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Monday, June 25, 2012

Pool and Spa Pergola Ideas

Poolside Pergola - Corner Design
Vinyl Poolside Pergola – Corner Design

As you make your way around your neighborhood or the internet in your search for pergola plans and ideas for different possible designs, you might notice that they are quite popular structures to place around back yard water features. You can get very creative when thinking about where to place your pergola and what shape and size to use. The example above is a corner wrap design. It almost looks like two separate pergolas but the roof pieces do connect in the back. It is still a very simple design though with standard square posts on concrete, and single layer beams, rafters and slats. The overhang is quite short and end cuts are very basic.

Poolside Pergola - Rectangle six post design
Vinyl Poolside Pergola – Rectangle Six Post Design

You will notice that the majority of waterside pergolas will be made with a white vinyl material. This is the best type for withstanding the excess moisture of a pool or spa. It is a little more expensive at first, but then upkeep is minimal with no cost. Just hose off the pergola to keep it clean, but you wont need to reapply stain or treat it. The pergola above on a deck at the end of the pool is designed to match the pool’s rectangle shape. Six square posts are secure to the deck. Again the roof design is simple though the edges of this one have a more sharply angled cut and longer overhang.


Cedar Poolside Pergola – Four Post Simple Design

There are times, of course, when wood is just what you happen to want and it also looks beautiful at the edge of a pool. The area surrounding the pool in this yard is a perfect compliment to the cedar pergola. The four post design is attached to the concrete with some nice base trim pieces and supporting knee braces between the beams and rafters that provide a more complete, elegantly curved look. The roof line is again, otherwise quite standard with just one layer of rafters and slats to provide just the right amount of shade for the seating area.



Curved Poolside Pergola

This pergola design is something you typically see at a resort. It is just there for style and does it ever work! The curved vinyl design set up on pillars provides a very regal boundary at the edge of the spa and pool seating area. There is no real shade being provided here since it is just a single line of posts holding up a minimal series of rafters on the curved beam. Extended trim pieces at the tops of the posts deliver additional style and support for the beam and rafters.



Simple Attached Vinyl Poolside Pergola

Bringing it back to a more useful example – the attached vinyl pergola above is a classic. The roof line is again quite simple, but the slats and rafters are cut a little thinner than usual and placed closer together to provide more shade.



Attached Vinyl Spa Pergola

Spa pergolas are truly inexpensive and easy to build. They typically have to cover a much smaller space such as the one above. The attached pergola with two square posts attached to the concrete only has 7 slats and 7 rafters so the material cost is quite low. The labor to build this would also be minimal. Two people could most likely put it up in one day.



Pine Wood Spa Pergola

Just like with pools, sometimes you still want to see wood around your spa, Pressure treated pine is the cheapest and as long as you are willing to spend a day every few years re-treating the wood it will last just fine. This is a very simple, four post square pergola with nice, thick roof pieces for maximum shade. This one could also be put up in one weekend by two people quite easily.



White Vinyl Spa Pergola with Deck

The spa pergola above is a little fancier than the others of course. This is a beautiful blend of different materials for the deck, fence and pergola. The posts are actually secured in the ground between flagstone pieces. You cannot properly secure a pergola on flagstone as it doesn’t provide sufficient stability. It’s best to remove the stone to dig holes for the posts. There are nice trim pieces added here on the posts and the top and the bottom including caps to match the fence posts. Like the previous two examples there is only one row each of 7 rafters and 7 slats so the basic pergola itself would not cost much more in materials or take much longer to build, if at all.

If these designs have inspired you, I encourage you to take a short survey and sign up for this email series and follow the steps to claim your free pergola plan and then to get the discount for the Guide to Building a Pergola in One Weekend. With all that information in hand, you will have what you need to create your own poolside pergola or spa pergola.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Build a Pergola in One Weekend – New and Improved!

If you are a regular visitor – first of all, thank you! – but you might have picked up on the notion that we wanted you to take a survey.

Have you clicked over on the mouse with the check mark? Yes? Well then, thank you again!

If not, please do. It wont hurt :-) Your email you provide to claim your free plan will remain secure and the answers you provide help us to see what our visitors need the most.

In fact, you might notice that the picture of the book on the top right of the sidebar has now changed.

That is because the How To Build a Pergola book has been upgraded to focus a little more sharply on just those topics submitted in the survey. Over 400 people have weighed in and they encouraged us to expand a couple of chapters and even add a whole new one.

There are some common concerns or obstacles that people seem to share about embarking on a DIY pergola project.

These are all easily solvable problems that are really not that scary at all. We know plenty of people who have succeeded in building a pergola without any issues.

We also know some people who have made one or two (or ten!) typical mistakes. We’ve put those lessons into the book so that you can learn from the blunders of others.

You know the old woodworking saying right?

Measure Twice Cut Once

Yeah, this is true. We have variations on that.

Make sure posts are level and true twice, secure them once.

Scout your site twice, build once.

I know these seem like they should be common sense and not worth noting BUT…..we’ve witnessed the consequences of forgetting those common sense details and it is not pretty (or cheap!)

