We all need a bit of shade from time to time! If you don’t have many trees in your Pasadena yard, you may be thinking of other ways to create shade. Pergolas are a hardscape design that provides sun protection and adds to both your outdoor aesthetic and the value of your home. However, there are a few things you need to consider before installing a pergola. Read on for more tips before you start your pergola installation!
What to Consider Before a Pergola Installation
1. Check Your Local Permits and HOA
A pergola is considered a structure. To build one, you need to check with your local building authority on whether or not you need a permit for your project. You also must check with your neighborhood homeowners association (HOA) to ensure you are building a verified structure. If your plan includes installing electric lights and fans in your pergola, you will need a permit!
2. All Weather Protection
Different types of pergolas provide varying levels of protection against the elements. Choosing the right pergola depends on what kind of protection you want. Open beam pergolas supply the least protection but allow the most airflow. Canopied pergolas can provide much more shade and light rain protection. A louvered pergola has an adjustable roof system that changes the amount of sunlight, water, or air coming into your space. Check out this pergola build in our video on Transforming a Realistic 3D Design Rendering to Finished Backyard.
3. Building Materials
Pergolas are built with a variety of materials. Your choice depends largely on your aesthetic and budget. Pine is one of the most cost-effective choices, while cedar and redwood are more expensive. You must also take humidity and temperature into consideration when using wood. Wood alternatives are aluminum, fiberglass, and vinyl, depending on your spending limit.
4. Structure and Anchoring
Pergolas are sturdy structures when built. However, they need secure, grounded anchoring for safe use. Pergolas can have continuous post footings as an anchor or can be attached to a concrete foundation. It is vital to consider how you will safely and securely attach your pergola to the ground before you begin your installation.
5. Appropriate Placement
Pergolas are versatile structures that can be placed in a variety of ways. First, you will need to choose whether you want it attached to the house or be freestanding. If you choose attached, you will need to designate an area that best compliments your existing home architecture. If you choose freestanding, you must think about what you want to go under it. Is it going to be a hot tub, an outdoor living space, a BBQ, a child’s play zone, or something else entirely? We recommend determining these aspects in the initial design so modifications do not need to be made during or after construction.
FAQ to Consider Before a Pergola Installation:
How long will a pergola last?
The lifespan of a pergola depends greatly on the materials used during construction and the maintenance performed over the years. With cheap materials and little maintenance, you could expect 5 years. However, with high-quality construction and adequate maintenance, you can expect up to 20 years.
How big should a pergola be?
This depends entirely on what you plan to use it for. Whether you are looking for a small structure to read under or a large space where you can host parties, there are pergola sizes to fit everything. We recommend consulting with our designers to determine how and where you wish to use your pergola, and we can give you the appropriate sizing from there.
How much does a pergola installation cost?
The average cost to have a pergola installation completed by a professional team averages around $4,000. However, depending on your material choice, pergola size, and extra amenities you may choose to add on, the price can continue to increase to $10,000 or even $20,000.
Is it cheaper to build or buy a pergola?
While some talented DIYers can certainly build their own pergola or buy a pre-fabricated one they only need to put together, it often is not as cost-effective as people believe. Yes, you don’t have to pay for the labor of a professional, but many homeowners forget that building a pergola takes an assortment of tools to complete. Buying those tools is often more expensive than simply hiring a professional. Plus, it is critical to consider the time cost. For most, it isn’t worth the sheer number of hours it could take to shop for materials and tools, learn how to use them, and build the pergola.
Does a pergola need to be anchored?
While most pergolas are extremely heavy and hard to move, they still must be anchored to meet standard safety requirements. An unanchored pergola could become a severe hazard if it tips over. Depending on the material in which the pergola is built (wood decking, concrete stab, patio pavers, grass lawn, etc.) will determine the best method to anchor the pergola installation. A professional pergola installation specialist will be able to advise homeowners on which option is right for their specific install.
Design Scapes – An All-in-One Builder
Rather than piecing out projects to various builders, Design Scapes offers our clients an all-in-one service. We will design and build your entire project from start to finish, including getting building permits, checking regulations, and ordering supplies! To learn more, please complete a contact form.