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Saturday, May 19, 2012

Curved Roof Pergola Design

Curved roof pergolas are a luxurious design edition to any yard or patio. The elegant lines are truly no more difficult to build than a regular straight edge. There are many beautiful kits you can find such as the one in the photo above from Forever Redwood. They come complete with step by step instructions on how to build it along with all the attachment hardware needed. Boards are cut and stained according to the design you want and marked so that you are pretty much just putting slot A into tab B.

However, if you want to build the pergola yourself, a curved roof design is also an option and you shouldn't be deterred from working with the bowed roof pieces. From the example above you can see that redwood is an excellent choice for a pergola and will bend very nicely. Don't worry! You don't need to do any bending. A good lumberyard will be able to provide you with the curved pieces according to your required dimensions.

Notice that the ends of the curved rafters are kept with a straight cut. This is also true of other kits we've found as well. Once you have pieces curved and measured out for the correct arc, you really don't want to mess with cutting fancy edges at that point. Some designers think any fancy edges are overkill and it certainly does keep the focus on the graceful lines if you keep it simple. But the example above also looks beautiful with the fancy edges reserved for the straight beams and top level of rafters.

The curved roof might be a little bit more cost, but we promise it will not add extra work to your building project. In the end, it would be something that will provide an even more unique look to your pergola design.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

A Pergola Design for a Small Yard

When looking around at pergola designs it is important to keep in mind that you can really create just about anything you want even if you have a smaller or oddly shaped yard. The picture above shows an example of a 3 post triangle pergola design that fits perfectly in a smaller, narrow yard. It adds character and style and shade to the patio area without overtaking the yard or making it look too small.

The key to planning this yard started at the beginning with proper site preparation before choosing which pergola they wanted to build. It just takes a little imagination to picture potential placement and design. The posts are actually secured in the ground with concrete footings dug in since the flagstone would not be strong enough to hold the pergola in place. 

Since they were digging into the ground they had to avoid any water or utility lines which most likely influenced the placement of the pergola. At the point they could have tried to squeeze in a more traditional sized four post design, but since the space is small meaning the beam spans wouldn't be that long anyway, there is no issue eliminating one post creating a triangle instead. With two layers of rafters there is still plenty of shade provided.

It is always a great idea to spend some time at site like this one to learn everything you would need in order build your own pergola that will last for years.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Quick history of the Pergola

Centuries ago the pergola was built in European gardens and walkways to provide partial shelter, shade and a place to grow flowering vines and fruit bearing trees. Their popularity in the Mediterranean countries soared during the Renaissance. The Italian word "pergola" actually means "a close walk of boughs".  Just outside of Florence the Medici Villa of Il Trebbio still displays an original pergola from the 15th century.

When Charles VIII of France invaded Italy in the late 1400s, the use of pergolas spread out into the French countryside and by the 1600s a signature point of any French nobility's garden would be a gathering place under a pergola.

What is not as well known is that pergolas were also being built in the garden's of the wealthier residents of Egypt as well. Ancient Eqyptian gardens regularly featured grape vines trained up the posts of pergolas. Fruit trees such as pomegranates and figs also intertwined along the support to create covered walkways. Pergolas also surrounded garden ponds as another means to escape the searing desert heat.

There is no mystery as to why the pergola is still a highly desired addition to any backyard landscape design. They add an element of style, romance and sophistication while also providing practical uses such as shade and plant support. Find out how to build a pergola in one weekend and start enjoying your yard in a whole new (old world) way!