So, our “backyard”, such as it is, is about as hot as the center of the Sun. I am pretty sure we have fusion taking place back there. We’ve looked at ways of gaining some shade, but due to the nature of our house (clad in asbestos shingles), an awning or the like is out of the question.

We’ve been spending a great deal of time in the garden this year and looking at garden sites on the Web and gardens in our town. Eventually, it dawned on me that we might be able to gain some much needed shade by building a really large arbor! So I set out to find out all there was to know about arbors. I soon discovered that what I had in mind as not an arbor, but rather a pergola. An arbor is, typically, used as a threshold from one area to another. A pergola defines an outdoor space as a room. See the difference?

With Jenny’s buy-in on this idea, I set off to try and figure out how a pergola could be incorporated in our tiny backyard. The first thing we would need to do would be the removal of the existing deck. Neither of us are huge fans of this hurriedly built, sunbaked POS, so this pergola idea is already a good one. 😉 I then took a million measurements in the backyard to try and determine just how little space we have to work with. 319 square feet. That is tiny! And that is WITH the deck removed.

I then took all my measurements and drew them out on a couple sheets of graph paper and then made a couple of chits to represent 10’x10′ and 10’x8′ pergolas. Very soon it became clear to me that I had a problem. No matter how I positioned them, I always wound up with a leg blocking either the house door or the side garage door. Níl sé an-mhaith! While pondering this more, I started messing about with Google Sketchup. After watching a couple of the tutorial videos, I was off to the races with this. One thing that instantly became clear to me with this tool was that I could easily install an additional privacy screen to shield us from having to look at the neighbor’s crappy house while we are cold chillin’ under our new pergola! And, I kind of lost the plot for a couple minutes (OK, a day) and started drawing our entire plot of land and the house! This will be a work-in-progress as we fix things up around the homestead.

Yesterday, I decided to stop thinking about detached (four-legged) pergolas and started thinking, instead, about attached (two-legged) pergolas. Attached Pergola I could attach a ledger to the garage and use this to build the pergola out over the yard. But, then I realized that this did not fix the problem with those from legs sticking out in the middle of the yard and in the way of the door. During some downtime at werk, I took another trip around the Web for pergola inspiration and stumbled across a cantilevered pergola (this very picture, in fact!) Cantilevered Pergola and my mind was blown. Now, there is no way in hell that i am every going to be able to make something as beautiful or ornate as this pergola, but I am looking past the surface glitz and to the bones of the structure. This is something I can build!

My first thought was to build this up against the garage, but then I swung it around in my mind to be against the house. At 8′ high, it would block the back door of the house, but it occurred to me that I could build the roof of the area at the door up, sort of like a cupola. We could shade the yard and the door and yield the maximum amount of room in the tiny 319 square foot back yard! I can’t wait to get home to draw this up in Sketchup!

But, I can’t do anything until I figure out how to build new stairs! It is always something with homeownership, huh?

Note: Thanks, Trellis Structures for this amazing idea! If you want me to stop using your images, just let me know and the links will be removed.

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1 Response to Pergola

  1. Matt says:

    I sent my SketchUp drawing off to Trellis Structures.
    Gonna have to sleep on that one for a couple months…

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