Pergola Sizing: Choosing the Perfect Size For Your Yard

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Large backyard pergola with a solid roof and patio furnsiture to enjoy the green grass


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Patio & Yard


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If you are planning on adding a pergola to your backyard, there are several elements that you will need to consider. One of the most important will be finding the perfect size. Too small, and you will be cramped.

But the bigger the pergola , the more expensive it will become. So, what is the perfect pergola size? 

It’s most common for a pergola to be six feet by eight feet. This will provide enough space to house two people. For a larger group, it’s most common to have a pergola that’s 10 feet by 14 feet. The most common roof height is between eight to ten feet.  

Trying to find the right pergola size can be a challenge. There are multiple factors that you will need to consider. Keep reading to learn how to find the ideal backyard pergola size .  

Large backyard pergola with a solid roof and patio furnsiture to enjoy the green grass

How Big Should A Pergola Be?

The most common sizes are six feet by eight feet and 10 feet by 14 feet. It’s rare to see a pergola over 20 feet by 20 feet.  Many people find it can be easier to create a mock layout. This gives a better idea of what the pergola’s interior will feel like. 

Before answering this question, it’s essential to consider what you will be using the pergola for. Here are some questions that you should ask yourself: 

  • How much do you want to spend? 
  • Where will you be installing the pergola? Are there any obstacles, like trees, that you need to worry about? 
  • Will you be installing a free-standing pergola or one linked to your house? This might affect how tall it needs to be and any permit or approval needed to build. 
  • Are you planning on having furniture or installing electronic devices? 
  • Is there a landscaping feature, like a pool, that you want to orient the pergola with? 

The most important consideration is how many people will be using it. Your pergola should offer a chance to relax, not make you feel trapped in a confined space.

A simple way to find the right size is by taking some pegs and marking out the corners of the pergola in the backyard. Then, you can add any furniture that you want. 

Next, look at the layout and walk around in your pergola. Does it feel spacious enough? If not, you might consider moving to the next size up. 

As you are doing this, it’s essential to consider the layout of the pergola furniture. Sometimes, there might be some rules that you need to follow. For example, you might need to have some distance between a barbecue and a wall, to reduce the fire risk. 

When you have finished, look at the peg positions and consider how it is positioned concerning everything else in the backyard.

Ideally, there should be a little distance between the fence, and it shouldn’t be blocking a path. You should also avoid making a large pergola that overwhelms the space.

The most common pergola sizes(1) are: 

  • 6 feet by 8 feet
  • 10 feet by 10 feet
  • 10 feet by 14 feet
  • 12 feet by 16 feet
  • 16 feet by 16 feet
  • 16 feet by 20 feet
  • 20 feet by 20 feet

It should be noted that these sizes are based on the size of the beams in the roof. As a result, you will need to add a few feet to compensate for this so you have enough interior space.

When in doubt, it’s best to choose a slightly larger size. This ensures that you will have plenty of interior space. 

Next, you will need to consider the roof height. The standard is eight feet high. Though, if you are planning on installing electrical elements, you might want to get something that is a little higher. This gives you some room to put in the wiring.

If you plan to attach the pergola to the house, you will need to consider the height of the roof. It’s rare for the beams of a pergola to be higher than your house roof. 

wooden pergola in a backyard space with trees

What Is The Most Common Pergola Size? 

Most pergolas will be 6 feet by 8 feet(2). This should be large enough to accommodate two people and smaller furniture items, like a table. 

If you want to host a family gathering, it might be best to use a pergola that is 10 feet by 14 feet. This should be large enough to host six people and have some furniture space; 16 feet by 20 feet will allow you to host around ten people comfortably. 

Anything over 20 feet by 20 feet is rare. These pergolas will take up much of the backyard and be very expensive to install. Because of this, they are usually reserved for landscape features, like being used for decking. 

If you want one of the larger sizes, it’s recommended that you turn to a custom-building company. You might not be able to find a kit pergola that is large enough.

The construction process will be more complex, as you might need to add a few more support posts. 

How Big Are The Posts And Rafters? 

The next thing to consider is the size of the rafters. These will determine the amount of shade you receive beneath the pergola. There are a few standard sizes(3)

  • 2 inches by 6 inches
  • 2 inches by 8 inches

If you want more shade, you might opt to add a metal mesh or a shade sail. 

When it comes to the posts, you’ll need to get something that will be thick enough to support the rafters. Typically, this means that the posts will be: 

  • Four inches by four inches. However, this is only common for smaller pergolas. 
  • Six inches by six inches
Pergola in an amazingly green backyard with patio furniture to relax on

How Big Can A Pergola Be? 

There is no size limit on a pergola. However, seeing a roof over 12 feet is rare, as this will require council approval. Usually, they will be a maximum of 20 feet by 20 feet. If the pergola is more extensive than this, it will need more than four beams to support the roof. 

There usually isn’t any limit on how large a pergola can be. But there are a few things that you will need to keep in mind. It’s rare to see a pergola that’s over 12 feet high.

If you plan on putting in a structure over this high, you must seek approval from the council. 

Generally, there isn’t any limit on how long and wide the pergola can be.

However, you should check your area’s council and housing association rules. Sometimes, you might be required to seek permission before you can start building. 

You might consider installing six or eight beams instead of four for a larger pergola. This will provide more structural support.

Plus, you’ll need to make sure you use larger beams. You might also mean that you are putting them deeper into the ground. 

How Does Lawn Growth Affect the Size of a Pergola in My Yard?

The rate at which lawns growing faster than neighbors can impact the size of a pergola in your yard. A larger lawn may require a bigger pergola to maintain the aesthetic balance, while a smaller lawn could be complemented by a more modest pergola. Consider your lawn’s growth when planning your outdoor space.

Final Thoughts

The perfect pergola size will depend on the type of furniture and the number of people it has to hold.

The good news is that it shouldn’t take too much experimentation to find the right size and shape to suit your lifestyle.