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What Is A Pergola?

A pergola is an outdoor structure or archway that has multiple columns, which supports a gridded roof of beams and rafters. Pergola roofing can be open or covered to create more of a sheltered space. Some pergolas are decorated with intertwining plants or left as is. More often than not, pergolas are confused with the following structures:

Although these are all outdoor structures, they all differ from what is considered a pergola. Pergolas are typically bigger structures that adds a beautiful and scenic element to your outdoor space. They are often attached to the exterior of the house to make an indoor appeal while still being outside. Or, some people build pergolas over their garden pathway to create a beautiful entrance to their garden.

What Does The Construction Process Look Like?

First, our contractors will evaluate your landscape to determine the best location, size and materials to be used to build your pergola. Depending on where your pergola will be built, will influence how much time will be spent constructing. In addition to the materials used and overall size.

Before construction can take place, it is important to check with your city for building guidelines. Most cities require no permit if the structure is 100 square feet or smaller. However, it is still recommended to check with your city’s authorities regarding the pergola’s height and width dimensions, property lines and materials used.

Once your city’s regulations are acknowledged, the construction process can begin. Typically, our contractors like to start with a written design to show our clients what the finished product will look like. This will also give our contractors guidelines of what is expected, while staying within the city’s restrictions.

Next, the appropriate materials will be purchased to construct your pergola. Our contractors will buy, measure and cut the desired materials, such as wood, fiberglass or aluminum to the correct size. If your pergola designs include painting, our contractors will paint the wood with primer before constructing. Primer helps seal in the paint to display a rich and vibrant color.
Our contractors will then install footings and posts into the ground to solidify the pergola’s foundation. Depending on your climate conditions, will determine how far the posts will go down. In colder climates, posts will be deeper than frost level, then sealed with cement to hold the posts in place.

Most commonly, our contractors will use a pressure-treated posts to create the base of your pergola because they tend to last longer than other options. From there, according to design prints, our contractors will wrap the posts with a specific material, such as 1 by 1 cedar to create a natural but high-quality wooden look.

The final steps of the process will include attaching the beams to both sides of the posts to reassure stability of the rafters. Rafters, typically 2” by 8” will be attached to the beams with a 12-16” spacing, depending on how much light you want to seep through. If you wanted a gridded look, lattice or stringers would be attached to the roof. And lastly, our contractors will paint or stain the wood with the color of your choice.

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How Long Does The Process Take?

Like mentioned before, the construction of a pergola depends on what type of materials are used, the location and size. Homeowners will also need to factor in the possibility of obtaining a building permit. This could take several days for your city to approve your building plans. They will ask for the dimensions of the pergola, what materials are being used, where you are planning to build and if you are hiring a contractor. Be prepared and have this information ready so you can quickly be approved, and construction can start. Aside from the logistics, building a pergola can range between a few days to a week-long process.

How Long Do Pergolas Last?

Pergolas generally have a sustainable and long lifetime if treated with proper care and maintenance. Wooden pergolas have a tougher exterior compared to other materials. They can handle stronger winds or being hit with random objects, like a rock being shot out of a lawn mower. However, they need to be periodically maintained to optimize their life expectancy.

Maintenance on a pergola depends on what type of material is used. It is recommended to paint or stain your pergola every 7 to 10 years in order for it to age well. Climate conditions can also influence how often your pergola should be maintained. For example, if you live in an area with higher temperatures and humidity, power washing is highly recommended to keep your pergola in good condition. As a reference, power washing is another effective way to clean and care for your pergola, so they can last longer.

Why Should I Own A Pergola?

If you are looking to improve your outdoor living space or need a change of scenery, adding a pergola can do just the thing! Building a pergola in your backyard can visually enhance your space by adding a dynamic and simple feature.

This beautiful structure can create definition to your backyard. It gives homeowners the opportunity to define a new space either as an entertainment spot, dining area or garden sanctuary. Pergolas are especially nice for homeowners who do not own a patio or deck. This simple option can create that lively space as an alternative.

Pergolas also create privacy for those who do not like being seen while spending time outdoors. Some homeowners like to hang plants from the posts to add some greenery and vibrancy, such as ivy, grape vines or honeysuckle plants. In addition, pergolas can offer the perfect amount of shelter for someone who wants to enjoy the outdoors without the worry of getting sunburned.

Lastly, pergolas can add value to your home. According to real estate experts, they can add up to 20 percent to your home’s value. Attractive landscaping and curb appeal has a significant impact on how much a home will sell. If you are thinking about selling, adding this simple, beautiful and affordable structure to your backyard can add monetary value.