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Pergolas & Carports

Pergolas and carports are great additions to any outdoor space. A pergola is a beautiful and functional structure that provides shade and a sense of enclosure to a patio or deck, while also creating a space for climbing plants to thrive. On the other hand, a carport is an open-sided structure that is perfect for protecting your vehicle from the elements. 

Whether you're looking to create an outdoor living area, a place to park your car, or a little extra storage space, a pergola or carport can be the perfect solution. 

Below is your go-to guide for all things related to pergolas and carports, including design ideas, building tips, and maintenance advice. So, whether you're a seasoned DIYer or need professional help with your construction, you'll find the information you need to create the perfect pergola or carport for your home.

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  • Why build a pergola or carport?
  • Pergola and carport prices
  • What materials are best?
  • DIY vs. Professional Installation: Pros and Cons
  • Permits and Approvals
  • How to choose the right person to build your pergola or carport
  • Does my tradesperson need to be licensed?
  • Questions to ask your tradesperson

sun shining through timber beams of pergola

Why build a pergola or carport?

Advantages of a Pergola

Pergolas offer a variety of advantages for homeowners looking to enhance their outdoor living spaces. One benefit is the versatility of using a pergola for an outdoor kitchen. By installing a pergola in your backyard, you can create a functional cooking area that is protected from the sun and rain. You can hang lights and install a ceiling fan, making it comfortable to cook and dine in during hot summer days. 

The flexibility of pergola construction is another advantage, as they can be built from a number of materials. This includes wood, metal, or PVC, which offers a range of options for styles and budget. Additionally, pergolas can be freestanding structures or attached to the house, creating a seamless transition between indoor and outdoor living spaces. A pergola attached to the house can also increase the overall value and curb appeal of your property.

Benefits of a Carport

There are a number of advantages to installing a carport, making it an ideal choice if you don’t have the space or budget for a garage. Not only do they protect your car, bike, or boat from harsh weather conditions, but they also stop your seats from overheating, and provide a convenient space to unload the car when it’s raining.

When it comes to carports vs. garages, a carport has at least two open sides, while a garage is fully enclosed. A garage offers more protection, but a carport is easier to construct and gain relevant approvals (if necessary).

carport with white van parked underneath

Pergola and Carport Prices

Pergola Cost: How much does it cost to build a pergola?

The price of building a pergola will depend on a number of factors, such as the materials you choose, the style, and the pergola dimensions. The cost will also be influenced by what extra features you include, such as a pergola with built-in seating.

For example, you can build a pergola on a budget with timber for approximately $5–$25 per square metre, while on the more expensive end, a metal pergola will cost around $20–$30 per square metre. A concrete, stone, or brick structure usually will cost somewhere in between. You’ll then need to add flooring, which costs approximately $20–$50 per square metre.

Alternatively, you can buy all the materials together as DIY pergola kits, which is the perfect project for those handy on the tools. You can also buy a kit and have your tradie construct the pergola for you, saving you time and effort, and resulting in the best possible result. Pergola kits will usually cost between $2,300 to $4,000, depending on roofing options.

You can learn more in our pergola cost guide.

Cost of Building a Carport: Factors to Consider

The cost of building a carport in Australia can vary depending on factors such as the size and materials used. On average, the cost can range from $1,200 to $4,000 for carport kits or $5,000 to $15,000 upwards for a custom carport. 

The final price will take into account the following:

  • Size: The larger the carport, the more it will cost to build. The cost per square metre will depend on the materials and design of the carport.
  • Materials: Different materials, such as timber, steel, or aluminium, will have different costs. Timber carports are generally cheaper than steel or aluminium, but they require more maintenance.
  • Design: Simple and standard designs tend to be cheaper than more complex and custom designs. Learn which pergola design suits you.
  • Location: The cost of labour and materials can vary depending on the location. Building a carport in a rural area may be cheaper than building one in a major city.
  • Permits: You may need to obtain permits from your local council, which can add to the cost of building a carport.
  • Access: The location and accessibility of the site can also affect the cost. A carport that is easy to access will be cheaper to build than one that requires significant excavation or other site preparation.

It’s important to get quotes from several contractors to get a more accurate estimate for your specific carport ideas.

Read more in our carport cost guide.

pergola with curtains and fairy lights at night

What materials are best?

The best materials to construct a pergola from will depend on your specific needs and preferences. Some popular options include:

  • Timber: Timber is a popular choice for many modern pergola designs because it is relatively inexpensive, easy to work with, and can be painted or stained to match the colour of your home. However, it requires regular maintenance to protect it from weathering and rot.
  • Steel or Aluminum: Steel or aluminium pergolas are durable, low maintenance, and more resistant to weathering than timber. They are also more expensive than timber.
  • Fibreglass: Fibreglass pergolas are lightweight, corrosion-resistant, and require little maintenance. However, they can be more expensive than timber or steel/aluminium.
  • PVC: PVC pergolas are also low-maintenance, and they are often more affordable than fibreglass. They are also resistant to weathering, and are lightweight as well.
  • Stone or Brick: Stone or brick pergolas are very durable, but they can be very expensive to install and are heavy.

