A Quick Guide For Choosing Pergola Plans
You can build a wood pergola in the backyard or garden using a set of pergola plans. You can find plans online, in magazines and books. A pergola is such a simple structure and building one is a great home improvement project for everyone from DIY novices to seasoned experts.
Before you choose the plans you want to use, it’s worthwhile taking a few minutes to consider your options and some details on the structure you want to build.
Here are the top four questions to ask when planning your pergola
1. Should I use natural wood or a composite?
Natural wood has a magnificent look, and is particularly suitable if your home has a traditional, rather than a modern architectural style. It is usually cheaper than the alternative and you can stain and paint it the exact color you want.
Depending on the material you choose, wood composites might be a similar price or a bit more. The one advantage is that they will require less maintenance over the long term. Also, many modern wood composites are so advanced they’re virtually indistinguishable from natural timber.
2. Do you plan to grow plants on your pergola?
A pergola covered with a beautiful flowering shrub or vine will make a magnificent addition to your garden design. If you plan to grow a heavy, woody type of plant like a rose, you will need a pergola which is strong enough to support the weight of the plant when it is fully grown.
I have a friend and one summer his pergola was covered with a lot of grapes and it eventually collapsed. It was pretty old and it was also a good year for grapes.
If you want to grow vines or grapes on your pergola, you may need to incorporate a wood trellis into the design. This will allow the climbing plants grow up the sides. You can also have them climb up the posts and then train the vines to grow along the top. This is great for the vines to get sunshine and you have a nice shady spot under the vines. This is a classic look.
3. Freestanding, or attached to the house?
A pergola which is attached to the side of the house will be more structurally stable, particularly if you live in a windy area. You might also have a reason to attach it to your house. You might want to have it cover your patio or deck.
I also see a lot of freestanding pergolas. This can be beside your house, along a path or by itself in the backyard.
Whichever style you want, you need to make sure before you get your plans. Or you will be getting another set or modifying the your existing plans.
4. What are the city bylaws for installing a Pergola?
For this one you will need to check with your city planning, because each city has their own ruling on this one. I recommend that you visit your cities web site or drop by city hall and ask the planning department.
I recently visited city hall to get our deck design reviewed and approved and it is a good idea to know what you plan on build and where you want to put it. This way they can review your design and comment on it.
At this point I don't think you need a pergola plan, just a rough sketch of you want to build. Once they review and agree with your design you can get your plans.
They will probably want to know how big it will be and how close to your property line. They might also want to know if it will be attached to your house.
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