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Outdoor Kitchen Pergola: Buying Guide & 6 Gorgeous Ideas

By James King

September 12, 2022

Imagine, for a moment… You’re in your backyard, grilling your favorite foods on your outdoor kitchen grill.

You love your kitchen… And your patio space looks beautiful… But something about it just feels incomplete.

Something is definitely missing.

What you need is some way to elevate your space from a nice outdoor kitchen area…

And transform it into a well-designed space that looks intentional and complete.

There’s an easy answer…

an outdoor summer bar kitchen underneath a pergola in texas

Frame it with a beautiful outdoor kitchen pergola!

Now, you may be wondering what exactly a pergola is.

There are all kinds of beautiful outdoor shade structures… So what makes a pergola different?

Quick Links:

What Is a Pergola?

Many homeowners (understandably) think that a pergola is any outdoor shade structure… But it’s actually just one specific type of outdoor kitchen roof!

While many outdoor kitchen roof structures, like gazebos and pavilions, have solid roofs… A pergola will let light in through its slatted, louvered roof.

There’s a lot of variety… You’ll find different sizes, materials, and colors… And they can be freestanding or attached to your house!

Whether you’re looking for traditional charm… Or something to match your modern outdoor kitchen island… There’s a pergola for you.

It sounds cool… But what will a pergola actually do for you?

outdoor kitchen kit with built in charcoal grill under a pergola

Want to bring your idea to life?

Use our free 3D design tool to bring the outdoor kitchen of your dreams to reality in just a few minutes.

Benefits of an Outdoor Kitchen Pergola

An outdoor kitchen pergola is a great idea for your outdoor space!

It transforms a patio into its own outdoor room… Extending your indoor living room into your backyard!

If you put some outdoor furniture underneath it as well… You’ll have a covered outdoor dining area!

Pergolas are also very practical.

While they don’t typically provide full coverage on their own… You can choose between a few additional features that will offer full shade for your outdoor kitchen area. We’ll talk about your options later!

Keeping your grill island and patio out of direct sunlight is a great way to safeguard them… And your guests will appreciate the shade, too!

There are also some serious benefits to getting a shade structure without a solid roof…

You’ll get to enjoy more sunlight while you cook during the day… While still blocking some UV rays.

…And at night, you’ll be able to relax under your pergola and watch the stars!

It’s safe to say that a pergola is almost always a good idea… But what sort of things should you consider when you buy or construct one?

Outdoor Kitchen Pergola Considerations

Researching a new backyard feature can be overwhelming. There are so many things to think about when you’re trying to get the perfect covered patio!

First, how do you pick the ideal size for your backyard?

What Size Pergola Should You Get?

family enjoying their rta outdoor kitchen under a pergola with lighting

If you’re interested in a pergola purely for the aesthetics… You can get any size you think would look good… And that is big enough to cover the area you want!

Simple as that.

But, if you’re specifically after shade… You’ll want to check out the angle at which the sun shines in your yard throughout the day.

For example, if you buy a pergola that only covers your outdoor kitchen or outdoor kitchen patio… The sun might cast shadows that don’t quite shade your BBQ island!

Of course, as the sun moves during the day… The amount of shade you have will change. Due to the angle of the sun… You will have more shade in the morning and evening than at midday.

If this is the case… You might want to scale up a bit so that your outdoor kitchen space is shaded at all times of the day!

While there are a few standard sizes you’ll find in box stores (often 16×16, 16×20, and 20×20)… You can also get your own custom-built pergola in nearly any size you’d like.

On top of that… You’ll also find a variety of materials to choose from!

What Materials Should You Use?

Just like your outdoor kitchen materials… The materials you use for your pergola will have a big impact on its quality, appearance, upkeep, and lifespan.

Wood

2x4 wood planks for outdoor kitchen frame

Wood is a very common material for outdoor kitchen pergolas… Especially if you want to DIY it!

PROS

Wood is an inexpensive material… And it’s the easiest material to build with.

