Can a pergola be used as a carport? (Considerations, costs and more)

Looking for an alternative to a garage or carport? Have you thought about installing a pergola or gazebo in your driveway? In this article, we’ll cover the key things to consider when using a pergola or gazebo for a carport and what features to look out for.

pergola as a carport hero

If you’re in the market for a semi-permanent or permanent structure for a carport then you may have come across pergolas and gazebos. These outdoor structures are popular for shade and outdoor living, and can also be a affordable solution for covered parking. You can even install them yourself!

In this article, we’ll talk about a couple of creative ways you can utilise a pergola or gazebo for more than just shade.

What is a carport?

A carport is a covered structure used to protect vehicles from sun, rain and snow. The structure can either be free-standing or attached to a wall. A carport often has at least two open sides.

Many people install a carport if they don’t have a garage available or need extra space to park a second vehicle in front a garage or nearby. The average single carport size in Australia is roughly 3m x 6m x 2.4m, but this can vary based on whether you build it yourself or buy one of the many carport kits available.

The pros of a carport include:

  • They are cheaper than building a garage
  • They come in a variety of materials to suit your design needs
  • With the right tools, you can install them yourself
  • They are reasonably quick to build
  • They usually don’t require a council permit or it’s a quick process if one is needed

Cons of a carport include:

  • Less versatile than a garage with walls
  • They may have a shorter lifespan than a garage
  • They are not ideal for storing gear that needs full protection from the elements
pergola carport

What is a pergola or gazebo?

A pergola is a structure that includes columns or pillars that support an open or closed beam or rafter-style roof. They come in a variety of materials including wood and metal and are often used for providing shade or as an extended living space to relax and shelter from the elements.

A gazebo is an open or freestanding structure often with a hexagonal or octagonal roof. Because of the roof shape, a gazebo will typically have six or eight posts that connect the roof to the ground. Some gazebos include built-in seating and are a great space for relaxing, enjoying the view and spending time with family.

Pergolas have increased in popularity over the last few years as they are easily converted into a variety of spaces including a carport for those needing extra shelter for their vehicles.

Pergola vs gazebo

Can you use a pergola for a carport?

Yes! Pergolas can make a great carport as they are typically a square or rectangular design and can be installed on any flat and level surface.

Pergolas are often used for carports as they come in a variety of styles, colours and materials to suit your current house exterior, they can also be painted to blend in with your house or to provide a design feature in a completely different shade.

As pergolas come in a variety of styles, it’s important to make sure you pick a design with a closed roof, rather than a traditional open beam structure, to provide quality protection for your car. You will also need to make sure the pergola is made out of quality materials such as anodised aluminium or steel to ensure it doesn’t rust or deteriorate over time.

Because pergolas are freestanding, you can place them directly next to your house, at the beginning of your driveway or anywhere on your property that is accessible. Some pergolas also have the option of adding extra height, so you can adjust them to suit a taller vehicle if needed and lower them to suit a more streamlined vehicle.

Carport pergola

What to look for when buying a pergola or gazebo

If you’re looking to use a semi-permanent or permanent structure like a gazebo or pergola for your carport, you’ll want to buy something that lasts and will look good for years to come. This is especially true if you need a carport to protect an item of value like your car, motorbike or expensive outdoor items.

Here are the top 4 things to consider:

1. Material. The best pergolas are made of powder-coated aluminium, which is both durable and strong, as well as providing a sleek, high-quality finish for your outdoor space.

2. Size options. A great pergola range will come in a variety of sizes, to best suit a variety of spaces and needs.

3. Warranty. If you are buying a quality product you should expect a 3-5 year warranty on the structure and a 1-year warranty on the components (motors, lights and electronics).

4. Extra features. Look for extra accessories and features like colour options, built-in lighting and shade blinds to make the space perfect for year-round use.

Be aware that most pergolas are semi-permanent fixtures that are attached to either a deck, concrete pad or exterior wall.

vortex pergola features

How much is a carport pergola?

In Australia, carport pergolas range in price from $600-3,000 for an entry-level pergola, $4,000-10,000 for mid-range pergolas and up to $50,000 for a custom-designed and built structure. You’ll also want to factor in installation costs on top of this. On average it will take 4-6 hours to install a pergola but it will take longer depending on the size and style of the structure. If you have the skills, then it is possible to install a pergola yourself.

Remember, if you are installing a pergola that has electrical wiring then we always advise to use a certified electrician to ensure it is safe and compliant with local council rules.

If you are hiring a professional to install your carport pergola, the cost of this will vary depending on the size and complexity of the project. Complicated installations could cost significantly more, especially if there are any local regulations to comply with. Because prices vary so much based on region, we can't give a price estimate here. You'll need to check directly with an installer for an estimate.

Please note, if you are installing the pergola on an existing driveway you will need to check that this is already level before installation. It may be that you require a concrete pad to provide a level surface for your car and the pergola. In which case, you’ll need to factor this into to the final costs.

pergola carport

Do carports add value to a home?

Yes, a well-installed, quality carport can add value to your home by providing additional space for car parking and protection for your vehicle. If your house doesn’t have a garage or has a small garage then adding extra sheltered space can help to increase the value of your home to futureproof your investment. Buyers will often look for things that are missing in a property, so adding a carport can help to tick a box when it does come to selling your property.

A carport can add value to your home by:

  • Providing a sheltered space for your car
  • Extra room for storage
  • They require very little maintenance
  • They can be used as an additional outdoor living space
  • A well-installed quality carport can add appeal to your home

Before you install a carport you may want to look around other properties for similar styles, and inspiration or talk to a professional to make sure you consider the best option for your home.

Multi use pergola


We hope this article has helped you understand your options if you want an alternative to a custom-built carport and how a pergola or gazebo could be the perfect solution for your parking or storage needs.

If you are looking for more information on pergolas or alternative shade options you can check out our other articles here.

If you have any questions or need any more help or advice, feel free to drop into your local Spa World Showroom.

You can also contact our customer care team via our website. We are happy to help

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