I get a lot of questions about pergola’s, arbors and trellis’ . . . a lot. for good reason. Structure adds a lot to the designed landscape. With structure you bring order, refinement, extension of the house architecture, definition of space, etc. I would say these are good things
Plus; if done well they can look really cool, bringing mystery, romance, intrigue, solitude, craftsmanship, even nostalgia to the designed landscape.
So I have decided to post these dimensions for a simple arbor/pergola for those of you who are looking for some pleasing dimensions to work with. I would say this design is at the more simplistic end of the scale, but this pergola is doing it’s job-bringing scale and defining the space where it is to exist.
Doing it’s job, that’s what matters. It’s part of the place and space, not out of place.
[ I almost always use 6×6’s for my post. ]
Using smaller dimension limber, say 4×4’s, a arbor/pergola just looks too weak, like it’s going to fall over at any minute. Especially if there are multi-layers of cross-pieces sitting on top of the pergola. 2×2’s sitting on 2×6’s sitting on 2×10 beams, that a lot of weight . . . structurally and visually.
This visual weight should be an important part of your design process, and how you hold up(post, columns, pillars, etc.) that visual weight means the difference between a successful design, and a not-so-successful design.
These dimensions are for a project where the post sit on top of a seat wall and the entire pergola anchors the end of a patio space. By sitting and anchoring the seat wall the pergola helps define the space.
How? With the vertical and the overhead elements(the pergola) anchoring the end of the patio, it brings a sense of enclosure to the area. Along with the ground floor of the patio.
Remember this drawing?
This was the initial concept drawing that was shown to the clients where we got the approval to proceed with the project. This rendering showed the relationship between patio, fireplace, seat wall, and pergola.
That rendering is where I tried to show how the pergola will look in the new landscape. How all the pieces fit together,.
If everyone approves-the green light is given. Then-we get to business with the numbers for the dimensional lumber. That’s where the sketchbook drawing comes into play.
The contractor will not take the dimensions, and my lumber take-off and come up with a final price for the clients.