Pergolas have been accents in Chicagoland landscapes for years. While they have modern touches today, they’ve actually been around since 1400 B.C. where a garden entrance pergola adorned an Egyptian high court offical’s property.

They continued as artistic garden additions during the Italian Renaissance where they were anchored by stone pillars.

Pergolas, in fact, have stood the test of time because they do so much for your landscape. They provide elegant shade to enhance your time outdoors, as well as create places for dining, entertainment, growing climbing plants, enjoying privacy, and breaking up a large space.

You might be sold on adding a pergola to your yard, but what might stump you is the style and pergola material option you want to use. You want to choose materials that coordinate with your home and landscape design scheme and you want to ensure the materials will stand up to the elements and last.

Let’s review the best pergola materials you can use in your Greater Chicago home landscape and the pros and cons of each so you can make a great decision.

The 2 Top Types of Pergola Materials in Greater Chicago

When it comes to your pergola material options, the good news is you only have two major options to consider: wood and aluminum/steel.

The important factors you want to consider with these materials are their longevity, maintenance, cost, overall style, benefits, and look.

Pergola Material Option #1: Wood

As the most customizable and strongest material, wood is an ideal type of pergola material.

Think about it. You can stain or paint wood or give it the option of weathering naturally for a more rustic feel. Wood can be extremely adaptable to an elegant English garden or even a modern, contemporary space. This means no matter what your home or personal style, wood can be made to fit your tastes and cohesively blend in.

pergola made of wood

While they fit most spaces and stand up to as big of a pergola as you want to create, wood is also one of the most expensive pergola options.

Wood also requires some maintenance to ensure their longevity, such as occasional staining or sealing.

Pergola Material Option #2: Aluminum/Steel

Aluminum or steel are types of pergola materials that bring the stability of wood along with a clean, modern look that is also customizable.

pergola made of steel

Long-lasting and requiring less maintenance, aluminum/steel pergolas are high-quality structures that come in a wide color palette. They even come in a textured coating that can match your home exterior or your personal style preferences. As powder-coated structures, they can have a lasting presence in your landscape.

They tend to cost a bit more than a typical wood pergola, but the final price difference between both material types can be based on how complicated the design is, the size, and the style involved. But for less maintenance than wood, this can make your aluminum pergola worth the installation.

Know Your Pergola Costs

Need some rain or sun cover or a visual structure that is as striking as it is functional?

Then a pergola could be your new favorite landscape element.

When planning for a pergola, it’s important to budget correctly to ensure you get the structure you’re seeking.

White pergola made with wood

Despite the type of pergola material you choose, pergola pricing can fluctuate based on the size and complexity of the structure.

For example, a 12x12 pergola can start at about $7,500. With other details, such as a fan for air or lighting, as well as details like masonry or modular block pillars, your pergola can increase in price to $25,000 to $35,000.

So, What Material Should a Pergola Be Made Of?

You might find instant and complete enjoyment under a pergola in your landscape.

But as you consider the glorious shade and amazing visual element a pergola can offer your backyard, you might have a tough time figuring out which pergola material option will work best for you. You might be worried about whether wood would blend in as well as aluminum or which one really needs less maintenance.

pergola in landscape with seating area and patio

We understand. This is a tough decision – and one that lasts quite a long time. Let KD help you decide. We have years of experience designing and installing unique and engaging pergolas in the Greater Chicago area, and we can show you unlimited options made of both materials, as well as talk about their costs and maintenance needs, so you can make a confident choice.

Then all you have to do is kick up your feet and relax under the glorious shade and strong structure that anchors your yard and elevates its visual and functional appeal.

Ready to see how KD Landscape can transform your Naperville, Elmhurst, and Hinsdale, IL backyard into a space you can use and looks great whether rain or shine? We’d love to share our design and installation expertise with you. Get started today with a free consultation. Together, we can prepare a plan for a pergola that extends your outdoor enjoyment.

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