Deck and Pergola Cost Breakdown, Rationale + Sources

On Tuesday I shared a preview of our outdoor living space – if you can call photos from every possible angle a preview, ha!

Today, as promised, I’m sharing the full cost breakdown of the deck and pergola. Plus, feast your eyes on lots more photos, along with shoppable links for anyone who wants to recreate the space!

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve likely seen my week-by-week updates. Other than that, however, I was too exhausted (and way too pregnant) to attempt a proper documentation of the process. As a result, I don’t have any in-progress photos to share with you.

But here’s a little behind-the-scenes info: This project was quite different from most other home improvement projects we’ve tackled.

For starters, we hired out the labor (thank goodness), and we couldn’t be happier with the decision. For anyone local, I’ll be more than happy to share the name and contact information of our carpenter. Second, some of the materials – specifically the Trex composite decking – we salvaged from a demo site. Technically, it was free of cost but did require massive physical labor to properly clean and prep prior to use. Thirdly, a couple of the furniture and decor items were sponsored by some of our favorite brands and long-time blog partners, like Wayfair and Safavieh. But for the sake of an accurate cost breakdown, I’m including the true costs of our entire outdoor living space.

Here’s how the deck and pergola break down:

  • Trex composite decking: $2,500
  • Other materials: $1,500
  • Labor: $2,600

Materials and labor costs would obviously be lower if you were to forgo the pergola. Also, we opted not to include rails to save on costs and allow access from all sides of the deck. So that’s another factor that could greatly affect your overall budget. estimates average costs for a wood deck to be around $15 per square foot, compared to $35 per square foot for elaborate or composite decking.

Our deck is approximately 500 square feet. So although a total of about $7,000 is quite the investment, it’s significantly lower than the $17,500 national average for a Trex deck of the same size.

Besides, not that we plan on selling this house any time soon, but if we were, most of that cost would be recouped. A deck adds so much value to a home by way of living space square footage. What’s more, Trex composite decking is virtually maintenance-free – an obvious bonus for new home owners.

If nothing else, the investment is worth it because it gave us a large, comfortable space to enjoy and entertain in for approximately nine months out of a year. Can’t put a price on that!

Now, let’s talk about some of the furniture and accent pieces.

We chose IKEA’s ÄPPLARÖ drop-leaf outdoor dining table for its modern, simple aesthetic and, more importantly, affordability. We paired it with eight matching reclining chairs and black, full-seat cushions for a grand total of $788.92.

If you’ve ever shopped for outdoor dining sets that seat up to 10 people, you know just what a steal that is.

Besides the cost and style, another favorite feature of this set is the versatility; the table quickly and oh-so-easily converts from a 6-person fit to an 8- to 10-person fit, making it perfect for a casual weekday dinner or a more elaborate event like a baby shower.

(More on that in the coming days.)

Introducing Our New Deck and Pergola In Time for the Summer Solstice

The chairs, too, are easily foldable – perfect for off-season storing. And although I didn’t understand the appeal of a reclining chair at first, it’s proven quite handy with my pregnant (and dropping) belly, ha!

A lot of you have asked about the sheer curtains around the pergola.

They are the “Lill” lace curtains from IKEA – a whopping $4.99 per pair. Because they are quite sheer, we hung five pairs to make them fuller and create more privacy from the road (also to somewhat conceal the unmanicured lawn).

I initially bought the curtains as decor for my baby shower.

But after reading reviews from other bloggers, I decided to keep them up for the entire summer. The 10 panels were no more than $20, so it was worth a try. I sprayed them with Scotchguard Heavy Duty Water Shield, and they’ve held up fine thus far, despite quite a few stormy weeks. The fact that they’re sheer and super lightweight allows them to dry extremely fast.

The only downside to the lightness of the curtains is that they go wild in the wind. I’ve yet to sew small weights to the bottom to keep them somewhat in place, but that shouldn’t be too difficult. I’m thinking plain ol’ metal washers will do the job just fine.

In the seating area we have the Zumwalt 4-piece set from Wayfair. I received the set as part of a campaign I took part in two years ago. But because we never had a proper deck, it’s been gathering dust in the storage ever since.

We’re so excited to finally put it to use! The fact that it’s held up all this time despite a total lack of maintenance is a huge testament to its quality.

Introducing Our New Deck and Pergola In Time for the Summer Solstice

I love that the cushion covers are removable and washable, although I’ve yet to actually wash them.

Once I do, I’ll report back on just how that goes.

In the meantime, I’ve sprayed some of the cushions with the same Scotchguard Heavy Duty Water Shield.

Why some, you ask? Halfway into the process I realized that using chemicals while 8 months pregnant is not the brightest idea. Before Vadim could finish spraying the rest, however, a massive thunderstorm came through.

If nothing else, it was a test to see just how effective the product is.

Lo and behold, the cushions that were sprayed with Scotchguard were spotless post-thunderstorm. The others, however, were a bit of a mess and will need to be properly cleaned before Scotchguard can be applied.

To ground the seating area and separate it visually from the dining space, we used the Courtyard Crest Trellis outdoor rug (a gift from our friends at Safavieh).