Pick up a copy of the updated Guide here.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Wood pergola materials vary by price and appearance

Choosing which material to use to build your pergola is dependent on many factors. Budget, of course, is usually at the top  Prices can be so different even amongst the different timber varieties. For instance, in the drawing above there are 24 pieces of wood (4 posts, 8 knee braces, 4 beams, 8 rafters).  Pressure treated pine would total around $400. Cedar would total $1,000 and redwood could break any budget unless you live in area where it is readily available, then it could cost less than cedar! A similar vinyl pergola kit would run well over $1,000. So if you are determined to spend less than $1,000 is the pressure treated pine a valid option as far as durability and appearance compared to cedar or redwood?

Pressure treated pine definitely stands up to the durability test. As long as you make sure any ends you may have to cut to create your desired pergola design are also properly treated before final construction, then this very hard, solid wood will last for decades. We know of a properly drained set of pressure treated pine posts buried into concrete casings in the ground in an area of the country where the ground freezes that were still in fantastic shape after over twenty years. The old posts had to be removed to make room for a newer, larger pergola and even the timber that was in the ground was free of moisture damage.

The bigger difference between the materials is in their appearance. A pergola built from pressure treated pine will definitely look more rustic or natural. There could easily be visible knots in the wood. Now, the pieces can be either stained to a darker hue or painted, but that ads an extra level of ongoing maintenance as weather and wind will wear down the exterior layer and need freshening up. Cedar & redwood look beautiful and elegant on their own without any staining or painting needed. Natural oils protect  just as well as pressure treating.  If you are really determined to have the look of cedar or redwood, then shop around lumberyards for sales to try to bring the material cost down a little more.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

The Best Pergola DIY Tips Anywhere!

The best resource for information on how to build a pergola can be found after you spend just a few minutes of your time answering six survey questions. Once you complete the survey and opt in to the email series provided, you will be given a password that will provide you one time access only to two very valuable links.
  1. A free pergola plan
  2. A discounted version of the guide How To Build A Pergola In One Weekend
In addition to those, the email series you receive will also be very informative.
Here is a sneak peak of the seven email topics that will be sent out to help you get started on your own DIY pergola project:


Tools and Hardware Needed to Build
Most of the tools and some of the hardware you need are probably already in your garage or tool shed. Even if you do need to buy then, you will find they will come in handy for more than just this pergola project. We will give you a handy list to take with you tool shopping.

Securing Posts
We know this is one of the more intimidating steps in the building process. Don't worry - we will walk you through it. No matter which method you use, will give you the latest & greatest tips on how to secure your posts and never worry about rotting or warping or a strong wind blowing anything over!
Building Permits
Another yucky, scary topic that seems like a hassle more than anything, but you've got to handle it. Always keep in mind that you can have two possible sources of regulations in your area, Homeowner’s Associations and City Building Codes. Information on the possible impacts of both & how to work with them will be provided.

Material Selection
 We will give you a quick summary of the most used material types including the various woods and synthetic materials. Yes, some are better (and cheaper!) than others. Where you live & how you want to use your pergola could be the biggest influences.
Design Ideas
The possibilities for pergola designs are endless. We cover some of the most commonly used and provide some ideas that could spark your imagination beyond the typical uses.

Cost
This is the bottom to it all. Should you buy a kit to save building time and labor? How much would that be? What about if you do choose to build it yourself using a plan? How inexpensive can that really be in comparison? We’ve got that covered for you.

Additional Features
Even the most basic pergola can have a few little details added on for increased style and personality or to enhance its use. These additions can still keep within a budget very easily. We will cover a few of these ideas to get your creative juices flowing.

Surf on over and take the survey and claim your free pergola plan and don't forget that any plans you receive can be easily adapted to fit your own design needs.

Friday, June 1, 2012

How To Layout a Pergola Site on a Concrete Slab

Let’s say you have gone through all the steps for preparing your site for your pergola as covered here. Your yard may not big as the one picture above, but in the majority of examples people are looking for techniques and instructions on how to secure a pergola to a concrete slab since most patios are laid out with concrete, particularly the ones attached directly off the back of a house. So let’s cover those basic steps.
It really does take two people so please don’t try to do this on your own. Everything needs to be straight and level and true to ensure that your pergola is as sturdy safe and durable as possible. Start out by measuring to find the center of the concrete pad. You want to make sure you center the pergola on it properly.
Then measure from the center out 1/2 of the width projection of the pergola. Repeat on the other side and then use the same method for the length projection dimensions. Mark all the spots. Using a chalk line, connect the marked spots and draw out a perimeter. If building a square pergola, remember to check the diagonal measurements. They should be the same from corner to corner. Adjust the corner marks as needed.
And there you have your post locations! Bolt in your concrete base brackets and you are ready to put up your posts and get to the heavy lifting.

 For more information on the next steps to take to build your own pergola, please click here and check out our step by step guide. We’ve gathered everything we’ve learned from thousands of hours of personal experience, consultations with contractors and research in online builder forums. We’ve made all the mistakes, and even made up a few new ones! Hopefully, you wont have to do that. With the right information at your fingertips you might even have some fine with your do it yourself pergola adventure.