower quality material are common with from-kit options. 

This means you may save money up front, but be disappointed with the final outcome long-term. Still, for those looking at a cheap and convenient way to add functionality to their outdoor space, a from-kit pergola project could be the right option. 

From Scratch

In the true spirit of DIY, those looking to really build their own pergola are likely starting from scratch. This means design, sourcing materials, cutting to size, and assembling. Of course, this process is nowhere near as quick and easy as a from-kit installation. But what you lose in time, you make up for in versatility, a custom-to-you product, and pride in looking at your finished pergola every time you enter your backyard space.

Building a pergola completely from scratch will likely not be as cheap as a lower end DIY kit, but it won’t break the bank the way hiring professionals will. It’s safe to assume that you should be able to build your own structure at under $1,200 dollars. Final totals depend on the size, materials, and how many extra tools you need to purchase before beginning. 

Is it worth it to build a DIY pergola?

If you’re interested in starting your own DIY project, a pergola can be a good place to start. There is a certain level of skill needed. And it could take you a while to source the right materials and conceptualize the final design. However, the thousands of dollars you save in the process could make it all worth it.

At the end of the day, you’re the only person with a realistic view of your own patience, skills, and excitement over a DIY backyard build. Making a decision based on this information will help you make the right choice for your space and for your lifestyle.


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