Every pergola is like a fingerprint… it is unique, offering you a way to express your homes uniqueness and give character to your property.
However, the Internet is full of ideas and plans, varying in building materials and overall design. Which one to select? Read on and we will help you choose.
Consideration #1 – Available Space
The first thing to decide is exactly what size pergola you are after. This ultimately comes down to how much room you have available.
The most common pergola size is 9 feet by 12 feet. If you have more or less area you can change the plans to cater. Just bear in mind, the larger you decide to build it, the more structural support you’ll need to build and the more materials you’ll need to purchase.
My personal opinion is to select one that accentuates the backyard instead of one that crowds it. Let your individual taste be your guide. If you find that you need help with this stage, ask your local carpenter or handyman near you for assistance.
Consideration #2 – Underlying Surface
Building on a concrete slab will have different considerations (i.e. using pressure treated wood at the base) than building on top of an existing wood outdoor patio.
And if you’re building direct on soil, that brings its own bag of factors to consider. You don’t want your pergola collapsing if the soil shifts, and you don’t need insects chewing away the structural supports.
So, to avoid any issues in the future, ensure your approach addresses the surface you are building on.
Consideration #3 – Building Materials
There’s an endless number of materials you can choose to build with. There are many pergolas that use everything from cedar, to fiberglass, to vinyl, to PVC.
Each material has its own advantages and disadvantages… a topic that is covered in another of my articles. The most crucial properties to remember are material durability, what surfaces the product can and can’t touch, level of weather-resistance and how easy it is to drill/cut/maneuver.
Do not forget about the aesthetic quality of what you are building. You’re building this since you wish to add character to your backyard, not build something from PVC piping and rough fir.
Consideration #4 – Design
If you find yourself searching for pergola plans online, you will discover that they are definitely not scarce. You can find plans for everything from modern to retro. There are two directions you can go when selecting a design.
Your first option is to choose one that complements (or matches) your home design. This is the best option; it’s difficult to fail if your pergola looks like an extension to your home’s theme.
Your second choice is to pick a distinct design for your pergola. Some people see their pergola as a ‘vacation’ within your backyard so you will want it to feel like somewhere you can escape to and revitalise.
Consideration #5 – Plan Source
Not all plans are the same quality. Some are made by folks that have actually never swung a hammer in their life, outlining structures behind a computer screen.
A top suggestion: get your plan from a reputable source. Someone that has real-world building experience and has built a pergola prior to. Us at Daniels Carpentry and Maintenance Solutions can help you out with this and can even build the pergola for you.
Also, what about free pergola plans? Well, some of them are good… and others, not so much. My mindset when it comes to constructing strategies and plans is that you wind up paying for it, one way or another.
It is much better to choose plans you understand are of high quality and be satisfied with the end result.