Stone Tools

Spending time outdoors with family and friends can create lasting memories. Your deck area may be a great gathering spot, but you may be wishing that you have more shade in that area. This can lead you to wonder if, ‘can you build a pergola on an existing deck?’ Actually, building a pergola on an existing deck is a great way to add shade and a new configuration to your deck area. Also, you can design it to meet your needs and lifestyle.

Can You Build a Pergola on an Existing Deck?

Pergolas are an attractive option to add partial coverage from the sun. This encourages people to safely spend time outside. Also, they can provide additional style to the area. This is why they have become increasingly popular upgrades for many backyards. So, the answer is yes, ‘can you build a pergola on an existing deck’.

How to Build a Freestanding Pergola

When you design your own pergola, you end up with the product that meets your family’s lifestyle. Going into a design project may feel daunting but we are talking about a guided design process where you consider the features that you would most like in the space that you have available. There are many pergola designs available so spending some time thinking about your current space and what you would like to see happen will save time and money in the end. There is no right or wrong answer.  It’s just considering several factors that will ultimately affect the overall design.  These include:

  • Adding a hot tub
  • Number and arrangement of desired seating
  • Inclusion of a grill
  • Using it as a dining area

Decide the Location of the Pergola

Given the size of the available space, you’ll need to decide whether you prefer for it to be attached to your home or free standing.  This can depend on whether you would like for the pergola to be an extension of your current home or whether you would like to use it to create a special entertaining space.

Size of the Pergola

The size of the pergola will not only depend on the area that you have available but how you would like to use the additional space. Some functions will necessarily require more room. The first step will be to measure the space that you are considering placing the structure. Many prefab companies use products that come in the standard 8’x12’ size or 10’x12’.  Your pergola can be customized to meet your specific needs. Many companies sell their products in two-foot units. Do a little research with companies in your area before making a decision about what is right for you.

How Much Does It Cost to Build a Pergola on a Deck?

Again, this will depend on one of the design decisions you make…the building material. Some materials have longer lifespans than others.  This can affect the price of the structure. Vinyl, cedar and pressure treated wood are the most common building materials. When cost is a consideration, pressure treated wood is a less expensive option.  However, it does not have the longevity of vinyl, which tends to be more expensive. Another thing to consider it the deck construction material. Both the deck and pergola should either be constructed from the same material or at least coordinate appropriately. Deciding on the building material will directly affect the overall costs involved.


To bring the whole design together, select the color or stain that you want for your new pergola. This ties the deck and new structure together visually to create a definite impact. Common stain colors include:

  • Walnut
  • Cedar
  • Cedar mahogany
  • Rustic cedar
  • Clear

If you opt to work with a company that has prefab structures, the installation should only take about 4-5 hours.  This project will require only basic power tools that most homeowners always have.  A prefab kit will come with detailed instructions and all necessary materials.

Installing a new pergola over an existing deck structure is not a difficult project, nor does it have to be an overly expensive one. The biggest investment is spending the time to decide exactly what type of structure you want and where it should be placed to maximize its use. If you take the time to make the necessary decisions and do the research, your family will have a new outdoor space to use and enjoy.  A pergola is a good addition to any outdoor space.