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Sunday, February 10, 2008

How to Build Pergolas on Existing Decks pt.1

When you want to add a pergola an existing deck the first consideration is whether the deck will support the additional weight.

Aesthetics is the second Concern. What will it look like? What style will suit the home? How much do you leave and what do you change? What details should we use?

This house was in a planned community near Guelph Ontario. Anything we did required drawings to be submitted and approved by a planning comittee. We do hundreds of designs like this. It all comes down to rules. My rules dictate Balance, openness and steering towards the best view.

I suggested the best course of action here was to open the deck to a patio eventually to add more capacity for gatherings, however phase one will update the tired builders deck with new rails, bigger steps and a pergola... and all within a few thousand budget.

These clients expressed a desire for low maintenance without rebuilding everything. I advised them that without changing the decking so that it could be pre-stained they will have to do that every couple of years. However, by pre-staining the new rails and pergola portion, even pressure treated materials should last a few years without needing recoats. Pre-staining is a lot of work and many people choose to do this portion themselves--rather than hiring us to do it. Compared to a typical stain job on a deck it is about 3x the work.


We anchored the posts and assembled everything on site. This pergola is open in the center to make it feel more like a courtyard. The larger wrap around steps make it feel less closterphobic and allow more of the view in to the living room as well. The details are simple and understated--there is nothing worse than a deck that entirely upstages a home. Too much is a tragic mistake in Exterior Design.

Plans for this pergola and deck project are easily adaptable for size. Most homes are slightly different in layout and this plan can be used on a straight or L shaped rear wall alike.

They show the details for the deck platform, pergola supports, anchoring into the understructure, the trellis screens, simple handrails and the pergola--along with rafter tail templates. Simply transfer them onto hardboard and use them to layout the full size cuts. We won't make you work from graph paper.


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