Pergolas are fantastic to look at, help define outdoor sitting space and can be most effective in tempering the extremes of our diverse and ever changing weather.  Because of their unique curb appeal, pergolas really allow you to personalize your outdoor living space.  Given some basic guidelines, they are relatively easy to build and are highly adaptable to reflect personal preference.


Concepts & Design

  • A 12×12 provides excellent usable space for a regular family.
  • Common heights vary between 8’ and 10’. If nearby a house, scale accordingly. 8′ for a bungalow 10′ high near a 2 story.
  • While a 4×4 post may be sufficient to support the structural load, 6×6 posts have much better curb appeal and will add significant structural stability.
  • Increase or decrease rafter spacing, depending on how much shade you’d like (typical range is 12” to 18” on centre).
  • Doubling up the rafters, and increasing the interval between each set (approx 30″ o.c.) can significantly enhance spring and fall use. For optimal shade year around, use intermittent sets of boards, perpendicular to the doubled up rafters (3′-4′ o.c). The combined effect creates intermittent shade, effectively allowing you to respond to present conditions based on weather, time of day and current season.
  • Strategically screening in a wall can provide increased privacy and will add to stability, particularly on a free standing pergola.
  • Screening of the south/west wall will significantly reduce wind issues and provide welcome shade from late afternoon/evening sun.
  • Using rough sawn lumber, or even a combination of rough sawn & planed lumber will add substance and visual interest to your structure.

Pre-planned pergola packages are available. Contact us for details.

Construction tips

  • Layout the first post, first beam and first rafter on the ground. Use them as a story pole to mark all corresponding parts, i.e. use a tri-square to transfer the marks to all the other members of each set. This  can practically eliminate the need to use a tape measure in elevated position, frees up your hands, makes the whole process easier.
  • Use post grit over concrete to set your posts. It’s easy to work with and more durable. Minimum post depth is three feet. Alternatively, use metal post anchors for surface mounting posts on a concrete slab.