How much does a premium deck and pergola cost in New Zealand?

High-end deck and pergola cost estimate
ARTICLE Libby Schultz

A high-end deck or pergola outdoor landscape design in New Zealand is likely to cost in the region of $30,000 - $50,000+. Our advice below will help you keep your costs in check. Of if you are looking to add a deck or pergola, with a smaller budget read cost estimates for mid-range and basic decks and pergolas.

Should I hire professionals to install my deck?

For large-scale decking projects, you’re likely to have a full team of professionals on board. Depending on your proposed building site, you may need to start with a geotech report or engineer’s assessment.

Your sub-floor system may be more sophisticated, involving a second-storey and the need for concrete and waterproof membranes. Steps and balustrading will need resource consent, so you’ll need to allow for extra compliance costs.

High-end staired deck leading to a pool

Balustrading is a key style choice that can make-or-break the overall look (and, of course, add a bunch to the budget). Different materials include glass, aluminium, wrought iron or timber. All fixing systems should be chosen to complement the deck.

“When it comes to the finish, we’re seeing a trend towards ‘secret deck fixings’ that create cleaner lines,” says Ben of Adobo.

What material options are there for building a deck?

If you have a bit more to spend, you’re likely to change up to one of the hardwoods.  There’s a vast array of hardwood varieties available from local timber merchants these days – sourced from North and South American, Europe, Africa, South Pacific and Asia.

The choice can be bewildering…but it can be whittled down by following your conscience. No-one wants to think their flash new deck has contributed to the destruction of an indigenous forest somewhere.  Look for approval by the independent Forest Steward Council (FSC), which tells you whether the wood is sustainably-grown.

The most popular hardwoods among Kiwi home-owners are kwila and Vitex, which have become the go-to hardwoods over the past 10 years.

Outdoor deck with outdoor kitchen and dining area, flowing into living room

Deck by Abodo Wood

“You’re looking at around $250 to $500 per square metre installed for most quality hardwoods, or wood plastic composites,” says Ben Campbell.

Vitex is a natural hardwood, imported from the Solomon Islands, that eventually ages to an attractive silver grey. It is very durable, and ideal for decking in coastal locations. It is not available with FSC certification, however, and the forestry resource is now dwindling.

While kwila is a hardwearing alternative to pine, its environmental credentials aren’t so great.  While there is some FSC-certified kwila available, “you’ll need to look hard to find it.”

One alternative to hardwood is Abodo’s Sand+ decking. With its vertical grain and plant-based oil pre-finish, it weathers similarly to a hardwood; but is in many cases more durable and comes from a local renewable FSC-certified resource.

What is solid composite wood?

Wood composite decking is widely used in the States, and has been available in New Zealand for almost 10 years. It is a hybrid made from waste timber fibre and recycled plastic; and can be laid over a regular timber or aluminium sub-structure.

Pool deck with glass balustrade

Composite deck by BiForm

The cost is comparable to many of the hardwoods – so it’s not out of reach to those with a mid-range budget, or even a basic budget (for a smaller deck).

According to Tau Aupaau from BiForm, home-owners are choosing this alternative product for one simple reason.

“People tell us this all the time at trade shows – they are sick and tired of having to re-stain or repaint their decks. With wood composite, you choose your colour and that’s it. There’s no staining, oiling or painting.”

Dachshund Decks is currently the only New Zealand composite decking to have BRANZ appraisal. BiForm has also recently added to their range a new sub-floor product, called DeckChair, which is a rubber joist mount for use with membrane decking or concrete floors.

How to create an outdoor room with decking?

An upper-end budget gives you the freedom to create more than a deck – it can be a whole new room or living area of the house. With the ability to add a roof, walls, heating and lighting; this space moves beyond a summer-only area into a year-round asset.

Pool deck with pergola covering outdoor lounge furniture

Landscape design by Designer Jules Moore

You’ll also have more options on activities within the space – when you include things like a fully-spec kitchen, built-in daybeds, or a poolside bar.

“Most people with a larger budget to spend want some kind of outdoor kitchen,” says Matt from Zones.

“At the very top end, you can recreate your house kitchen – so you don’t need to go indoors for anything. As well as the cooking facilities like the barbeque and pizza oven, you can create a wall with a bench, sink, storage and an outdoor fridge.”

How to create a louvred room?

Remember the old days when a corrugated plastic roof was the latest in outdoor living chic?!

Things have certainly moved on – with modern shutter and louvre systems that are things of architectural beauty (not to mention feats of engineering).

New addition deck and pergola with outdoor lounge and fireplace, flowing through to dining area

Louvred room by Designer Jules Moore

Louvred walls and ceilings allow you to create your own outdoor micro-climate; by giving you control over the level of sun, shade, rain, wind and noise you allow in.

There are basic flat-pack options, which a handyperson can install themselves; right up to fully-automated versions, and those that retract completely to reveal the open sky.

As a very rough price guide, an installed louvred roof costs around $1,000 per square metre.  If you want the remote-controlled version, budget on $1500 per square metre.

Lighting design and outdoor sound systems

Other luxury must-haves to factor in include lighting design and outdoor sound systems (although with the advances in wireless sound systems, you may choose to save on wiring).

Multi-leveled deck with stairs and in-built seating areas

Decking design by Designer Jules Moore

“In outdoor areas, you really want to create mood lighting,” says Matt from Zones.

“You can run LED strip lighting around the pergola, or incorporate down-lighting on stair areas. Just avoid anything harsh…no-one wants spotlights shining in their eyes. If your deck is close to the garden, you can let your garden lights do double-duty.”

Most upper-end deck projects will feature elements of built-in seating, planting and storage. Designer upholstery will add that plush resort-feel styling, along with other interior design principles to prevent the space looking stark.

After all, it is your newest room in the house!

If you have a tighter budget, make sure you read about Basic or Mid-range pergola and deck.


Get in touch with Zones to discuss your landscaping project

If you would like to discuss options and ideas for your outdoor renovation project, please use the enquiry form on this page to provide us with your contact details. We will get in touch with you at a time that suits you to discuss your landscaping design and build. If you would like to provide us with more information about your project, we have a more comprehensive enquiry form on our "Get in touch" page too.

*Costs are rough estimates and are subject to change. For a fixed-quote accurate to your specific project, please consult your local Zones landscaping specialist. All Zones franchises are independently owned and operated.

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