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While you can easily adapt existing pergola plans from anywhere, you can also draw your own set of pergola plans too. Think of your garden as a blank canvas ready to be filled with your creativity.
Your garden, as green and beautiful as many out there, possesses unique features and design that may need special treatment or that can become part of the structures you plan to install there, and that’s why drawing your own pergola plans is a very appealing option.
Maybe you have glass doors to access your garden and you want to have a pergola to cover the doors, so you need to cover a portion of the garden with concrete and use only two posts to build your pergola with the rest of it supported by the house.
Maybe you want a specific dimension of posts or roofs that the regular pergola kits don’t cover or architectural designs on the beams, posts or rafters.
For any special feature that you want to add to your pergola to match your likes and preferences, you got to draw your own plans. And, don’t forget, you can use your pergola plans when you apply for your pergola permit.
What do you need?
- Paper (if possible, graph paper with 1/4” or 1/2” grid)
- Tape measure
Let’s try it out.
I have in a fairly small suburban back yard with a concrete slab that extends out from my sliding glass door. It would really help out in the summer in keeping the house cool if there was some sort of shaded overhang above the patio slab. Something, perhaps, like an attached pergola.
With the idea clear in our minds, let’s go to the field.
Measure twice, cut once
My yard is small as I said, so taking a measuring tape I stand where I think the projection should be coming out from the back wall. Any further and the overhang from the rafters would be crowding my favorite tree which I really don’t want to have to trim that frequently.
So, leaving a generous gap there I measure to the back wall where the ledger board would be attached. 9 feet. Considering that most end cuts create that overhang about 10-12 inches out, I make it easy on myself and say the posts should be set 8 feet out from the wall.
Don’t forget to look up!
Now I look at the length and go through similar steps. Eyeball the roof line keeping that 1 ft overhang in mind for each side. My backyard is shallow in depth, but fairly long so I decided to pull the posts out to a 10-foot span to match that shape and keep everything in balance. No potential obstacles for a total roof span of 12 feet so I am set.
If you fail to do this part properly, you may end up with your structure crashing with trees, requiring you to trim periodically or remove completely those branches, harming the look and feel of your garden.
My attached pergola will be an 8×10. My two 6×6 square posts will be set on the concrete patio 8 feet out and 10 feet apart. They will be 9ft tall and the beams and rafters will be placed six inches from the top leaving me well over the recommended 96 inches in interior roof clearance. That way, if I ever decide to install a fan or a lighting system of any kind there is plenty of space.
With all the data you’ve gathered on the field, you can put your ideas on paper to guide your construction effort.
Transfer the measurements you have now to the graph paper, using an appropriate scale to represent them (1 foot equals 1/2”, for example) and create the aerial view of the project so you can have a better idea of the coverage area of the pergola you’ve envisioned.
You should also draw a side elevation plan to have all the possible angles studied and if the structure will have different details on each side, draw 2 of these plans (one for each).
And there you have it! From the information above and other articles on this site, you will be on your way.
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If you’ve decided that you really want to add a pergola to your property, then your next step is to check out our Guide to Building a Pergola in One Weekend.
- Introduction to Building a Pergola
- 5 Tips Before You Build a Pergola
- Do I Need a Permit to Build a Pergola?