A wood pergola has a beautiful, natural look that will pair nicely with any BBQ grill island… But especially a wood outdoor kitchen.

CONS

Wood is prone to warping, cracking, bowing, and rotting.

It’s also a magnet for termites.

To preserve it… You’ll need to do quite a bit of maintenance, such as sanding, staining, sealing, and other treatments.

It’s also not fire-resistant… So be careful with your hot built-in grill!

Aluminum

aluminum tubing used for outdoor kitchen frame system

Aluminum is a very popular material for pergolas!

It can either come in a metallic silver… Or any powder-coated color you’d like!

Pros

Aluminum is a very light-weight, non-combustible material.

It’s extremely durable and won’t rust!

CONS

You may need to seal it to prevent corrosion. It will also get hot in the sunlight.

Stainless steel

sheets of stainless steel used to build an outdoor kitchen

Stainless steel is a durable metal. It will pair nicely with a modern outdoor kitchen.

PROS

Stainless steel is a very strong metal… And it’s fire-resistant.

CONS

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Stainless steel can rust… So you’ll want to treat it with a zinc coating.

Just like aluminum… It can also get hot in the sun.

PVC

hdpe plastic sheets used for outdoor kitchen panels

PVC (also called vinyl) is a durable plastic that can be molded into nearly any shape. It’s also a material commonly used in outdoor kitchen cabinets

Often, PVC pergolas are made with an interior aluminum frame coated in a layer of PVC.

Pros

PVC is a strong material that does well in outdoor features.

It is easy to maintain… And is fire-retardant.

Cons

PVC can fade, crack, or warp over time… Especially in harsh sunlight.

Fiberglass

Fiberglass is a fiber-reinforced plastic. It’s similar to PVC… But stronger.

Pros

Fiberglass is a very strong and durable material.

The only maintenance you’ll need to do is wash it off with a hose.

Cons

Fiberglass can crack over time.

Now that you know what kind of materials you might like… You might want to know what kind you’ll be getting… Will it be attached to your house or freestanding?

Will Your Pergola be Attached to the House or Freestanding?

Many pergolas are freestanding.

They can be placed anywhere you want in your yard… And they stand up on their own.

Alternatively, if your outside kitchen is next to your home… You can attach the pergola to the wall!

Many companies offer pergolas that are built to be attached.

This means that it will have two pillars fixed in the ground, plus a roof overhead… But the other side of your pergola will be attached directly to the exterior wall of your house.

This is a really interesting design that gives your home and pergola a very harmonious appearance… Just be aware that it can shade your house’s windows as well as your outdoor kitchen!

Speaking of shade… Will you add a shade cover?

l shaped rta outdoor kitchen with built in grill under pergola

Will You Add a Pergola Shade Cover?

Are you starting to think more about shade?

A pergola is a beautiful design idea… But it won’t give you full coverage from the sun!

Adding a cover on top is a great way to make your pergola even more useful.

It’ll make cooking in your outdoor grill station more comfortable during the summer… Protect your outdoor kitchen patio from sun damage… And keep the rain and snow off!

Motorized Louvered Panels

motorized louvered panels on a pergola

One option you could choose is motorized louvered panels.

These are roofing panels that pivot closed… So your pergola’s roof will go from a traditional pergola into a solid roof at the push of a button!

Fabric Cover

Alternatively… You could purchase a cover that will go over the roofing panels.

Most solid pergola patio covers are made of fabric… So you’ll be able to choose whatever colors and textures you’d like!

Motorized Retractable Fabric Cover

Some people invest in a motorized, retractable cover. This will peel the fabric back at the touch of a button!

That might be a good idea if you want an outdoor pizza oven, fire pit, or outdoor fireplace underneath your fabric cover.

It also is helpful in the event of a storm that could rip or stretch your fabric.

Polycarbonate Pergola Roof

This is a clear cover made of a strong plastic.

It keeps harsh UV rays out… And still lets the light in!

You’ll also be protected from the elements.

