Yes, I think backyard pergolas are great – but that doesn’t mean that a portable pergola is great for everyone. As with anything in life, they have both pros and cons. That’s what I’m going to talk about here.
The Advantages of a Portable Pergola:
1. Mobile Structures Cost Less
If you are on a budget or simply want to save money, the low price factor is attractive. Custom-built structures are definitely more expensive because they use more expensive materials and of course labor.
The cost savings isn’t small, either. In some cases, you could get 4 or 8 DIY pergola kits for the price of a contractor-built version of the same size. Price is definitely something to consider.
2. No Contractor Required for Installation
In addition the cost factor, some homeowners don’t want to deal with contractors. Not that I have anything against these pros, but as a customer you have to take time to research and find a good builder, schedule meetings and have workers at your house.
To some people, this effort is not worth the hassle, and it’s simply easier to have a pergola kit drop-shipped to their door and assemble the structure themselves on their own time and their own convenience.
3. Lighter-Weight Outdoor Structures are Portable
Many portable pergolas are so lightweight that two people can easily pick them up and move them. This means that if you host a special event, wedding or want to re-arrange your backyard, portability becomes a big advantage.
4. Less Maintenance
Many DIY kits have frames that are constructed of steel, aluminum or vinyl. These are all low-maintenance materials when compared with wood, which needs to be re-stained or painted every few years.
This is another big benefit, unless you are looking for more yard projects. =)
The Disadvantages of Portable Pergolas:
1. Lightweight Pergolas or Less Stable
Due to the fact that many of these pergolas are lightweight, they are not as stable either. Most do come with anchoring systems which enable you to secure them to a deck, patio or stake them into the ground, but they are still not as stable as a heavier, permanent structure.
You need to take extra care if you live in an area that gets heavy snow or frequent windy conditions. Ultra lightweight models might be better off disassembled and stored in the garage for half the year.
2. You Have to Put the Structure Together Yourself
Yes, these DIY projects require more time and work. Some people enjoy them while others do not. You know yourself best. Do you really want to tackle a pergola project?
3. They are Smaller
This is not always true, but you can usually count on a portable pergola being smaller than the traditional contractor-built alternative. Measure the size before you buy and make sure it fits well with the furniture pieces you want to use. Some retail photos can be somewhat deceiving.
4. Cheaper Frames May Not Last as Long
Although they require less maintenance, movable outdoor structures have the tendency to wear out (or look that way) more over time. Of course, we sort of expect this when we pay less for an item, but it is worth mentioning.
On the flip side, product lifetime may not matter as much to you if you are a renter or simply want an overhead canopy that you can use occasionally for summertime parties or special events. The cost savings is what you are looking for.