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Planning For A Pergola

If you have been considering a shade structure for your backyard or patio, you know there is a lot to consider before making a purchase. Let’s go through the steps and considerations needed to make your outdoor investment one that really pays off!

Where To Install a Pergola?

This may be one of the easier decisions to make, typically there is a need that exists in a certain location already. If you enjoy sitting on your deck or patio but are getting blasted by the sun, that would seem the obvious choice. If your back windows let in a blaze of sunshine every day, heating up your home and costing you money in cooling, then locating your structure where it can diffuse that sun is what you need.

If you are starting from scratch on your landscape design or are after a more aesthetic placement for your pergola, then you have lots of options. Out in a peaceful garden area, next to a pool, over a new outdoor kitchen or outdoor dining area; a pergola is going to help define the area you want to utilize and provide you with a beautiful structure and some shade! The key is an area that is relatively flat and that you have a way to securely anchoring your pergola.

Deck Installation: Vinyl & aluminum pergolas are light enough to be installed on decks without additional supports, provided they have the proper blocking under the pergola posts to securely anchor the pergola. Deck pergolas can have the posts integrated into your railing system or stand alone. Deck pergolas can often be attached to the home which then alleviates two or more posts from your space.

Patio Installation: Pergolas are often found on a backyard patio creating a great outdoor room extension of your home. The pergolas can be fastened through the patio slab or on top of a landscape column top. If you are installing on a patio made with pavers, you need to remove the pavers and put in a concrete footing to secure your post to, then your pavers can be installed back on top of your footing around the post.

Garden Pergola: If you have a garden or grass area you want to use for your pergola, concrete footings will need to be poured to secure your posts.

How to Measure For A Pergola

Our pergolas are measured based on the outside roof dimension. Posts are typically inset 1’ in on both sides of the roof structure, however, our pergolas are meant to be customized to fit your needs so you may find your post to sit in further or out a little based on your space. The overhang from the roof structure should not exceed 3’ to ensure the structural integrity is not compromised. And the post to post span should not exceed 24’ on a traditional pergola with 8” beam or 20’ with 6’ beam. For a Modern Style pergola that distance drops to 16’ with an 8” beam or 14’ with a 6” beam.

To attach a pergola to your structure, you will need a clearance of 8-12” above windows/doors depending on your ledger size. Our pergola sizes are referenced in depth by width. So a 14' x 20' pergola would be 14’ deep, the measurement parallel to your rafters, and 20’ wide, measurement parallel to your beam and purlins.

How Much Shade Does a Pergola Give?

Pergolas are often known for being an aesthetically pleasing structure and offering shade with the growth of grapevines or other plants. However modern pergolas include better builds that allow you to create shade with or without plant growth. The shade purlins are an angled slat that runs the width of your pergola. They are placed either close together for maximum sun protection or further apart allowing more filtered sun to sneak through. You will want to choose your shade amount based on your specific needs for your space. The less sun protection you need or if you are growing your own vines for shade, the further apart your purlins can be.

Orienting your pergola so that the purlins block the most sun during your desired time of day is also important. Remember that your pergola purlins will run the width of your pergola. Typically you want your purlins angled with the tops pointed away from the harshest sun. Often in the US – the top tips would be tipped towards the North or East to block strong sun in the South and West, but this is also dependent on your preference.

Ordering a Pergola

This part, we hope, is one of the easier parts to the whole process! A knowledgeable team is available to help you plan, design, order and install your pergola each step of the way. A phone call gives you the most immediate and direct help, but you can also shop online or browse our website, Social Media or YouTube channels for additional help as well.

How Long Does It Take To Get And Build A Pergola

Pergolas are custom fabricated to the specifics of your order which take about 10 business days in the shop. With shipments taking anywhere from 1-5 days from our Midwest location. Installation can take 1-3 days. For most DIYers, 2 days is sufficient and for most experienced contractors, 1 day is all that is needed to complete a pergola install. But keep in mind, if you need to pour concrete footings, you may need additional time.

If you are planning to install a pergola for your event, we highly suggest ordering at least 4-6 weeks prior to your event to ensure there are no issues preventing you from enjoying the new structure. Shipping delays, damage during shipping, weather issues and contractor delays could derail your master plan should you try to order and have installed in just the 3 weeks time it takes to arrive.

What Accessories Do I Need For My Pergola?

While you can enjoy your pergola as is, there are some great options out there to maximize the enjoyment of your outdoor covered structure. Waterproofing your pergola, if you prefer to use your pergola even in wet conditions, a clear poly roof can be an excellent addition to your pergola. It will allow for filtered light but keep overhead rain from ruining your time outside.

Lighting is the number one feature people enjoy on their pergolas. From string lights strung under or through your pergola, to hard wired post mounted lighting or hanging fixtures; lighting will elevate your outdoor living giving you a quality shade structure in the day and festive entertaining area at night!

Curtains or Sun Shades – pergolas offer the most protection from overhead, so as the sun starts to dip low, pull- down sun shades or curtains can offer both relief from the sun as well as some privacy! The hardware can be mounted directly to the beams or rafters or tension type rods can be used for less permanent solutions.

Get Expert Pergola Help

If you are feeling overwhelmed with where to start, we always advise consulting our team! You can send in a photo or video to us via our email or chat box, video call one of our support agents for guidance or just talk on the phone to weigh out your options!

Plan for your pergola now! You can still order in the off season and either install before winter or have it ready to go the beginning of Spring.

Where to next?

If you can’t find what you’re looking for please give us a quick call at 563-345-6745 or use our chat box in the bottom left corner of your screen!