Side Curtains

In addition… You could also hang curtains to cover the sides… Like a canopy!

You can use these to keep the sun out of your outdoor cooking space from the sides… And provide a bit more privacy from your neighbors.

Depending on how complicated your goals are… You may want to think about whether you’ll be constructing your own, buying a kit from the store, or hiring someone to build one for you!

side curtains on a pergola

Outdoor Kitchen Solution for your space

Use our free 3D design tool to design the perfect space for your outdoor kitchen and pergola.

Should You Build Your Own Pergola, Buy from a Store, or Hire a Professional?

When you want your own pergola… You have three options!

You can either construct your own… Buy one from a store… Or hire someone to make one for you!

While you can certainly make your own… It is usually best to leave this to the experts.

A professional will have a better idea of how to securely anchor a pergola… And how to build it in a way that will be durable and weather-resistant.

Especially if you want to install any kind of motorized system… It’s safer to pass the torch on this home improvement project.

Whether you buy or hire is completely up to you.

If you hire… You can get special, custom-made options.

However, if you would rather buy… There are a lot of great brands to choose from!

What Brand of Pergola Should You Buy?

Home Depot
Toja Grid
Lowes

When you go to buy your pergola… You’ll have lots of different places to buy it from!

There are some fantastic contractors and pergola manufacturers who make amazing, custom pergolas…

And there are larger companies that offer more standard options!

For example, if you go through Home Depot… There are over 800 pergola options.

With that many choices… You’ll get a lot of variety in the colors and materials.

About half of Home Depot’s pergolas are from Toja Grid… Which is another great place to buy a pergola from!

You purchase the wood separately… And then their outdoor kitchen pergola kits come with everything else you’ll need to complete the project.

You can construct their pergolas in under two hours… And their design options allow you to make your pergola as large or small as you’d like!

Alternatively, Lowe’s offers all kinds of outdoor kitchen features… Including almost 200 different pergola options.

Just like Home Depot… They distribute all kinds of different designs, so you’re sure to find something you like!

While these are three reputable brands… There are many more great options out there! Just read the reviews and pick an option that speaks to you.

In the meantime… You want to have a good idea of what you’re looking for!

For some inspiration… Check out these pergola outdoor kitchen ideas.

Outdoor Kitchen Pergola Design Ideas

A beautiful pergola is the perfect way to spruce up your backyard space.

They’re able to highlight your outdoor living space in a special way!

They also have so much opportunity for unique outdoor kitchen designs.

We want to give you a few examples of pergola and outdoor kitchen ideas… So that you can enjoy the beautiful opportunity that this outdoor home decor brings to a backyard.

Pergola with Outdoor Kitchen

u shaped outdoor kitchen under pergola with pizza oven and pellet grill

Really, this is just a gorgeous yard no matter how you slice it.

The U-shaped outdoor kitchen and plants especially stand out…

And the white of the BBQ island and its outdoor kitchen countertops contrast gorgeously with the dark brown of the pergola.

Even though it isn’t the same color as the rest of the grill station…The pergola perfectly complements it and adds so much to the space.

Modern Outdoor Kitchen Pergola

outdoor bar seating at outdoor kitchen under pergola

This is a gorgeous, modern outdoor pergola kitchen that transforms the area into a true outdoor room!

In contrast to the vivid green vegetation in the background… The dark hues and strong lines look wonderful.

Outdoor Kitchen Covered Pergola

l shaped outdoor kitchen with refrigerator and double burner under pergola

This pergola over outdoor kitchen design is unique… Because you get to enjoy the natural look of the spaces between the beams… But while still being protected from the rain or snow!

It’s angled so that rain and snow will fall right off… And you can keep on cooking!

Pergola Outdoor Kitchen Designs

modern outdoor kitchen with pizza oven under a pergola

You’ve seen a dark, modern pergola before… But now you can see how beautifully an industrial pergola complements a modern outdoor kitchen.

