Nobody NEEDS a Pergola.
What makes pergolas so cool? You don't really NEED them. Unlike many other things in a yard (fences, walls, etc.) their utility is simply to be a beautiful place to gather under. Having a pergola built will certainly add some flavor to your home’s exterior, and may even raise the value of your home a bit, but its real purpose is closer to art than necessity.
If you've ever traveled to a warm destination outside the NW, you've probably enjoyed dinner or coffee sitting under canopies of vines (grapevines, wisteria, etc) at some point. Building a pergola is an excellent way to recreate that vibe at your own home. Even if you choose not to have vines on them, they are still excellent sources for shade during hot summer months, or you can add clear roofing material to make them dry places to hang under during our rainy season in Tacoma.
Pergolas are similar to both arbors or gazebos, but they’re a distinct type of construction. They are generally bigger than arbors, and less confined than gazebos. Pergolas also aren’t built on a raised platform like gazebos are and they have a flat "roof" that rests on top of large posts as opposed to angled. The flat "roof" on a pergola can be open to the air or covered, depending on the style desired. Furthermore, they can be freestanding or attached to a home — in which case the pergola becomes almost like an additional room of the house.
Woods, metals, and vinyls are all common materials out of which pergolas can be built. We don't have a stock price for these type of projects, as the price always varies and will depend on the materials and dimensions you choose for your pergola. The cost will also depend on whether you want the roof open or covered. To give a general estimate, the price range for these structures falls between $3,000 for a very simple cedar pergola all the way up to $15,000+ for a custom built metal/hardwood pergola.