Designing a Pergola That’ll Take Your Outdoor Kitchen to the Next Level
Pergolas are a flexible outdoor tool that can be incorporated into many patio designs. The frame structures—often realized in wood, sometimes in metal—allow you to add shade, cover, privacy, beauty and more to as little or small a space as you desire. Need to keep your outdoor kitchen sheltered from the elements? Or shield your dining space from the sun? A pergola might be the answer.
Since pergolas come in so many different shapes and sizes, take a look at some of the more popular options available so you can decide what will best fit your space.
Gable vs. flat roof
Gable-style roofs are higher with openings at the end to allow air to circulate. The improved airflow can help regulate the temperature underneath on hot days. The rafters in this style meet in the center at an incline, which you can mirror the roof line of your house to create an attractive symmetry. You can add materials to the underside that can be made to look like ceilings, or you can can include decorative additions, like false and dutch gables that allow for more space underneath.
Flat roofs, contrary to the name, are rarely completely flat. A flat pergola with roof sheeting is suggested to have a minimum of a 5 degree minimum pitch to allow water to drain.
Freestanding vs. extension
Pergolas can blend seamlessly into the side of a home, garage or other existing structure, or can exist as a freestanding structure of their own. Keep in mind that municipalities may have different permits or regulations, depending on the style you select.
Wood vs. metal
Wood pergolas are usually cheaper up-front, while aluminum pergolas will have a higher material cost but lower installation/labor cost. Aluminum might cost less in the long-run due to lower easier maintenance. If you’re going the self-assembly route, wood can be a little more difficult to put together due to its weight. Costs aside, you should choose your materials based on your preferred aesthetic, if possible. Wood allows for greater customization options as aluminum pergolas often come in prefabricated kits.
Natural vs. synthetic
Pergolas make great arbors, allowing you to cultivate a beautiful vertical green space around your outdoor living area. Train ivy to grow up the sides, hang flower baskets from the rafters or even grow grapes to impress your guests.
If the added upkeep and attention that plants require doesn’t appeal to you, pergolas can be handsomely decorated with other elements. Outdoor lighting, pottery, wind chimes or even artwork (that can survive the elements) can all add ambiance that suits your personal tastes.
Make it your own
Whatever options you choose, remember that pergolas are a flexible landscaping element ripe for customization; yours should reflect your personality and help create the atmosphere you want in your outdoor living space.
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