Throw Some Shade into Your Yard with This Easy, Affordable Pergola Kit
Every editorial product is independently selected, though we may be compensated or receive an affiliate commission if you buy something through our links. Ratings and prices are accurate and items are in stock as of time of publication.
Cool off and spiff up your outdoor living space with this low-cost Family Handyman Approved pergola kit.
Adding a pergola kit to your backyard space is a simple way to create some shade, boost your home’s curb appeal and spruce up an existing deck or patio.
Pergola kits come in many sizes and materials, costing from a few hundred to more than ten thousand dollars. So when I came across one on Amazon for about $500, I bought a Purple Leaf Pergola Kit and had it shipped my way.
What is the Purple Leaf Pergola Kit?
Purple Leaf Pergola Kits feature dark gray powder coated aluminum. They’re available in 10- x 10-ft., 10 -x 12-ft. and 10- x 13-ft. footprints, all eight feet tall. They also come with a retractable UV-protectant fabric sunshade in a choice of four colors.
For my sparse concrete patio, I chose the 10- x 12-ft. kit with a gray fabric sunshade. It shipped from China in a single 94-lb. box, plump-full of pieces. A single bag contained a plethora of hardware, including Allen wrenches.
How We Tested It
On a weekday afternoon with no rain or other obligations, I assembled the Purple Leaf Pergola Kit over my poured concrete patio.
Upon reading the instructions, it became evident the 3-mm Allen wrench wasn’t hefty enough drive the 150+ bolts. Instead, I outfitted a drill with a 3-mm bit and dialed back the torque control far enough to prevent stripping out the bolt holes.
Then I set up my work area. You’ll need a pair of sawhorses or something similar to support all these long aluminum components. I rolled out my mechanic’s stool and built the long pieces across the two halves of the kit’s large box, which worked fine.
While assembling the four corner posts on the ground, the thinness of the aluminum walls concerned me. I grabbed my caliper and found out it was 18-gauge, a hair thinner than a cookie sheet. The process reminded me of building an IKEA cabinet, complete with plastic fastener covers that match the exterior color.
Continuing on, I used plywood scraps and wood clamps to hold the corner posts in place until I could get the outside beams and rafters together and secured. The instructions say a helper makes this step easier, but I didn’t have one available.
As soon as the three center rafters were in place, I hung the polyester fabric sunshade on its rollers. I went around with a T-handle Allen wrench, hand-tightening all the screws and placing the plastic color-matching covers over their heads. Almost six hours later, the kit was complete!
Given the cost, I was surprised at how well the finished product turned out. Though the sunshade doesn’t roll super-smoothly and I’ll likely lose some of the plastic bolt head covers, it’s a good looking, visually appealing addition to our patio.
My biggest concern? It’s really lightweight, so it rattles when the wind blows, and I’ll hold my breath whenever someone leans on it. However, I’m confident it will withstand the elements just fine.
What I Like
- Single, compact shipment;
- Zero maintenance aluminum finish;
- Easy to assemble;
- Looks great.
What I Dislike
- Thin gauge aluminum construction;
- Inadequate tools provided, unless you have all day.
Q: Is it possible to hang curtains in this pergola?
A: Yes. A wide selection of aftermarket pergola curtains would work well.
Q: The retractable awning must be removed for winter. Is that a long process?
A: It took about 15 minutes to put it up. I would anticipate taking it down for winter would take about the same amount of time. Keep the metric Allen wrench and instruction manual handy in case you need to refer to them.
What Others Thought
Darlene, who purchased the kit on Wayfair with the khaki colored sunshade, writes: “It came in and was amazed at the packaging it was in great shape. Husband put it up by himself. For the money I think we have done very well. Seems to be good quality. We shall see in a year of Texas heat and wind how it fairs. So far so good.”
And in Paul Dinardi’s Amazon review, he writes: “My only complaint and why it’s not getting five stars, the [gauge] on the material is very very thin, pretty close to downspout gutter material, reinforced at seams by plates … Overall, we’re very happy, but it’s absolutely quantified by the price. I’d certainly like an option to pay a little more for better quality materials, but the design is great, easy to assemble.”
Purple Leaf Pergola Kits are a terrific choice if you’re looking for something inexpensive and easy to assemble. No trips to the lumber yard or home center necessary. And while its construction is not robust as some may prefer, its sturdy nature and maintenance-free aluminum design will ensure it stays in great shape well into the future.