Things to Consider when Planning a Pergola Project

Traditionally, pergolas used vines and foliage to create shade. These vines are trained to rest on an open lattice supported by wooden beams, creating a beautiful walkway intertwined with nature. Modern pergolas use man-made materials which provide better temperature control and protection from ultraviolet rays.

Pergolas are a great way to add some shade and improve the usability of your outdoor space. But before you dive head-first into the world of pergolas, it’s important to consider a few key points. There are legalities and practicalities that might trip you up during the process.

To help you out, we’ve listed the things you need to consider when getting a pergola.

Get the Necessary Permits

Before anything else, you need to check if you need a permit to build your pergola. According to the Victorian Government, pergolas associated with houses can be exempt from building permits. However, since some areas in Australia might have different regulations, it’s best to check with your local council.

When hiring a company to install a pergola, see if they can help you with acquiring the necessary building and planning permits. Some companies will help you with everything involved in the process.This includes surveying the outdoor area, designing the pergola and sorting out the necessary paperwork. If you choose the right installation company, you can potentially save a lot of time and avoid legal headaches.

Consider the Materials

When it comes to the practicality of your pergola design, it’s important to consider the material the pergola is made from. While a timber frame may be cheaper and more easy to build, you may want to consider a steel pergola. Steel will provide a much stronger and longer-lasting structure that won’t require the maintenance and repairs that timber does.

The roofing materials are also important to think about. Using cheaper materials will save you some money upfront. However, you might lose out on the temperature control features of high-end materials like polycarbonate roofing. Additionally, if you live in an area with tough weather conditions, you might find yourself having to constantly pay for repairs due to the low-durability of the material.

When planning to build a pergola, consider the practicality of the materials. You don’t want to compromise your aesthetic vision, but you don’t want to compromise on utility as well.

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DIY or Contractor?

One of the other major decisions that you have to make is choosing whether to install the pergola yourself or hire professionals to do it for you. There are pros and cons for both of these options.

The advantage of installing a pergola yourself is you get to set it up exactly the way you want to. Additionally, you can potentially save a significant amount of money by going the DIY route.

If you decide to do it yourself, keep in mind that there are a few challenges that you will have to face. To build the pergola, you will need to have the building expertise, the proper tools and the necessary vehicles to transport the needed materials.

On the other hand, hiring professionals can save you a lot of time and energy. Some professional installation companies even provide advice on what materials to use for your pergola. Also, hiring specialists will ensure that the pergola is properly installed and will not break down in the future.


Before deciding on a pergola type, consider both the upfront price and the running costs. Think about what you need from your pergola and how it can suit your budget.

For example, if polycarbonate roofing and UV protection is important to you, expect to pay a bit more for that luxury. If not, then you can opt for cheaper alternatives.

Maintenance costs are also an important consideration. Stone pavers are popular choices for patios and pergolas. However, these natural materials have to be re-sealed every year. Regular roof and frame maintenance might also be necessary, depending on the material and design.

When thinking about costs, don’t just look at the upfront price tag. Consider how much you will have to pay for maintenance and repairs as well.

Now that you’ve read the pointers above, you’re ready to build your dream garden. Pergolas are perfect for enjoying the Australian summers and staying connected to the natural world. If you’re feeling bold, you install the pergola yourself.. However, for the best results, we recommended hiring professionals.

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