If you would like to add a permanent space for outdoor entertaining in your backyard, consider installing a pergola. A pergola is an outdoor structure consisting of vertical columns that support a series of horizontal beams. The ceiling of this structure usually features a lattice. This cozy outdoor space can connect directly to your home or stand freely in your yard.
You can also use your pergola to house your plants, provide more privacy in your yard, and add a seating area with protection from the sun. However, before you rush outside to start building your own pergola, you will need to make a few plans and decisions.
Decide Your Type
Pergolas can come in a number of shapes, sizes and styles. Before you can decide the right design for your yard, consider the role your pergola will fulfill in your yard. You can consult books and websites to find a number of different pergola styles. Once you’ve picked out your favorite design, you can find a list of the necessary tools and materials to make your project.
Choose a Location
You probably already know exactly where you will install your pergola, but you should still take the time to measure it out. Use stakes and twine to mark off where you plan to install the new structure. This will help you ensure that you have enough room to make the pergola of your dreams.
Consult the View
After you’ve staked out your pergola’s proposed location, check out the view. If another structure or tree will disrupt your view, consider installing your pergola in a different place in your yard.
Check for Utilities
Before you can proceed with your plans, you must ensure that you won’t accidentally hit your utility lines as you work. Check with your utility companies to make sure that your planned pergola location is clear of any danger. You may need to install your pergola in a new location to avoid any issues with your utilities.
Get Your Permits
You may need to go through the proper local government channels to secure the permits for your pergola. Every jurisdiction has different rules and regulations on these buildings. Some pergolas, such as a small free-standing style, will likely not require any permit at all. However, you will probably need a permit for a larger pergola that attaches directly to your home.
How Will You Install?
If you feel up to the challenge, you can install your pergola yourself to save money. However, you will need help from some friends and a collection of tools to do this job on your own. If you’d prefer to hire someone else to do the job, seek out a few contractors to get a few price quotes.
Buy Your Materials
Most of the cost of your project will come from the materials. For best results, choose redwood or cedar for your support beams. However, you can shop around for a few alternatives as well. Painting a cheaper material may help you get the look you want for your pergola.
Make Your Budget
After you’ve made a few decisions, you can create a budget for your pergola. Write down the cost of everything for the project, including the labor and the materials. Don’t simply keep the numbers in your head. If the cost is too high, adjust your pergola design to reduce the price.
Set a Schedule
After finalizing your budget, you can plan the start date for your project. Consult a calendar to find a few days that you can devote to your project. After your project is done, you and your family can begin enjoying your beautiful new pergola.
Credit: Mitre 10 New Zealand