Timber decks and pergolas are summer essentials

With the warm weather almost behind us the time for building timber decks and pergolas has also come to an end. Or has it? If the price is right, now is as good a time as any to spruce up your alfresco area.

Timber decks and pergolas are summer essentials. If you have a sprawling backyard it’s really your duty to put the space to good use.

With everyone taking refuge from the weather indoors, the colder months offer a great opportunity for carpenters to get busy outdoors.

Without the pressure of a looming summer BBQ they can take their time to get the job done properly.



Building a timber deck seems easy enough – especially to all those handy hubbies. But to ensure the job is done properly you should enlist the help of a professional carpenter. If solid foundations aren’t put in place by an expert, safety will be an issue.  

The essentials to building a safe deck are as follows:

  • Dig stump holes around 600mm deep and fill with cement. Stumps should be set at least 1.5 metres apart.
  • Attach bearers to the stumps. Bearers carry the weight of the deck and the type and thickness depends on the distance between the stumps.
  •  Set out joists in the same way on top of the bearers.
  • Ensure you are using quality nails and materials. Outdoor decks are exposed to the elements so use of the correct hardware will increase the longevity of your deck.



The same applies when building a pergola – an experienced carpenter will be able to tell you from the onset what works and what doesn’t.  

Below are a few things you could keep in mind when working out what style of pergola you’d like:

  • Gable shaped roofs cost more but are cooler and brighter than flat roof pergolas.
  • Roof sheeting can be positioned to manipulate light and heat. For instance, steel roof sheets should be positioned on the side that gets direct sun most of the time, polycarbonate (or laserlite) sheets should be positioned in the other areas.
  • Polycarbonate roof sheets generally require a minimum roof slope of 5 degrees. Consider this if building a flat roof pergola by connecting to the house eave. You may find the roof gets too low to be legal. You can alleviate the problem somewhat by connecting the pergola to a higher point on the house, say through the roof tiles with roof extenda brackets, however this may change the appeal of the pergola.
  • The number of posts and the position of them. You need to decide if you want more posts and smaller beams between them, or fewer posts and chunky beams. Cost wise it doesn’t seem to matter that much, however it may help you decide which material to use.

Low demand, low prices

Outdoor climate control

Just like landscaping, carpentry can be seasonal. Those who specialise in crafting outdoor recreational structures, like decks and pergolas, often take a hit when the weather turns nasty. 

Homeowners can take advantage of this lull, in the form of lower prices. Quotes website ServiceSeeking.com.au has noted decreases in the cost of some carpentry services like decking, with prices dipping from $65* per hour to around $35 per hour.

It’s safe to say that on average carpenters on the site charge a pretty constant $45 per hour, however most carpenters quote on a square metre basis.

Decking costs around $180 per square metre and the total cost of the average decking job on   the site clocks in at $3,960. This will get you a budget 20 square metre deck. For something a little bigger or better quality you can expect to pay up to $11,000. The cost of a pergola ranges from $4,000 -$9,000.

Read more: Pergola and gazebo ideas

* This data was derived from more than 1,000 quotes submitted on the site in the last 12 months.

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