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Alfresco vs Pergola Cost Comparison: Which One is More Affordable?

When it comes to outdoor living spaces, alfresco and pergola are two of the most popular choices. Both provide an excellent way to extend your living area, while enjoying the fresh air and sunshine. In this post, we’ll compare the cost of building an alfresco and pergola, and help you decide which one is more affordable and suitable for your needs.

A Pro Tip

Before deciding on building an alfresco or pergola, consider your local council's regulations and requirements for building permits. In some areas, building an alfresco may require more permits and approvals due to its fully enclosed nature. Knowing these regulations beforehand can help you plan and budget accordingly, and avoid any costly surprises down the line.

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Differences between Alfresco and Pergola

Before we get into the cost comparison, it’s essential to understand the difference between an alfresco and a pergola. An alfresco is a fully enclosed outdoor space, typically attached to the house, with a roof, walls, and flooring. On the other hand, a pergola is an open outdoor structure with a roof, but no walls. A pergola often has an open lattice or slatted roof that allows some light to pass through.

Cost Comparison between Alfresco and Pergola 

The cost of building an alfresco or pergola can vary significantly depending on several factors. However, in general, an alfresco is more expensive than a pergola due to its additional features such as walls, flooring, and roofing. On average, the cost of building an alfresco can range from $10,000 to $50,000 or more, while a pergola can cost between $3,000 to $8,000.

Factors that affect the cost of Alfresco and Pergola 

Several factors can influence the cost of building an alfresco or pergola, including:

  1. Size: The larger the alfresco or pergola, the more expensive it will be to build.
  2. Material: The type of material you choose for your alfresco or pergola can significantly impact the overall cost. For example, hardwood or composite materials are more expensive than softwood or aluminum.
  3. Roofing: The roofing material you select can also affect the cost. For instance, Colorbond roofing is typically more expensive than polycarbonate roofing.
  4. Labor: The cost of labor can vary depending on the complexity of the project and the experience of the builder.


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Pros and Cons of Alfresco and Pergola 

Each outdoor living space has its advantages and disadvantages. Here are some pros and cons of building an alfresco and pergola:

Alfresco Pros and Cons

  • Pros: Fully enclosed, provides protection from the elements, versatile, can be used for multiple purposes, can add value to your property.
  • Cons: More expensive than a pergola, can take longer to build, may require building permits, can be more difficult to maintain.

Pergola Pros and Cons

  • Pros: Less expensive than an alfresco, provides shade and shelter, enhances outdoor living space, can be easier to maintain, allows for more natural light.
  • Cons: Offers less protection from the elements, may not be as versatile as an alfresco, may require additional shade or privacy solutions.


Choosing between an alfresco and pergola depends on your budget, the intended use, and the level of protection from the elements you need. While alfresco is typically more expensive than a pergola, it provides full protection from the elements and can be used for various purposes. On the other hand, a pergola is more affordable and can enhance your outdoor living space with its open design. With this comparison, we hope to have helped you determine which one is more suitable for your needs and budget.

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