A pergola offers some protection from the sun without blocking it completely, making it a nice outdoor feature for those who like the heat and sunshine but need just a bit of shade. A pergola can also anchor a seating arrangement in your yard and help to break up the look of a large lawn. When you're thinking of having a pergola installed on your property, note a few factors to consider so you know you get the right one and are happy with it for years to come.
Wood is a traditional choice for material for a pergola; teak and bamboo can keep with the Asian feeling of a pergola's design. Pine, cedar, and redwood are also favorite choices for any outdoor wood structure, as these hold up well against the elements. However, remember that any wood will need consistent resealing to avoid holding moisture and forming mildew or mold and to keep it free from termites and other pests. Vinyl has become a favorite choice for pergolas for this reason; vinyl can be shaped and formed to look like real wood and is virtually maintenance-free. Aluminum can also be powder-coated a color or shade that makes it resemble wood and it too needs little to no maintenance over time.
2. Custom built versus a kit
A pergola built from a kit can make it easy to install yourself; however, be sure its size will work well around any landscaping features currently on your property and that you know how to install it so it stays upright and secure. If the ground is sloped at all and you're not familiar with how to install outbuildings or structures like a pergola over uneven ground, you may wind up with a pergola that seems a bit tilted. A custom built pergola allows you to create it to any size requirements and will also mean working with an experienced contractor who can ensure it's installed properly.
Adding some features to your pergola can make it more personal and comfortable; this might include a curtain you can close for privacy and noise insulation or climbing plants that add some visual appeal to the posts of the pergola. You might also hang plants from the rafters or have an outdoor chandelier installed. If you install a pergola and it looks a bit bland and boring, consider these suggestions for dressing it up and making it uniquely your own.