Wood Pergola Plans – Choosing the Right Covered Structure or Pergola Design


Get tips on how to choose the right covered structure for your wood pergola plans. Outdoor covered structures such as pergolas create cozy, functional, year-round spaces that extend a homes’ living space.



Outdoor covered structures such as pergolas create cozy, functional, year-round spaces that extend a homes’ living space into their gardens.  Because covered patios and decks have become a sought-after element among homebuyers, homes with covered structures tend to earn a higher resale price. In a sense, a wood pergola or other covered structure adds functional square footage to the home. After adding a covered outdoor structure, many homeowners find they enjoy the outdoors more frequently throughout the year. And in our drizzly Pacific Northwest climate, being able to enjoy the outdoors for more of the year is a huge plus.

Where to Find Inspiration for Outdoor Covered Structures

outdoor covered structure roof designMagazines, books and design websites are excellent sources of inspiration, but don’t hesitate to snap a picture of a friend or neighbor’s coveted outdoor space. Or, if you’re more of a writer, describe what you’re looking for in a paragraph or two. This will help your landscaping contractor understand what it is you’d like to achieve with your covered structure or wood pergola. Will you be dining, socializing or relaxing under your gazebo or pergola? Think about how you will use your outdoor space and how many people might be enjoying it. Also, as you gather inspiration, discuss the costs involved with your contractor to help set a general budget.  This will allow your contractor to keep materials and design elements within reach.


Building Outdoor Structures: Common Challenges & Special Considerations

Typical challenges to keep in mind when covering your outdoor living space include:

Sufficient structural support. Unfortunately, some contractors use quick, weak methods to build outdoor structures – such as using only brackets to connect a post to its footing. Just like indoor rooms, outdoor rooms must meet basic structural standards to be safe. For a strong outdoor covered structure, posts should be sunk a minimum of 3 feet into the ground for lateral support. Further lateral bracing is generally required in the upper structure as well.  To dress up your design, add trim to the posts or mix up materials – surrounding the base of the post with brick, stone or wood that adds architectural detail.


Focus on drainage. If your covered structure’s drainage is weak, it will soon become the kind of damp, leaky and generally miserable place where no family members ever want to hang out. Make sure your contractor has strong plans for the placement of gutters. Good drainage is especially important in wet locales such as Portland. The angle of the roof is key in achieving proper drainage, so gather all the roofing materials you will need up front, and make sure they are rated for the slope in your design.

attached roof and covered structure design Obtaining permits and following city codes will help you avoid headaches and possible hefty fines down the road. Most cities have requirements on how far any structure must be set back from property lines, for instance. Work with a contractor who has a proven record of meeting municipal requirements….






More at Choosing the Right Covered Structure or Pergola Design by Bjorn


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