It’s hard to beat relaxing on your deck or patio in the backyard, but it can be even better with a pergola overhead providing shade and decorative appeal.
Pergola’s benefits. A stained deck or patio looks even better with an accenting pergola overhead. Many pergolas have a series of timbers with open spaces in between, while others feature a fully covered pitched and shingled roof, essentially a gazebo. Pergolas provide shade and the overhead beams give you a place to mount an outdoor ceiling fan, hanging plants and other decorations.
Draw up plans. Do you envision a pergola erected over an existing deck or patio, or a new space? Using graph paper, sketch what you have in mind, then get three bids from contractors. Don’t forget to check references, get approval from your local government, and your homeowner association, if you belong to one.
Material choices. Wood, fiberglass and masonry are all options when building a pergola. Wood pergolas can be stained or painted a bright color. Add lattice work and climbing vines for a finished look. Fiberglass pergolas come in a variety of colors and have the advantage of never deteriorating. They can be smooth or textured to look like wood. A third choice involves a combination of wood or fiberglass mounted on a brick or stone base.
Roof designs. While most pergolas feature a series of beams spaced about twelve inches apart, the design is really up to you. The gaps can be wider or narrower, and the roof doesn’t have to be flat. The beams can be arched or pitched to meet the adjacent roofline.
The extras. Add a fire pit to a pergola over a patio of stone for a great conversation area. Or, build an outdoor fireplace and chimney on one side of the enclosure. Be sure to accent your pergola with flowerbeds. Surround the perimeter with low-height shrubs and blossoming vines, such as Clematis, Wisteria or climbing Hydrangea growing up the posts and onto the lattice work.