An outdoor rug adds so much character to the space, wouldn’t you agree?

It also does a great job of extending the living space outdoors and concealing the not-yet-stained deck.

For this particular photoshoot, I brought out a few indoor items to properly style the space, including the nesting tables (originally poppy red, but I spray-painted them gold), the knit storage table (similar here), the Ragkorn plant pot from IKEA and a comfy cotton throw (similar here).

Inspired by Emily Henderson’s patio, I couldn’t help but add lots of black lanterns into the mix to create a more intimate setting and set a romantic mood.

If anything catches your eye, you can find the full list of sources at the end of this post. Target, Home Goods and At Home are all great options for sourcing outdoor lanterns, but IKEA is, by far, the least expensive.

Again, for this particular shoot (which took place a couple of days after my baby shower), I took full advantage of all the floral arrangements from the event (gifted to us by a wonderful company called The Bouqs, who specialize in fresh-from-the-farm flower deliveries) to add a much-needed pop of color to the space.

The blooms were oh-so-perfectly arranged by a local event planning company called L&A Event Design (thank you, Larissa!).

The lower portion of the deck currently houses the grill, which Vadim has been putting to great (and frequent!) use.

It’s a Brinkmann, which has since been discontinued. That explains how we scored ours second-hand on Craigslist for $80 rather than the original $400+.

If treasure hunting is your cup of tea, check out my tips for shopping on Craigslist and scoring good deals.

As I mentioned in Tuesday’s post, we still have a few projects to finish here, like staining the deck (possibly a charcoal gray?), painting the pergola white and planting lots of plants that will eventually wind their way up the pergola posts and settle in quite nicely across the beams.

For now, however, we’ve hung these candle holder orbs with tea lights inside, which add the perfect dose of romance for late-night dinner parties.

I was a bit worried about mixing glass and real candles on a wooden deck. Surprisingly, they’ve held up quite well, despite the stormy weather we’ve had.

We also hope to add a fire pit on the lower portion of the deck, along with two lounge chairs. I want to create a more intimate conversation setting that’ll be perfect for bonfires and s’mores in the fall.

I might even add a couple outdoor throw pillows. Although if you know me well, you’ll know I’m SO not a fan of the piles-of-pillows look. (Have you seen my sofa? Not a pillow in sight…)

And don’t even get me started on the landscaping…seeing all that dirt drives my OCD brain insane.

But Vadim has made so much improvement already – even since these photos were taken. For example, he’s planted a row of fast-growing evergreen trees along the front yard to block out our unsightly neighbors across the street. He will eventually do the same all along the side yard. Not only will that add much-needed privacy to our property but also eliminate noise from the road.

In closing of this rather lengthy post, I hope you found it rather helpful. If you have any questions, I’ll be happy to answer them in the comments section, below.

I’ll keep you updated as we make more progress, but in the meantime, I’d love to hear your thoughts! How important is an outdoor living space for you? If you were in our shoes, would you have done anything differently?

Thank you to Wayfair, Safavieh and The Bouqs for gifting us some of the previously-mentioned furniture and decor items. All writing and opinions are always my own and never influenced by gifted products or any type of compensation.

Thanks for supporting the brands that make possible!

Shop the Deck, by Category

FURNITURE: 4-PIECE SEATING SET, Wayfair  |  OUTDOOR DINING TABLE, IKEA  |  RECLINING DINING CHAIRS, IKEA  |  GRILL, Craigslist  |  GOLD NESTING TABLES, Wayfair  |  KNIT STORAGE TABLE, The Container Store (Similar available at Wayfair)

LIGHTING: BLACK OUTDOOR WALL LIGHTS, Lowe’s (Similar available at Wayfair)  |  BLACK CANDLE LANTERNS, Target, At Home and IKEA (Also available on Amazon)  |  HANGING CANDLE HOLDER ORBS, Amazon

UPHOLSTERY, FABRICS, THROWS AND RUGS: RUG, Safavieh  |  CHAIR CUSHIONS, IKEA  (Also available on Amazon) |  LACE CURTAINS, IKEA (Also available on Amazon)  |  THROW, At Home (Similar available on Amazon)  |  PINK NAPKINS, Bed Bath & Beyond

DECOR AND ACCESSORIES: CURTAIN RODS: IKEA  |  PLANT POT, IKEA  |  PLANT, Lowe’s  |  TEA LIGHTS, Bed Bath & Beyond  |  WHITE PILLAR CANDLES, Amazon  |  FLATWARE, Target  |  PLATES, Amazon  |  WINE GLASSES, IKEA  (Also available on Amazon)  |  WATER GOBLETS, IKEA (Also available on Amazon)  |  BRASS CANDLE HOLDERS, Vintage (Similar available at Chairish)  |  PINK CANDLES, Amazon  |  WHITE VASES, Vintage (Similar available at Chairish)  |  BLACK VASE, At Home  |  GOLD VASE, At Home


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  1. Pingback: Introducing Our New Deck and Pergola In Time for the Summer Solstice

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