Common pergola flooring options include pavers, concrete, timber decking, tiles, grass, or gravel.

The most popular carport materials are timber or steel/aluminium, which have the same pros and cons as above, or polycarbonate, which is also UV-protected.

Ultimately, the choice of material will depend on your budget, the style of your home, the local weather conditions and the level of maintenance you’re willing to undertake.

Learn more about how to clean a pergola in our blog.

timber pergola above patio with outdoor table and bbq at sunset

DIY vs. Professional Installation: Pros and Cons

A DIY pergola or carport and a professionally-built version can both be great options, depending on your specific needs and preferences. Some factors to consider when deciding between the two include:

  • Skills and Experience: Building a pergola or carport requires a certain level of carpentry and construction skills. If you’re not confident in your ability to build either, it may be best to hire a custom pergola builder or carport builder.
  • Time: Building can be a time-consuming task, especially if you’re not familiar with the process of how to build a pergola frame or carport structure. Hiring a professional can save you time and allow you to enjoy your new pergola or carport sooner.
  • Quality: Professionally built pergolas and carports are likely to be of higher quality and built to last, as they are constructed by experienced professionals who use quality materials and techniques.
  • Safety: Building these additions can be dangerous, especially if you’re not experienced in construction. Hiring a professional can ensure that the pergola is built safely and to code.
  • Cost: DIY may be cheaper than professionally built pergolas or carports, as you only need to pay for the materials. However, if you make mistakes or have to buy additional materials, the cost can add up.
  • Warranty: Professionally-built pergolas and carports often come with a warranty on materials and workmanship, which can provide peace of mind if any issues arise after the pergola is built.

It’s important to note that building a carport may require permits and may have more specific regulations than building a pergola, so it's important to check with the local authorities and consult with professionals before starting any carport construction project.

Permits and Approvals

Can you build a pergola or carport without a permit?

In Australia, whether or not a permit is required to build a pergola or carport will depend on the laws and regulations in the specific state or council area where you live. 

In general, you’ll require a permit if it:

  • Exceeds a certain size, usually around 10 square metres or more
  • Is located in a specific zone, such as a heritage zone or bushfire-prone area
  • Is attached to a house or other building
  • Requires excavation or other site preparation

Check with your local council or state building authority to determine if a permit is required for your specific project. Failure to obtain the necessary permits can result in fines or penalties and may require you to remove or alter the structure. It’s always a good idea to consult with a professional contractor or architect to ensure that your pergola project is compliant with all local regulations and building codes.

timber pergola next to timber fence

How to Choose the Right Tradesperson

When it comes to finding pergola installers or carport builders, carpenters or handymen are typically the tradespeople for the job. When hiring a tradie, it is important to ask about their experience and qualifications.

Here are a few tips to finding the best business to complete your project:

1. Get Multiple Quotes

Enter the information outlining your pergola or carport job on, and we'll provide you with a list of local businesses who can help do the job.

2. Narrow Down Your Search uses a three-tier badge system to assist you in making the right choice.

We recommend selecting a tradie with the highest level (badge 3 – ‘recommended’) from our three-step verification process.

Badge levels are:

  1. Verified
  2. Trusted
  3. Recommended

3. Do Further Research

Once you’ve narrowed down your options, check out the tradie’s online presence to get an idea of their reputation and services.

View their website and social media pages to see customer reviews and the quality of their work in photos.

pergola attached to house with patio

Does my tradesperson need to be licensed?

In Australia, different states and territories have different requirements for licensing tradespeople. In general, carpenters and handymen may be required to be licensed or registered in certain states, but it can depend on the specific work they are doing and the area they are working in. 

It is recommended to check with the relevant authorities in your state or territory to determine if a licence is required for building pergolas and carports. Additionally, it would be wise to check the tradesperson's credentials and insurance before proceeding with the work.

Questions to Ask Your Tradesperson

Here are some questions you may want to ask when hiring a tradesperson to build your pergola or carport:

  • Can you provide references or a portfolio of previous work?
  • Are you licensed or insured?
  • How long have you been in business?
  • Do you have experience with specific types of carports or pergolas?
  • How do you communicate with clients during the building process?
  • Are you flexible with your schedule, and can you work on weekends if necessary?

These questions should help you get a better understanding of the tradie’s experience, qualifications, and approach to their work. You can also ask more specific questions depending on your pergola or carport design ideas, and make sure to get a detailed, written estimate of the work to be done and the cost involved.

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