Before you can get to work on your new building project there are some finer points to be taken into consideration. Some of your initial decisions might be whether you take on the building yourself or need to contract someone else and if it’s feasible to attach the pergola to your veranda or make it freestanding.
1. Self build or contract?
The answer to this question will depend on a number of factors. Think about your level of expertise, whether a contractor is affordable and if you have the tools required to get the job done if you can hire them readily, especially if most of the work is being done on the weekend.
2. How much can you afford to spend?
As with any renovation project it makes sense to prepare a budget. Pergolas can range in price so it is important to know what ready cash you have on hand before you begin. You may need to tweak the budget along the way but if you have allowed for those incidentals there won’t be any nasty surprises before the project is finished.
Make a list of the materials you’ll need and price them. Get quotes from builders or other workers you may have to bring in for work you can’t do yourself.
3. Create the design
One of the most important decisions will be if this is going to be an extension of an existing veranda or freestanding. Keep in mind if it is attached to the main roof there may be structural issues and extra building approvals required.
The best way to create a design is with some graph paper, a felt pen and ruler. Measure out the area and use a scaled version on your plan. Get ideas from other outdoor areas, magazines and trade displays.
4. Permissions and approvals
There’s no point spending time or money if the council has reasons not to let you build. There are regulations for attaching anything to an existing structure and distances from the post to boundary fences.
Find out what planning permissions and building approvals are required before you start.
5. Styles and colours
Flat roof, dome shape, pavilion style, with so many choices of styles and colours available it may be difficult to make up your mind. Get inspiration from other people. Look at where the pergola sits in relation to their verandas. Many suppliers of pergolas have structures pre-built and on display.
Colours may be determined by your existing surroundings or maybe you want to brighten up your drab veranda by adding some bright colours or create a Mediterranean feel.
6. Choosing the right materials for your project
As difficult as choosing the right colour may seem, getting the materials right is worth careful consideration.
While pergolas have been predominantly made out of timber, there are many other materials more durable and better suited to Australia’s harsh climate such as metal, fibreglass and plastic.
As much as you may want to rush down to the hardware store this weekend and get your pergola on the way there are any number of other considerations to keep in mind before building your pergola. Will it be roofed? What about the flooring, paved or grass? Remember whatever you decide a little time spent before spending money could mean the difference between a disaster and a stylish addition to your home.