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Are You Looking for the Perfect Pergola Plans?

Large pergola with columns for support

Have you begun a search for a set of wood pergola plans to match the picture you have in your mind of the “perfect” pergola? You know just the kind you want!

You spent some time at a friend's house over the weekend, and his backyard was graced with a beautiful pergola. You fell in love with the idea, and now you just have to have one for your own yard!

Your pal built his pergola with the help of a good set of plans that also listed exactly what tools and materials would be needed. He claimed that building it himself saved quite a bit of money, and that the pergola was very easy to build. You're pretty sure you are just as good an amateur carpenter as he is, and saving money is always good! So, you are ready to grab the first set of plans you run across, so that you can build a pergola.

Wait a minute! Not so fast! Didn't you say that your friend made use of a “good” set of plans? Well, if you want to emulate him, you won't be so quick to make that purchase. You want to be sure that you are buying a set of plans that you can not only read and follow, but will give you a structure that looks like a pergola when you build by them! You would be surprised to find out how often this does NOT happen!

So, how do you know whether or not a set of these plans should be considered good or bad? Take a look at the instructions. They should be well written, and give you step-by-step instructions that are easy to understand – so easy that someone who has never even built anything before could read and follow them. The materials list should give details for different sizes of pergolas, some small and some large. Different sizes will take different amounts of materials!

Do the plans you are interested in specify that you should construct your pergola only on the proper sized area of level ground? If you build a structure like this on ground that is not level, you will never be satisfied with the final results. You need to choose a place in your yard before you start to build, and make sure that it is cleared and level.

Remember, you are building a structure that is going to be in your yard for a while, so make sure it is in an easily accessible area. You'll find that there are some people like to attach a pergola to the back of their house or to their deck, while others like to have it as a stand-alone outdoor room located a little further away from their home.

The main differences that you will find in these plans have to do with the type of roof, and what is used for posts to hold the pergola up. Other than that, all pergolas are just about the same... six posts holding up a roof of wooden beams and sometimes latticework, which comes in several designs. Some people prefer not to use any lattice, but you do get more shade when you do.

You can add louvers or battens to your pergola to dress it up, or opt to leave it plain and let the hanging and creeping flowers and plants you will add dress it up. You can also trim the outside edges of the roof beams in different ways to change up the looks of your pergola. Your own personal preferences go a long way toward how your creation ends up looking.

Whatever plans you choose, you may find that you are going to have to adapt them to suit any local building codes that might be enforced in your area. You are also going to need to remember to go and get a building permit before construction starts, if required by the city or town where you live.

It is not at all difficult to build a pergola. You and a friend could probably build it in about a day's time. If you are new to this kind of project, you may be a little nervous when you first get started. All you need to remember to do is follow the instructions carefully, and in no time, you will have a brand new pergola that you can be very proud of.

To read more about designing and building garden structures, please click on these articles:

Pergola designs and plans for your next project

Guide to choosing pergola plans



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