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Soaking up the sun in your garden is one of the pleasures of having a deck. But on those particularly hot summer days, you might appreciate a bit more shade than the average raised deck offers. Perhaps leading you to consider the pergola.

Pergolas add areas of dappled shade to a garden, and also make a fantastic design feature. However, these large structures also come with a lot of weight. Some raised decks can support a lightweight pergola, but many won’t be up to the task for heavier structures such as wooden pergolas.

If you’re thinking of adding a pergola to your raised deck, this guide can answer all your questions. We’ll cover whether it’s possible to put a pergola on a raised deck, and some tips and tricks for installation.

Can You Put A Pergola On A Raised Deck?

Can You Put A Pergola On A Raised Deck?

A pergola can be put on a raised deck, but it isn’t always the best place for them. Raised decks may not have the strength needed to support a pergola. Before installing, there are several crucial factors that you have to consider.

The Amount Of Deck Support

Pergolas are best installed on decks that are close to the ground. If your raised deck is on stilts, you might want to skip the pergola.

The weight tolerance of the deck is incredibly important, and higher support beams tend to have a lower weight tolerance.

The Type Of Pergola

The diverse designs of pergolas means you can often find an option that will work with your type of deck. Consider both material and structure, as well as the overall visual appeal of the pergola.

Although attractive design is important, it shouldn’t be your foremost consideration. Design features can be added later, using lighter materials.

The Pergola Weight

For a raised deck, the best pergolas are lightweight. Look for those made from wood or composites, and consider smaller structures with fewer posts and beams.

Avoid any pergolas with a heavy roof or enclosed sides. Instead, think about simplicity.

The Condition Of The Raised Deck

An old deck with weak supports is not a good foundation for a pergola, no matter how lightweight a design you choose. If you plan on updating your deck any time soon, do it before adding the pergola.

The Best Way To Install A Pergola On A Raised Deck

The Best Way To Install A Pergola On A Raised Deck

Stability is absolutely key when installing a pergola on a raised deck. Before you install, you have to be sure your deck can support the weight of the pergola. If you have old raised decking, it might be better to avoid installing a pergola.

Begin by reinforcing the strength of your raised deck as much as possible. This might mean replacing old supports, adding new ones, and giving the old deck a thorough look over.

Next, choose your pergola. Look for one that is made of lightweight material, and has a simple design. The roof is a key area to consider. Use an open lattice or light fabrics to add shade without weight.

Install the pergola, making sure to attach the support posts to the joist structure of the deck. Don’t attach them to the deck floorboards, or they won’t have the support they need.

What Decks Can You Put A Pergola On?

Most decks are suitable for putting pergolas on, provided they have enough stability and strength to support the structure.

Traditional wooden decks, with a slight raise to meet the line of the door, are typically suitable for putting pergolas on. They should have a sturdy base, and support from beneath that accommodates the weight.

As the decks are close to the ground, the posts that form the sides of the pergolas can often be sunk into the foundations through holes cut into the deck. It might even be possible to replace the corners of the deck with the pergola posts.

Concrete or stone decks can also support pergolas. The most simple option is adding a pergola directly on to the concrete.

This is perfect for a temporary structure, although you should consider anchoring if you want to keep it up year round. Otherwise, holes can be cut into the concrete to sink the supports for the pergola.

If you want a large structure, it might stretch out beyond the deck, and be sunk into the garden.

If you are installing a pergola on an existing deck, no matter the type of deck, you should always consider stability.

Installing A Pergola Alongside A Raised Deck

Adding a pergola to a raised deck that’s already in place is difficult, and sometimes impossible. However, if you’re adding a raised deck to your garden and considering a pergola, you should have a few more options.

Newer decks tend to have better strength and might be able to support even heavier pergolas.

By factoring in the weight of the pergola at this initial stage, you can potentially design a raised deck with the stability for the pergola of your choice. Speak to your contractor about available options.

Ideas For Gardens With Raised Decks

If you’ve decided a pergola isn’t right for your raised deck, there are still plenty of options available. If your garden is big enough, you may prefer to install a pergola elsewhere on the property.

Look for an area that catches the sun without feeling a glare. Pergolas are commonly installed over walkways.

If you don’t have quite enough space for a raised deck and a pergola, you may prefer to install an arbour. An arbour is traditionally bench seating with a roof, often with lattice side panels.

Arbours are typically smaller than pergolas, and fit easier into gardens. If your raised deck can’t handle the weight of a pergola, it might be able to support an arbour instead.

Final Thoughts

A pergola can be a lovely addition to a garden, but the heavy structures aren’t suitable for every type of decking.

lthough it is possible to put a pergola on a raised deck, it’s rarely recommended. If you choose to go ahead, remember that stability is crucial.


Can You Put A Pergola On A Raised Deck?

8 Jul 2022
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