With the long, hot days of summer just ahead, it’s time to start thinking about ways to beat the humidity and heat. A pergola design that blocks the scorching heat of the sun and adds to the beauty and value of your home is the perfect addition to any landscape.
If your backyard isn’t blessed with mature trees, an attractive pergola can provide welcome shade that will allow greater use of the outdoors for relaxing, dining and entertaining.
A pergola can also add a new dimension to your landscaping by protecting shade-loving plants, and providing support for decorative climbing vines. Best of all, the addition of a well- built, sturdy shade shelter will add value to your home.
Before beginning your pergola design and construction, it’s a good idea to check local building codes to find out if a permit is required, or if a drawing must be submitted to authorities for review.
Give careful consideration to location and design. If your shelter is to be located on the south side of the house, shading should be almost totally overhead because this area will probably be sunny most of the day.
For a western exposure with low, late-afternoon sun, it may be necessary to incorporate trellis or lath on the sides of the structure to block the sun.
Although there are many different pergola design structures, every shelter is made up of three basic elements: the foundation, the superstructure consisting of columns and beams, and the infill which spans the spaces between the beams to provide shade.
An attached structure is one of the most popular styles, because it has the advantage of being strongly supported by the house and therefore requires fewer support posts.
The materials you choose in your pergola design are also important for both function and appearance. Redwood or cedar can lend beauty, while having less of a tendency to split or warp.
Aluminum alloy, stainless steel or top quality hot-dipped galvanized nails are recommended for all outdoor applications. Ordinary nails can cause dark streaks and stains because of their reaction with some wood’s natural extracts.
Although both cedar and redwood require little maintenance, it’s a good idea to finish your shelter with a water repellent product that contains an anti-mildew agent, to protect it from weathering. For a most natural appearance, a clear repellent is ideal because it will not obscure the wood’s grain and texture.
There are many different pergola design plans available. It is a simple construction that can usually be done in a weekend project. Protect yourself from the sun and enjoy your backyard this season with a pergola designed to meet your needs.