Why Are Pergolas So Popular?

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So you’ve got the deck you’ve always dreamed of, or the patio you’ve been pursuing for years. Your yard looks great and you just need one last piece to finish it off and tie it together. However, you’re not sure what that should be – because you want a bit of privacy, a bit of shade, or even a place to hang lighting and a few plants. Is there anything that will fill all these needs? There is, and it’s this multi-purpose quality that makes pergolas worth it to invest in.

What are Pergolas Used For?

If you’re familiar with what they are, you probably already know how pergolas work. While there are many different styles, they all come down to the same few features – pillars that support a roof that is not fully covered, and sometimes enclosed by lattice or railings. 

Because they are open to the air, pergolas can have a variety of functions. They can allow sunshine, but also provide a bit of shade to break up the direct light. The lattice along the walls can be used as trellises for vines or other plants, adding some colour and life to your yard – and providing some privacy from surrounding yards. You can put lights along them, or an awning. There are many different applications and uses, so use your imagination and think of what would suit your property best.

Where to Put Pergolas

One of the best features of pergolas is that they can be put anywhere in your yard – close to the house, at the corner of your deck, freestanding in the yard, or anywhere else that might benefit from one. Many people use them over pathways, with vines or other plants to line the walls and provide a very unique visual experience.

Other people prefer that their pergolas are close to the house, where they will get more use for shade or lighting, or alongside pools or outdoor fire pits. Since pergolas are so easy to customize, you are free to design one that will work just right for the layout of your yard.

Questions about Pergolas

Which way should a pergola face?

Depending on the placement of your property, trees, etc., the answer for this will change. However, if you are using a pergola in Calgary for shade, you should orient the rafters north-south so that the wide shadows can cover the most area below (aside from the middle of the day). 

Why don’t pergolas have roofs?

That’s just how they’re built! It’s a purposeful design feature that lends to things like plant growth and more sunshine. Sure, you wouldn’t want to be out there in a rainstorm…but you likely don’t want to be outdoors anywhere in a rainstorm. Many people ask Can pergolas be covered?, which leads to the next question…

What is the difference between pergolas and gazebos?

The main difference between these two structures is the completeness of the roof. Gazebos generally have full coverage overhead, though the walls may also be open-air, while pergolas have simple slats or rafters. Pergolas generally feel a bit more open and free because of this. Learn more in our blog pergolas vs gazebos.

What are pergolas made of?

Traditionally, these structures are made of wooden beams of varying sizes – posts for the supports, beams for the roof, and smaller slats for the latticework. However, these days it is also common to see vinyl, PVC, fiberglass, or aluminum pergolas, which can be easier to clean and maintain but are more expensive to install. Some people may also consider them less visually appealing as well.

How much maintenance do pergolas need?

That depends on the material it is made out of. Just like wooden decks and railings, wooden pergolas will need periodic cleaning and restains/repaints every few years to keep moisture and contaminants from destroying the wood. Metal, vinyl, and PVC pergolas will need cleaning when dirt builds up, but overall they can resist the elements better and longer than wood will. So plan your maintenance according to what material you have.

Pergolas in Calgary

If you’re a homeowner in the Calgary area looking to invest in a pergola for your yard, it’s not quite as simple as buying a kit and setting it up in a couple of hours on a sunny day. Depending on the size and function, you may need to use screw piles or other foundations (e.g., if you will be hanging heavy vines from the structure), and that is best done by a professional. You may also need a permit to build. When wondering how much pergolas cost to build, factors like these will impact the price.

When you’re in need of an expert opinion for your new building project, let us know and we can offer some useful advice. Whether it’s a pergola, a patio, or anything in between, contact Maritime West Construction to help.

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