What to Know Before Starting a DIY Pergola Project


There are great deals to be had as brick-and-mortar and online stores alike clear out summer products, and this might seem like the perfect time to grab a DIY pergola kit for installation next year. But before you make that purchase, it’s important that you understand exactly what you’re getting into. Here’s what to know before starting a DIY pergola project, and whether it’s a better idea that working with a professional.

What’s in a DIY Pergola Kit?

“Pergola” is a catch-all term that is often used to for a variety of outdoor structures. The kits sold online or in stores will vary significantly in styles, options, complexity and price. You can find basic wooden structures for less than $1,000, or you can spend north of $10,000 on larger and more complicated builds. While all of these kits will come with assembly instructions, that doesn’t make them easy to put together. A successful build will really depend on the quality of the materials and your own ability to troubleshoot. This is a good time to be really honest with yourself about your own abilities. If you don’t have the experience or the skill set for this kind of work, it may not be a project you can manage on your own. Returns on opened DIY pergola kits may be a headache, too.

Unless you opt for a pergola kit that uses clamps to secure it into place, you should expect to dig and pour concrete footings. You’ll also need to position and square large main posts, hoist the support beams and slats into place during frame assembly, and install all of the hardware. You’ll definitely be up and down a ladder throughout the process.

Here in Reno and Sparks, permits are a requirement for certain types of pergolas and patio covers. That means you’ll also need to supply drawings and plans that won’t come with your DIY kit. Be prepared to factor for the additional expense in the event your project warrants it.

Another Idea: Working with a Professional

If you’re second guessing the DIY pergola kit, consider professional installation. In Reno, Golden Eagle Builders specializes in pergola installation, and our team will work with you to create a custom pergola or patio cover that complements your home’s architecture—forget the box kit! We’ll also handle the design, permitting, installation, and any troubleshooting along the way, leaving you to simply enjoy the finished project. Right now, we’re working on pergola installations, weather permitting. It’s a great time to reach out with questions about what a pergola or patio cover project might involve, so we invite you to contact the Golden Eagle team today.