Everything you need to know about finding a Pergola Builder
Pergolas, whether attached or freestanding, are great for outdoor living, and especially for entertaining. Attached pergolas are fixed to a building and provide the convenience of having your outdoor entertaining area right outside the door. A freestanding pergola, however, gives you the freedom to make the most of your backyard, and can take the form of a gazebo or a hut. You can even build a pergola over your spa or pool.
Pergolas are often built over decking or paving to provide shade and shelter from the elements. Pergolas are also commonly used in patio areas. If you are erecting your pergola over a deck, think about matching the timber to gain a more cohesive look.
Timber is the most common material for building pergolas, as it is durable, stylish and versatile. Softwood or hardwood can be used but whichever you choose, ensure that is has been appropriately treated and/or dried. Using the correct wood means that your pergola will last.
Steel framing is increasingly popular, due to its strength and versatility in design. Steel can be moulded to many shapes from ultra-modern to Victorian, ensuring that a pergola meets the “feel” of the house.
A wide variety of materials can be used to cover your pergola. Some are as follows:
Steel – Using steel you can colour-match your pergola roof to the roof of your house. Steel is also great for blocking out sun.
Polycarbonate – Polycarbonate lets in plenty of light while still being UV protected. It also gives protection against the elements.
Shadecloth – Whether nailed to the roof battens or erected as a shade sail, shadecloth comes in a range of colours and protects against UV.
Climbing plants – Climbing plants have the advantage of giving dappled light, and the scent of flowers. Using a deciduous climber means that you will get maximum sunlight in winter. However, plants are not weatherproof.
Thatch – Thatch gives a great exotic island feel, like you’re sitting on a beach in Fiji. Laid correctly, it gives protection from the elements.
Pergola Design Considerations
When designing your pergola, there are several factors to consider. These include the space you will need, privacy, your budget and what it will be used for. If you plan to use your pergola for entertaining, check that the size is adequate by laying out furniture, barbecues, outdoor lighting etc. A north-facing pergola will use the sun most effectively.
To maintain your privacy, screens can be used. There are a wide variety of screens, including lattice, nature reeding, plants and so on. It really is a matter of personal choice, however a garden designer will be able to advise you on what will look best with your existing house and landscape.
Finally, before building any pergola, check with your local councils to see what regulations and restrictions they have. Your professional will be able to help you negotiate any red tape. Depending on where you live and the scale of your project your pergola builder may need to be licensed. There is more information about the licensing requirements by state on Licensedtrades.com.au.