Terrace of a house with pergola roof and wood planks flooring

You’ve got your decking area all sorted in your garden, but it’s got something missing. Something to add a beautiful finishing touch to enhance its design and bring a sense of cohesiveness. 

The perfect addition to your decking is a pergola. A pergola can provide a sanctuary area of cooling shade and add a delicate decorative aspect to your garden. It’s a beautiful structure that can separate an area on your decking for a particular purpose. A cosy reading nook, a gathering space, a relaxing space: the possibilities are endless!

Pergolas can be relatively simple designs that are straightforward to assemble yourself. As experts in porches, pergolas and all things DIY, we’ve compiled this guide on what you need to know if you’re wondering how to build your own pergola on a deck, as well as some design and styling ideas. 
If you’re already overwhelmed at the prospect, just get in touch with one of our friendly experts today for any advice as well as information about the high-quality pergola kits we offer. Or, read on for more information.

What’s the Difference Between Freestanding and Attached Pergolas?

The first thing to consider when building a pergola on a deck is the type you want: attached or freestanding. A freestanding pergola typically stands on four posts independently of other structures, while attached pergolas are built fixed to your house.

An attached pergola, or wall-mounted pergola as it’s also referred to, can give the impression of a seamless transition from your indoor living space to your outdoor space. It’s a great option if you have a door that leads directly to a patio area as it adds extra shade and an enhanced design for your house. 

A freestanding pergola has more versatility than one attached to the house. You can decide where you want to put it in your garden depending on the kind of space you’re trying to create or place it to cater to the specific way the sun hits your garden, for example. A freestanding pergola can sculpt out a separate sanctuary in your outdoor area, distinct from a busy living space.

What to Consider before Building a Pergola on Your Deck

frame Outdoor kitchen and dining area under a pergola at the spacious patio of a home

While building a pergola is a fairly simple DIY project to undertake if you’ve already got rudimentary skills, there is a difference between building a freestanding pergola on an existing deck and building one into the ground. Here is what you should bear in mind:

  • Check with your local building regulations about whether you need to get planning permission before building a pergola as rules will vary.
  • When building your own pergola, you need to be extremely attentive to the structural integrity and safety of your structure. The best tip is to make sure your deck pergola is not top-heavy, so you don’t risk it caving in. 
  • As a pergola on a deck will be higher than one in the ground, it will have greater exposure to wind and adverse weather conditions. Make sure to invest in pressure treated wood to ensure maximum structural safety.

Building a Freestanding Pergola on an Existing Deck

Can an Existing Deck Support a Pergola?

When you build a freestanding pergola on a raised deck, you need to make sure it’s secure and structurally sound. A typical freestanding pergola will stand on four or more posts set in the ground with concrete to ensure structural integrity, but you may not be able to do this with a pergola on a deck. In some cases, the vertical beams of the pergola can replace the existing corner beams of your deck.

Generally, the support posts of a deck pergola should be securely attached to the joist structure under the decking, not the actual floorboards of the deck. The additional support that a pergola built on a deck needs can be achieved through strong hardware and secure bolts. 

Another thing to keep in mind is that the post bases will be visible instead of buried underground, so it’s worth thinking about how to incorporate this into your deck and pergola design as this hardware can sometimes look quite industrial and out of place.

How to Build a Corner Pergola on a Deck

Picture of beautiful residence with garden at night

A corner pergola is a great solution for those with less space. This type of pergola design will provide a perfect pocket of privacy and shade. Usually, a corner pergola has three posts instead of four, so it is easier to build and more affordable. All of the safety requirements for corner pergolas are the same as for four-post pergolas, however.

Because of the extra privacy option that corner pergolas can offer, they are also a fantastic addition to a hot tub deck area. Read our hot tub pergola ideas for more inspiration.

What Does It Cost to Build a Pergola on a Deck?

The cost of a pergola depends entirely on the materials used as well as the size and where it’s actually being installed. Prices can range from around £400 for basic structures up to £6,000 for more high-end. If you install it yourself, your pergola cost may be lower since you’ll only be paying for the materials and not the labour costs. 

However, this is only advisable if you’re knowledgeable about the safety and structural requirements for building a heavy structure on a deck. One of the most effective methods for a DIY pergola is to get a pergola frame kit built to your specifications. At The Porch Specialist, we create bespoke pergolas kits with every part you need to be included to make a stunning, structurally sound pergola. Read more about what we can offer at the bottom of the page.

Tips for Designing a Deck and Pergola Area

3D illustration of modern urban patio with white bio climatic pergola and whirlpool. Barbecue and white pallet couch next to hot whirlpool bath.

There are so many ways to add your own spin on a classic pergola. A wooden pergola, in particular, is more versatile than other materials, like aluminium pergolas, as you can more easily paint them. Timber frames can blend seamlessly with wooden decking for a cohesive, authentic design that it’s difficult to achieve with other materials like metal.

When thinking about building a pergola on a deck, think about the kind of usage you intend for the area. Is it part of an entertaining or gathering space? Do you want to incorporate a fire pit or a seating and dining area? Perhaps it’s a private relaxation area distinct from other parts of the garden. Once you have more of an idea about how you want the space to function, you can start thinking about the actual build of your pergola.

Read our full article on beautiful and practical pergola ideas for more inspiration or read on for how we can help you build your perfect pergola.

Design Your Own Pergola

We provide bespoke wooden pergola kits made to your custom design, so you can build a pergola to fit your specific deck. The experts at The Porch Specialist can also give any advice on how to incorporate a pergola into a deck design and all the safety requirements that entails. Our handcrafted pergola kits are built for easy assembly and come with step-by-step instructions, so you can take all the difficulty out of building your own pergola and get it up and functioning in no time at all.

Just get in touch with our team today for a free, instant quote on a superb-quality wooden pergola kit.

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