Apr 16, 2012

Designing the Right Pergola for Your Home

Creating the perfect outdoor area should start from the top – and that means installing a pergola that will set the scene for everything that follows. Modern pergolas come in all shapes, sizes, colours and a range of materials, meaning the right design is easily incorporated into your home. Pergolas are a key asset to your home and add value, functionality and practicality. Speaking to an expert who can advise on the best options for your outdoor area is the sensible move.

Be Prepared
Whether it is a new home in need of a pergola or an older home in need of a revamp, it is important to have an idea what you want and what works best. Before you seek out quotes, measure the area where the pergola is to be erected and make a note of any problems you foresee, such as the surface underfoot, proximity to sheds and other buildings, or where it is likely to attach to the walls of your home.

It’s important to find the right place for the pergola. Most new homes are built with an obvious location for an outdoor area already taken into consideration. The best location will provide ease of access to the inside of the home – access straight to the kitchen is ideal. A north-facing orientation is also a good idea, to make the most of our climate.

Types of Pergolas
Modern pergolas come in three main configurations – gabled (or pitched roof), flat roof or domed. As a general rule, flat roofs are cheaper and more straight-forward to install. They are a simple and easy option and can be made to fit virtually any area. Gabled pergolas give greater flexibility when it comes to style. They are also cooler because the higher roof allows the heat that gathers underneath to rise and the design encourages better airflow. Domed roofs add that extra ‘wow’ factor and are generally the most expensive. Once again, they can be designed to fit any space and they can be an impressive feature all by themselves.

Choice of Materials
Steel and aluminium construction has taken over from timber-framed pergolas as it offers great flexibility and protection from the elements. Timber pergolas will need more maintenance (such as painting) than steel construction and can warp or crack under certain conditions. When it comes to the roof, Colorbond and polycarbonate sheeting are the most popular choices. Polycarbonate can come in clear sheets to let light into the outdoor area, while Colorbond comes in colours that will complement the rest of your home.

Two Tips
It’s important to consider safety and local laws if your patio adjoins a swimming pool.
Pool suppliers should be familiar with the laws surrounding this. Look for someone who can install approved fencing to make your outdoor area as safe as possible. In many States pool fencing is a legal requirement, so check with your local authority. Here’s another tip – if you are installing a patio, put in your fencing before laying paving bricks to save hassles. It’s easier to cut the pavers to fit around the support poles once they are in the ground.
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