Designing your own backyard pergola can be very satisfying, particularly if you’re keen on making the most of your outdoor living. Pergolas are also great and inexpensive ways to enhance the value of your property and designing your own means you can have exactly what you want!
Before you start designing your pergola, check in with your local council to see if there are any restrictions on your pergola height or location. Depending on the size of your pergola, you may also require a building permit, particularly if you are building a pergola as an extension of your home.
The aspect of your pergola will mostly depend on the layout of your home and yard, but if you have the flexibility, place your pergola somewhere where it will make the most of the sun in winter and be cool in summer.
Free-Standing or Attached
Will your pergola be free-standing or will it be an extension of your home, attached to the roof or wall? This will depend on where your pergola is being placed, as well as your budget and whether you can afford to DIY your pergola. Pergolas connected to your home may be more difficult to erect.
Size & Shape
If you’re building the pergola over your patio or deck, ensure that it is big enough to cover the entire area, so that part of the deck is not left out in the sun or rain. Also remember that a pergola doesn’t have to be simply rectangular or square – if your patio or deck runs around the edge of your house, you can also design your pergola to cover this whole area. Similarly, if you’re constructing a pergola over your pool, a round or hexagonal pergola might be more appealing. Use chalk or sand to mark out the edge of your pergola, so you can get a solid idea of how large it will be when completed.
In ancient times, pergolas were often built as frame structures that allowed plants to grow over them, creating shade. If you want to add some green to your garden, a climbing vine over a pergola could prove to be wonderful! If this doesn’t suit your home, however, or if it’s too high maintenance for you, you can choose from a range of roofing options including a flat roof or a pitched/gabled (pointed) roof.
Materials for pergolas generally include timber, colourbond, aluminium and metal. This is usually the main element what will affect your budget. Treated timber can be more suited to your home aesthetically and is generally quite cheap, but may need ongoing maintenance. Metal structures are the most sturdy and cost more, but will last longer. Think about the weather conditions and what the pergola needs to withstand.
Design your pergola so that it matches, not clashes with, your home and garden, particularly if your pergola is attached to your house. Choose the same themes and colours that your home or garden has. If you have a Victorian-style home, for instance, you may want to consider including the same rafters on your pergola. Remember, your pergola is there to add value to your home – not diminish value or deter buyers but clashing with your home’s style and appearance.