Pergola Designs

Getting the right pergola design is critical. Every aspect of a pergola is going to need to be both a structural component as well as a visually appealing one. With all the parallel lines and uniform angles between the components, any mistakes are going to stand out like a sore thumb. To make things worse, you can’t just cover it up with siding or a roof like you can with other outdoor buildings like sheds or a garage. Everything about your pergola needs to be well thought out and designed before you start.

This might seem somewhat strange given how simple pergola designs usually are. Like a deck without the decking, it’s mostly just beams and trusses. This can make it difficult to square up and stabilize though. You don’t have the benefit of the planar stabilization that plywood, planking, or siding can provide. Because of this your joints have to be strong, and because they will be visible those joints have to be precise. Any gap or mistake in the angle of the cut is going to be noticeable and worse yet, could make your pergola unstable.

When you have the right designs for your pergola, and the right tools for making the cuts, things become a whole lot more simple. Pergolas utilize many structural components that are all identical to each other, and so it works out well once you have the angles down and the power tools aligned. This can be simple in some cases, most square or rectangle pergolas will have mostly right angles. With other less common designs you could get into a lot of trouble if your plans don’t set down the proper angles to cut at.

Elements of Pergola Design

Pergolas consist of a few main elements.

  • Footers: the foundation the posts rest on.
  • Posts: the vertical structural components that give the deck elevation.
  • Beams: the main horizontal structural components that the trusses are attached to.
  • Trusses: the uniformly spaced runners that give a pergola design it’s unique look.

These basic structural components are what the majority of pergola designs out there will use. With so few different types of structural elements, it may be surprising that there can be such tremendous variation in how pergolas look and function. The truth is that pergolas can be designed as a shade structure, eye catching feature, use as a trellis, or some combination of all of these things. Taking the time to identify the features that you want in your pergola can really pay dividends later when you’re sorting through all the pergola designs out there.