Outdoor living spaces are becoming increasingly popular, allowing homeowners to extend their living areas and enjoy the fresh air. Pergolas are a great way to provide shade and shelter in your backyard or patio.
Two popular DIY pergola kits are Toja Grid and Bjorn. But which one is right for you?
This comprehensive guide examines the key features, pros, cons, costs and installation process for both Toja Grid and Bjorn pergola kits to help you decide.
A Brief Comparison Table
|Modular slatted grid
|Post and beam
|Cedar wood, steel
|Highly customizable sizing and layout
|Some built-in options, less flexibility
|$3,000 – $7,000
|$1,500 – $4,000
|1-3 weekends, 2 people
|30 hours, 2 people
|50 years on wood
|30 years on wood
Overview of Toja Grid and Bjorn Pergola Kits
What Is Toja Grid?
Toja Grid is a modular pergola kit that allows you to create customized overhead structures using pre-cut cedar wood panels secured with metal hardware.
The unique grid design is made up of crisscrossing slats that provide partial shade while still allowing light and air to flow through.
Toja Grid kits come with all the pieces needed for assembly, including the wood panels, galvanized steel posts and beams, and hardware.
The slatted wood grids come in 3 standard sizes, but can be cut to custom dimensions.
Various post heights and beam lengths are also available to accommodate different patio footprints.
- Modular grid design with adjustable partial shade
- Made from durable cedar wood and steel
- Customizable sizes and layouts
- Easy DIY assembly with included hardware
- Option for privacy inserts and curtains
What Is The Bjorn Pergola?
The Bjorn is a wooden pergola kit made by Craftsman DNA using sustainably-sourced Scandinavian spruce.
It features a simple post and beam design with an open-slatted roof.
Bjorn pergola kits come with pre-cut and pre-drilled lumber pieces to make assembly straightforward.
The roof panels have evenly-spaced rafters to support climbing vines and plants. The open slats allow dappled sunlight through.
These pergola kits can be customized with different sizes, finishes, and options like screens and drapes. You can choose from different wood types and beam styles to match your home.
- Traditional post and beam pergola design
- Made from solid spruce with pre-cut pieces
- Open slatted roof allows filtered sunlight
- Custom sizing and design options
- Easy DIY assembly with detailed instructions
Comparing The Pros and Cons of Toja Grid And Bjorn Pergola Kit
So how do Toja Grid and Bjorn pergola kits compare in terms of features and value? We’ll examine the key pros and cons of each.
Toja Grid Pros
- Modular grid design provides adjustable shade coverage
- Durable cedar and steel construction
- Completely customizable sizing and layout
- Angled legs offer built-in drainage
- Large overhead structure with open feel
Toja Grid Cons
- More expensive than some competitors
- Wood requires occasional maintenance
- Minimal privacy without added inserts
- Limited design options beyond grid pattern
- Made from attractive and durable spruce wood
- Traditional pergola visual appeal
- Open slatted roof design with built-in rafters
- Customizable size, beam style and finish
- Lower cost than other wood pergola kits
- Set post and beam design limits customization
- No integrated gutter/drainage system
- Less overhead coverage than grid style
- Privacy and shade require add-ons
- More limited sizing compared to Toja Grid
One of the biggest factors when deciding between pergola kits is the cost. Here is an overview of what to expect:
- Toja Grid
Toja Grid kits range from $3,000 to $7,000. The entry-level 10×10 kit starts around $3,000. The cost goes up if you opt for larger sizes, additional wood panels, privacy inserts, curtains, and custom options.
The modular grid design also allows you to start small and add on over time.
Bjorn pergola kits cost between $1,500 to $4,000. The basic 10×10 cedar pergola starts around $1,500.
The price increases for larger sizes, premium wood types like ipe or redwood, decorative beams, and integrated features like screens or plexiglass roof panels. Bjorn’s post and beam design has more limited expandability.
The cost for both depends on the exact specifications like dimensions, materials, and options chosen. But Bjorn offers more affordable DIY kits while Toja Grid has higher long-term flexibility to grow your structure.
Installing a DIY pergola kit still requires some work, but Toja Grid and Bjorn aim to simplify the process as much as possible.
Setting up Toja Grid
Toja Grid’s modular pieces make it a relatively easy DIY build. The process includes:
- Laying out the posts and beams to map out your frame
- Digging holes for the posts and securing in concrete
- Attaching the beams and vertical supports to create the frame
- Adding the pre-cut grid wood panels
- Securing everything tightly with the included hardware
- Applying any desired finishes, curtains, etc.
With its versatile grid design, you can create unique overhead structures and continue adding on over time.
The company estimates Toja Grid kits can be installed in 1-3 weekends with 2 people.
Assembling the Bjorn
Assembling the Bjorn involves straightforward steps like:
- Preparing the installation area
- Digging holes for posts and anchoring in concrete
- Attaching the posts and horizontal beams together
- Adding the pre-cut roof panels and any additional features like lights
- Finishing with trim pieces, optional curtains, and desired stain
Bjorn’s numbered and pre-drilled lumber helps streamline the process. All necessary screws, bolts, and brackets are included. The estimated assembly time is 30 hours with 2 people.
Both kits provide all the materials needed for DIY installation. Toja Grid offers more design flexibility while Bjorn simplifies the process slightly with pre-cut pieces.
Pergola Size Options
The size of pergola you choose impacts the cost, installation, and how much shade is provided. Here are some of the most popular size options:
Toja Grid Standard Sizes
- 10×10 feet
- 10×20 feet
- 10×30 feet
You can also customize Toja Grid kits by adding sections in 10-foot increments. This lets you create larger or uniquely-shaped overhead structures.