The outdoor pizza oven, grill, and outdoor kitchen refrigerator all stand out against the dark colors of the pergola.

This unique shape serves as a beautiful backsplash… And an overhead cover for this summer kitchen!

Matching Outdoor Kitchen Pergola Designs

rta outdoor kitchen near swimming pool under pergola

One way to make your space feel cohesive is to create unity through the colors you use.

Whether you’re matching the color of your house… Or the color of your fence, like in this example… It’s a beautiful look that will make your pieces feel as though they truly belong together!

This stone outdoor kitchen looks right at home!

L-Shaped Outdoor Kitchen with Pergola Ideas

l shaped outdoor kitchen with refreshment center and refrigerator on patio under pergola with ceiling fan

These homeowners have installed outdoor kitchen utilities… And even ran electricity through the pergola! Because of this, they’ve been able to add a ceiling fan in the pergola itself!

This is the perfect way to make your space even more comfortable.

You could use this L-shaped outdoor kitchen even when it’s super hot outside!

Now… You must be ready to get out there and get your own!

The Perfect Outdoor Kitchen for Your Future Pergola

outdoor kitchen islands equipped with traeger under a pergola

You’ve seen some beautiful outdoor kitchen and pergola combos… But where do you even start?

There’s only one answer… With an outdoor kitchen!

We’ll be honest with you… This is a big project.

When you’re trying to plan out an entire outdoor design… You want things to be convenient and easy.

You have enough on your plate as is. We get it.

That’s why we’ve reinvented the process.

What does that mean?

You don’t want to spend 20+ hours talking to a contractor and shopping for your own outdoor kitchen appliances.

The process used to take months… And in some cases, over a year, before your outdoor kitchen was finished!

Now… the process has been simplified into a few simple steps.

First, you’ll design your own custom outdoor kitchen in our easy-to-use free Design Tool.

It only takes a few minutes… And it’ll give you a 3D rendering of exactly the island you’re looking for… Because you’re the one who created it!

After that… You’ll be set up with someone from our team of Design Experts.

They’ll give you one-on-one advice… And help finalize your design to make sure it’s perfect.

Lastly? You’ll receive your made-to-order island… Appliances included. You’ll just have to assemble it… And then enjoy.

A few hours and some basic tools later… And you’re all set to enjoy your outdoor kitchen for a lifetime (guaranteed).

If you want to learn more about what makes our outdoor kitchens stand out (and more!)… Just visit our Learning Center!

Need Help With Your Plans?

Talk to one of our expert designers and they will guide you from planning to installation. Schedule a call today.

Q&A

Absolutely! A pergola with an outdoor kitchen is a fantastic place for friends and family to gather outside! They provide partial shade… And elevate your outdoor kitchen design. On top of that, the louvered panels and open sides allow your grill to vent safely without trapping hot air.

The cheapest way to get a pergola is to buy a pergola kit! You’ll be able to put your new pergola together quickly… Without paying for installation. These kits typically include all the brackets you need… You just supply the wood!

Absolutely! A pergola is an open structure… So its louvered panels and open sides will allow the grill to vent safely without trapping heat. If your pergola has vines growing on it… It’s safer to use a gas grill than a charcoal grill. This will prevent charcoal ashes from escaping and burning your vines!

A pergola comes with a small set of cons. It will likely require some maintenance, depending on what it’s made from… If it’s made of wood, it may get termites… And it is unlikely that it will increase your property value. While a fan will help keep a nice breeze blowing… You also will have trouble heating or cooling it since it is an open structure.

While it’s easy to confuse pergolas and pavilions… The main differentiator is that the roofs are different. A pavilion has a completely solid, closed roof… While a pergola’s roof is made of open slats or louvers. On average, a pavilion will also be larger than a pergola.

There is a huge price range for pergolas. The least expensive will be as little as $1,300… While the most expensive custom designs can be more than $10,000. The average is about $4,000. Including materials and installation… You’ll usually pay between $30 and $60 per square foot to build a pergola.

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