4 Things You Must Consider Before Building a Pergola

Including a pergola in a backyard brings structure, beauty, and some much needed shade and shelter to an outdoor space. Whether you are considering building a pergola from scratch or purchasing a pergola kit, consider these four points to ensure a smoother pergola project.

1. Local Weather and Conditions

The weather and various conditions in your area can have a direct effect on your pergola. If you live in a very humid or wet climate, a pergola built from the wrong wood may rot sooner than expected. While many pergola owners use a range of woods from pine to redwood in their structures, cedar often provides the best value. It’s rot and insect resistant, and will look great without the significant expense of some other woods.

Read here for a guide to choosing the perfect pergola wood >>

Additionally, if you live in a cold climate or even a moderate climate that still experiences a frost or two a year, make sure that you contact your local building authority to find out the frost depth in your area. If you do not sink the support posts of your pergola beneath the frost level, the freezing and thawing of the ground may shift your pergola up and out of the ground, ruining the structure.

2. Address City Planning and Utilities

It is imperative that you consult with your local building authorities and utilities before building a pergola. Generally, it is not likely that your city’s building department will prohibit pergolas, as they are not complete buildings. However, you should play it safe and confirm that your project will not be in violation of code. Also, if your plan includes accessories on your pergola that require electricity, then it is likely that you will need some sort of permit from your local authority. If you choose to use low voltage accessories (now available), you can safely avoid the need for permits and electricians.

If you are a town home or condo owner, you may also want to check with your HOA to confirm
that you can have a pergola in your space. Check with your local utilities to confirm whether there are any lines running underneath your pergola site that could get damaged by your dig.

3. Building a Pergola vs. Pergola Kits

You may have the DIY skills, but building a pergola that can stand the test of time may be more challenging than you expect. Today’s pergola kits give you a convenient and easy method of putting up a quality pergola. These kits ship in a pre-packaged skid that you can assemble on your own (or with a friend) with ease. You can use the plans provided by you pergola kit manufacturer as a reference when you speak to your local building authorities. The best pergola kits today deliver quality structures with excellent materials, design, and style.

4. Sun and Rain Protection

Although a pergola provides some filtered shading, there will always be extra-hot days and wet ones to contend with. A quality pergola kit may come with a retractable canopy, giving you the option of shade or sunlight at the push of a button. If you don't consider a canopy until after you've already built a pergola, you may have to go through a second project to measure and install.

Ready to add value to your home and your quality of life with a pergola? Simply follow these four important tips for guidance on introducing the ultimate outdoor accessory. Have any tips of your own? Let us know in the comment section.

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