This article reviews some of the most prominent brands making 10×12 pergola kits. Here, you’ll find answers to questions about structural integrity, ease of build, and other helpful information. We’ve included some tips that you generally need to know when buying a kit.
Looking for a particular material for your pergola? Skip right to it using the table below.
Cedar is a great pergola material because it is naturally rot, insect, and decay resistant, so it will stand the test of time if properly maintained.Let’s start with Leisure Time Products’ 10×12 cedar pergola kit. Leisure Time Products is the company name under which the brand Backyard Discovery is produced, so don’t be surprised if you find products under either name when searching for pergola kits to buy. This particular product is listed as a Leisure Time Product on Amazon, which is the same as Backyard Discovery.
It’s a beautiful design in the classic styling with four posts holding up a crisscrossed pattern roof. It has hollow wooden posts that are 100% cedar and pre-stained with a walnut finish giving it an attractive coloring. The interior space is 7’x9’, which matches the size of your standard 10×12 pergolas. It also has 6’7” of clear head room, so as long as you’re not living with professional basketball players, you all should be fine to stand upright without head injury.
This pergola is sturdy, able to withstand even a windy Chicago climate. It’s close to 400lbs of wood, and you’ll need at least two adults to build it. All in all, it can be unpacked and completed in about 4-6 hours with a dedicated team of two. Leisure Time Products feature their Safe-T-Fuse fastener system (patent pending) – a metal threading system that allows you to feel confident about the strength of your finished product.
The installation kit comes with everything you need to install into a concrete pad – footers, concrete screws, and mounts. If you would like to install this on a deck, you will need to purchase the necessities to post mounting brackets separately.
The product comes with a 5-year warranty on the wood and a one-year warranty on all other parts. It is a requirement of your warranty that you seal the wood each year, although most pergolas only need stained every two or three years. When you are restaining, it is also a good time to check the fasteners to make sure they are still snug.
Overall, we’d give this pergola an A rating. It’s attractive, easy to assemble, and the warranty is ample time to assess and resolve any issues. A bit of extra credit: if you’d like larger dimensions, you can buy two and fit them together to make a 10×24 pergola.
Our second review is of a Suncast 10 x 12 cedar pergola kit. It is made in the USA out of high quality unstained cedar and has fine craftsmanship and includes concrete mounting brackets and all of the hardware required to assemble. There are very few complaints about the pre-drilled holes aligning well, so there is little to no need to re-drill.
Standing out from most other pergolas, the dimensions from post-to-post are actually 10×12, and the cover spans 13’8”x11’. The total height of this pergola is 8’6”, as it has an arched cross-member design rather than the standard flat variety, with an inside clearance height of 7ft. All of the lumber is milled to create rounded edges and a smooth finish. This comes unstained so you will want to strongly consider staining and stealing, which you may want to do before assembling.
In terms of assembly, the instructions are well-written and easy to follow, making this project simple and straightforward. Total build time is similar to other kits mentioned, about 4-6 hours with two people.
Here are a few tips to use when building: add liquid nail, along with the screws provided for additional support and stability; use a longer screw bit to really drive the screws into the wood; be sure to line up the arched rafters so that your straight ones fit snuggly into the pre-made notches; and you may want to replace the supplied concrete anchors with stronger ones.
Overall, we would give this an A+ rating for quality craftsmanship, ease in assembling, and finished product appeal, and having a post-to-post dimension of 10×12. For those of you looking for a thriftier option, the added bonus here is that you get all of this for a reasonable price!
Moving on to the Garden Craft LLC 10 x 12 pergola kit. It’s made in the USA of California redwood from a sustainable forest. The total weight of this product is 200lbs, making the redwood lighter than other cedar options, yet the quality of the wood is strong. Redwood is naturally resistant to fire and insects as well as shrinking, warping, and checking, in addition to being beautiful.
The pergola measures 10×12 including the overhang, and its interior dimensions are 8×10 post-to-post with a clearance height of 7’6”. This pergola, like the cedar models, is sturdy enough for hanging vines or trailing plants, simply screw hooks directly into the wood and hang away.
The instructions are easy to follow, but there are a few complaints with the quality of craftsmanship. Some buyers have reported that some of the wood is mismatched and the pre-drilled holes are misaligned. If you are naturally gifted at building, these may not be roadblocks for you, just problems to solve. But if you’re looking for something ready to build out of the box, you may have some issues.
Overall, we give this a C+ rating for craftsmanship; though we give kudos to Garden Craft for using sustainable wood.
Finally, in our review is the New England Arbors Venetian 10×12 pergola kit. It is made of vinyl measuring 10×12 feet on the perimeter with inside dimensions of 9x9x7’6”. It has a total height of 9ft and a clearance height of 7’6”. This pergola comes in just one color: white, and it’s not recommended that you paint it. You shouldn’t want to either since one of the main perks of vinyl is that it is very low maintenance. Woods need regular staining, sealing or painting. Vinyl simply needs to be hosed down every now and again leaving you more time to relax in the pool.
The instructions are easy to follow, and it can be installed in concrete or on a wooden deck. If installing in concrete, you’ll need mounting brackets and hardware to set the posts into the ground, and you’ll also need additional lumber to insert into the main structural beams. The additional lumber required is (4)-4x4x8 pressure treated posts, (4) – 4x4x10 pressure treated posts and (4) . If you plan to mount it to your deck, you’ll need brackets, hardware, and 4-4x4x10 posts. You’ll want to factor in the additional costs of lumber and labor, if not building it yourself.
It comes with a 20-year manufacturer warranty, the best and longest of any so far, and the warranty applies to rotting, splitting, or cracking. It is not recommended to hang anything substantial on this pergola like a swing or swing bed; however, it can accommodate hanging vines.
We’d rate this pergola an A+ in its category. And a huge perk is the amount of maintenance needed – nearly none! You can simply hose it off to clean, and there’s no need to paint, stain, or seal it every year like you need to do with wood.
General Pergola Kit Advice
Tools you will need to install most pergola kits include the following:
- 24” level
- tape measure
- Philips screw driver
- an electric or cordless drill with the Phillips head
- socket drivers
- concrete drill bit attachments
- optional rubber mallet
Setting the posts in concrete:
You’ll want to take into consideration the actual dimensions of the posts if you’re planning to set them into concrete footers. This is because if you set your footers according to the overhang dimensions, the footers may not line up with the posts, since often the posts are inset from the overhang dimensions.
You will also want to be careful not to reduce the overall clearance height by setting the posts in concrete below the ground. Instead, you want to set them in concrete sonotube that is partially recessed in the ground and mostly above ground so that the posts themselves are not below grade inside the sonotube. Then you can come back and build wooden planter boxes around the sonotube or put masonry around them.
If this is more than you’d like to do, take heart. Many people find the pergola sturdy enough when attaching the concrete-post brackets, provided with most kits, to a concrete slab or to piers of concrete that can be poured where the pergola is to be installed.
There you have it folks, a rundown of some of the best 10×12 pergolas on the market. You’ve two great cedar options, a redwood, and a vinyl pergola to choose from, all competitively priced. If you’re a do-it-yourselfer that doesn’t mind a little upkeep, you’ll want to go for a wooden pergola, but if you’re looking for longevity without maintenance, a vinyl pergola will serve you well. If you’d like even more tips and information about pergolas before taking the plunge, check out this comprehensive article.
Hopefully, we’ve helped you think through the different factors involved in this purchase and given you some solid contenders to make your backyard beautiful! Come back and see us again for more reviews on other backyard structures, like metal gazebos, swings, and patio covers.