Have you considered adding a pergola to your yard?
Building a pergola has become a very common DIY project. They are attractive, low maintenance, and increase your property value. Pergolas can be either free-standing or attached to your home.
What is the point of having a pergola?
Made generally of wood, pergolas can enhance your backyard, extend your living space, and increase the amount of time you can spend outside. You have many choices in terms of price and style to meet your needs.
When a pergola is designed and oriented correctly on your property, it can cast enough shade to make even a warm afternoon enjoyable. If you want additional protection there are options you can add for more shade. More about that below.
Below, we share Common Pergola Questions and 5 Things to Consider When Adding a Pergola!
Don’t miss reading this useful information about pergolas before you get started.
Materials you can use to build a pergola.
There are lots of choices when picking the best material for your pergola project. Pergolas can be built with cedar, redwood, exotic woods, metal, vinyl, composite materials, and more.
Without a doubt, wood is the timeless material that looks great in any backyard!
Western Red Cedar and Humboldt Redwood are both great-looking wood types, in addition to being rot and insect-resistant.
Western Red Cedar has one of the longest life spans of any North American softwood. It produces long lengths of timber with true, straight grain. It is free from pitch and its heartwood has natural decay resistance. It is a preferred wood for nearly all purposes where attractive appearance or resistance to weather is important.
Humboldt Redwood has a unique combination of aesthetic appeal, warm color, versatility, strength, and long-lasting durability making it an unparalleled building material. What’s more, Humboldt Redwood is a renewable resource harvested using Sustainable Redwood Forestry practices.
Redwood is generally smooth sawn lumber. Cedar is commonly rough sawn, although smooth sawn is available (generally at a higher cost).
While pergola made of these woods can be painted, they need to be stained to keep that signature warmth and appearance. We stock Penofin Stains to make staining easy!
We sell and deliver materials to build a pergola.
Our Lakewood and Fort Lupton lumber yards stock the high-quality wood, hardware, and other items needed to make this fun and straightforward project come together.
We stock free-of-heart cedar center posts in up to 20’ lengths, multiple hardware options, and Penofin Stains to maintain the appearance and durability of the wood.
We also stock Camo Hidden Fasteners, Simpson Strong-Tie connectors, and OZCO Pergola Hardware.
Are you considering a pergola kit? Today’s ready-to-assemble pergola options can come in various materials, giving consumers a stylish and practical way to DIY a pergola. At Front Range Lumber we sell LINX Simplified Pergola System which are quick and easy for the DIYer.
Common Pergola Questions:
Are pergolas easy to build?
Building a pergola can be a simple project or quite challenging to building depending on what plan you pick. Make sure you know your skill level before starting. Don’t forget to review “Five things to consider when adding a pergola to your yard” below.
Can I use a pergola design tool?
Yes you can! As a leader is structural wood connectors, Simpson Strong-Tie is a perfect partner to help you build a safe and strong outdoor structure that will last for decades. Click here for the Pergola Design Tool!
Do pergolas provide shade?
Yes, pergolas provide shade. The size of the beams and their spacing will determine exactly how much shade is provided, though a pergola on its own can never create a fully-shaded space. Many people add fabric or retractable canopies to their pergola to block the sun and weather when needed.
Do you need HOA approval for a pergola?
If you live in an HOA, you should always check with them to make sure that building a pergola is acceptable, and if there are size or height restrictions.
Can you put a barbecue under a pergola?
A BBQ grill can be placed under a pergola as long as there is adequate airflow and the hot air has enough space to cool before hitting the pergola. Grill manufacturers generally recommend having a 3-foot buffer from your grill to other objects. Because of its open structure, a pergola is the perfect spot to house your barbecue with some considerations according to eHow.
Can pergolas be used in the winter?
Of course, pergolas are beautiful and hardy structures. Though you may consider your pergola as a purely warm-weather escape, by winterizing it you have a year-round area to enjoy. By adding a cover to the roof or sides of your pergola you’ll be able to construct a wind/snow proof area that keeps you protected from the elements. Unfortunately, a cover alone won’t keep your space fully warm. Consider adding a fire pit or heater to winterize your pergola. Family and friends will love spending time outside under the pergola while staying cozy and warm using a safe, energy-efficient heat source. Also, adding roof panels or a pitched tin roof to allow rain and snow to runoff.
How do I train wisteria to grow on my pergola?
To begin training a new wisteria plant onto a pergola, allow two or three young shoots to twine loosely around each other and posts as they grow. This will help to provide added interest to the plant’s structure, since the woody stems become contorted and picturesque with maturity. For more detailed information visit Fine Gardening.
Five things to consider when adding a pergola to your yard.
1. Know the frost depth in your area.
Frost depth is the level to which the ground in your area freezes each year. When inserting the support beams of your pergola into the ground you need to be sure that you’re going below the frost level. Posts sit above the frost zone, all of the freezing and thawing that happens each winter will work to thrust the posts up and out of their holes and ruin the structure. Frost depths can vary quite a bit, even in relatively close areas. Elevation, soil type, wind, ground cover and sun exposure are some of the factors that determine frost depths. Check your area’s frost depth with your local building authority.
2. See if you will need a permit.
While you’re on the phone with your local building authority, also verify whether or not you need a special permit for your pergola project. It’s not likely, since pergolas aren’t technically completed structures, however you will very likely need a permit if you plan on using electricity in your pergola to power lights and fans.
3. Contact your local utilities.
You will also want to contact your local utilities before building a pergola. Many pergola DIYers have started digging into the ground only to run into gas or electric lines. This can be dangerous and expensive to fix, so make sure that you check with the utility companies in your area first. They will come out and mark any lines in your yard for you to prevent an accident from happening. Plan ahead, as utility locating generally takes a few days to complete.
4. Get help – be safe.
In constructing a pergola (or other structure) consider the size, length, and weight of the individual items. You’ll probably need someone to hold/lift the other end or to stabilize a component during installation. Remember the weight ratings on ladders – the rating is the maximum limit with you, AND tools, AND any wood/component you’re lifting.
5. One more thing to consider.
Hardware in generally keyed in specific wood types/sizes. Specifically, rough sawn lumber is closer to “full measure” and therefore “regular post bases and joist hangers won’t handle the additional thickness. For example, smooth sawn 6×6’s are close to 5-1/2″ by 5-1/2″ – rough sawn will be closer to 5-3/4” square. Many hardware “kits” available online are geared to smooth sawn lumber only. It’s all in the details!
Don’t settle for spray painted black hardware – there is good availability on bolts, screws, decorative covers, post bases and hangers of all types in powder coated black finishes.
As pictured above, our Fort Lupton lumber yard has an approximate 18′ x 75′ pergola which helps cool our store.
Our experienced staff at both of our locations is ready to offer advice and answer your questions about your pergola project! Call or Contact Us any time!