Pergolas are fantastic to look at, help define outdoor sitting space and can be most effective in tempering the extremes of our diverse and ever changing weather conditions. Because of their unique aesthetic appeal, pergolas really allow you to personalize your outdoor living space. Given some basic guidelines, they are relatively easy to build and are highly adaptable to reflect personal preference.
Pergola Construction – Concepts & Design Considerations
- A 12’ diameter appears to provide excellent usable space.
- While 4X4 posts may suffice to support the structural load, 6X6 posts provide a much more attractive visual effect.
- Sizing of the beams and purlins is as much an art as it is a science. Structural members not only have to be strong enough to support the load; they also have to maintain their shape over time and look right in context of the structure as a whole.
- Rafter spacing is increased or decreased to optimize your desired amount of shade. A range from 12″ to 18″ on center is typical. Custom distributions are a great way to help reduce seasonal limitations.
- Heights generally vary between 8’ to 10’.
- While smooth or planed lumber works, sawn lumber or a combination is often used for architectural effect, adding substance and visual impact to your structure.