Everything You Wanted To Know About Designs For Pergolas

A protected outdoor space is an essential addition for any home – the instant shade provided by a pergola is a lifesaver in the summer months when the sun is at its peak. When it comes to planning designs for pergolas, we are sure that you will have a number of questions and concerns that need to be addressed. In this article, we have outlined everything you ever wanted to know about these structures with the aim of ensuring your success.

What is a pergola?

These structures are open, often without walls or a solid roof. They can be attached to the side of your home (on one or two sides at the most) or built as a separate structure. Many people use a pergola for supporting vines and other crawling plants, which helps to improve the shade provided by the space and add a note of interest. They form the perfect outdoor room, whether you want to extend your living space, bedroom or even bathroom.

Shade & Protection

Did you know that the shade provided by these structures can make a big difference to the internal temperature of your home? When designs for pergolas are positioned on the north side of your property, summer sun is kept off walls and windows whilst winter sun can stream in underneath. The right calculations can also see the addition of angled blades across the top of the pergola, which keep the high altitude sun out but embrace winter sun.


Height & Shape

If you’re attaching the pergola to your home, its height doesn’t have to be determined by the height of your house’s eaves – it can be attached via the roof onto a load-bearing wall or it can be cantilevered from outside posts to arch back over the roof. You should ensure that the battens are set with at least a 5% pitch so that, if a roof is added at a later date, any rainwater can drain. There are many different roof designs and structure shapes that you could choose.

Range of Materials

There are a number of materials that can be used in the construction of your pergola, including: timber, steel, aluminium and shade cloth. Timber is the more traditional material – it is the easiest option for a DIY project and it can be painted or stained. Steel and aluminium should be left to the professionals, as they need to be welded, and can be powdercoated. Shade cloth is a nice roof cover, but it doesn’t breath overly well.

Design Tips

  • A pergola can be used to frame a view, create a shaded walkway or for outdoor entertaining – the choice is entirely yours.
  • The right designs for pergolas can be used to smooth the transition between your indoor and outdoor spaces.
  • Climbing plants (such as vines, wisteria, star jasmine and mandevilla) can be grown along the posts and crossbeams.
  • Ensure that the style and colour of the structure complement the architecture of your home and the design of your garden.

Whilst there are plenty of other factors that should be considered when creating designs for pergolas (such as the use of light and focal points), we have covered the most important points in this article. They may not look it, but pergolas are incredibly complex structures that can prove to be a real beneficial addition to your home – if used correctly. Make sure you speak with a professional if you have any more questions or concerns.

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