Bjorn Standard Sizes
- 10×10 feet
- 10×12 feet
- 10×16 feet
- 12×16 feet
Bjorn pergola kits can be made longer or wider but have more limited sizing combinations than Toja Grid. Extending a Bjorn pergola later on is more difficult.
You’ll want to measure your outdoor area carefully to determine the ideal size. Make sure to account for adequate clearance around the perimeter.
Both Toja Grid and Bjorn allow you to select options to customize the look and function of your pergola. Some popular add-ons include:
Toja Grid Customizations
- Additional grid panels to expand size
- Privacy inserts to block sun/wind between slats
- Roller blinds or curtains for adjustable shade
- Rain gutters for drainage
- LED rope lighting
- Different post heights and beam lengths
- Hardtop roof panels for full shade coverage
- Motorized retractable canopy
- Screens or clear plastic inserts
- Integrated hanging lights
- Decorative trim and beam styles
- Stain or paint colors
- Additional post length and width
The modular Toja Grid design makes it easy to add on over time. Bjorn offers attractive built-in options but less flexibility for expansions down the road.
Toja Grid and Bjorn are both suited to providing a shaded hangout in your backyard. Here are some of the best uses for each:
The minimalist grid pattern works well for modern or contemporary homes. Its versatility also suits:
- Backyard patios
- Rooftop decks
- Restaurant outdoor seating
- Poolside shade structures
- Driveway covers
The classic post and beam Bjorn integrates nicely for uses like:
- Backyard pergola
- Gazebo replacement
- Garden accent piece
- Entryway cover
- Deluxe patio upgrade
Bjorn’s exposed rafters and open slats also make it ideal for displaying climbing vines and plants.
Style and Design
Toja Grid and Bjorn kits cater to different aesthetic preferences.
- Toja Grid
The crisp grid design and mix of metal and wood creates an airy, contemporary style. It makes a striking architectural statement and feels sleek and modern.
Bjorn pergolas have a more classic, craftsman style using chunky spruce posts and beams. The visible rafter tails and open slats give it a rustic charm perfect for cottages or traditional homes.
Toja Grid has modern appeal while the Bjorn’s traditional post and beam form factor blends into landscaping. Consider your home’s architecture and style when choosing.
The type of wood used for the pergola impacts its look, durability, and maintenance needs.
- Toja Grid Wood
Toja Grid uses aromatic cedar wood known for its natural resistance to rot, bugs, and moisture. It has a lightly textured grain with a warm reddish-brown color. Cedar ages gracefully to a silvery gray.
- Bjorn Wood
Bjorn offers spruce as the standard wood. It has a light color and minimal grain. You can upgrade to cedar, redwood, or ipe. These woods add warmth and durability but also increase the cost.
Cedar requires little upkeep while ipe and redwood are extremely resilient. Make sure to factor in the maintenance for the wood type you select.
Wind and Snow Load Ratings
Pergolas must be built sturdy enough to withstand wind, rain, and snow. Here are the ratings for each kit:
- Wind: Tested to 115 mph
- Snow: 60 lbs per sq ft
The steel posts anchor Toja Grid firmly in place. The open grid design also allows wind and snow to pass through, reducing load.
- Wind: Withstands up to 90 mph
- Snow: 35 lbs per sq ft
Bjorn’s thickness and craftsman-style joinery provide strength. Upgrading the post size and integrating beams helps improve wind and snow ratings.
Toja Grid’s steel framework gives it higher wind and snow tolerance, while Bjorn meets code for most regions. Always check local regulations for required ratings.
The product warranties provide an indication of expected longevity and durability.
Toja Grid Warranty
- 50-year limited warranty on cedar wood
- 5-year warranty on steel components
- 30-year limited warranty on wood
- 5-year warranty on other components
- 1-year satisfaction guarantee
The Toja Grid’s longer 50-year wood warranty provides better long-term protection. Both cover defects and material issues.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Some top alternatives to Toja Grid include:
Bjorn pergola – More affordable wood pergola with traditional design
Solarium – Aluminum and polycarbonate structure for all-weather protection
Yardistry – Low-cost vinyl pergola with PVC roof panels
Suntime – Metal and canvas canopy system offering customization
The aromatic cedar wood included with Toja Grid kits is ideal since it’s naturally rot and insect resistant. Western red cedar offers similar durability at a slightly lower cost. Ipe and redwood are other long-lasting options but require more maintenance.
While the open slatted grid design allows sun and rain through, you can add waterproof roof panels. Polycarbonate, metal, and plexiglass are common Toja Grid roofing choices. Roof panels attach to the top beams between grid sections for full coverage when needed.
The estimated assembly time for a Toja Grid kit is 1-3 weekends with 2 people. The modular panels allow you to get core structure up quickly. Larger and more customized projects take longer. Preparing the base, digging holes for posts, and anchoring take the most time.
To summarize the key differences:
- Design – Toja Grid features a modular slatted grid for a modern style. Bjorn has a traditional wood post and beam look.
- Customization – Toja Grid is highly customizable with expandable sizing. Bjorn offers some built-in options but less flexibility.
- Cost – Bjorn is the more affordable DIY pergola kit starting under $2,000. Toja Grid costs more but allows gradual expansion.
- Installation – Both kits are designed for relatively easy DIY assembly with all hardware included.
For a contemporary modular pergola that can grow over time, Toja Grid is a great choice despite the higher initial cost. If wanting a classic craftsman look and maximum value, the Bjorn is likely the better option though less adaptable long-term.
Ultimately the ideal pick comes down to your budget, design preferences, and needed features. Use this comparison of Toja Grid and Bjorn pergola kits to decide which DIY pergola is the best fit for creating your ideal backyard oasis.