What are the differences between a canopy and a pergola? While the canopy is anchored to one of the living walls and has the sole purpose of repairing the area on which it is located, the pergola is instead a structure that can be positioned at will and with the aim of creating areas of shade and embellishment. It can be rented in gardens and terraces. The types of pergola are varied as well as their construction materials. The main models are simple structures without walls, windows or roofs and are mainly composed of 4 supporting poles and a series of beams positioned on them that will complete the whole. However, there are also other models on the market that can have mosquito nets, waterproof fabrics, lighting and various forms of design. The materials as already mentioned are different and are mainly composed of: wood, metal and masonry. It is important to remember that some pergola models do not have a single material but also multiple ones. For example wood and metal or metal and masonry. Having said that, let’s figure out how to build one.
How to build our pergola? Well, we could see that this structure has a very specific purpose and now we just have to observe how to make it in detail. Our pergola will require at least 4 poles that will be inserted inside a concrete casting and at a depth of about 40 cm, this to ensure stability and weather resistance. We could also insert pole holders in the casting (inserts in which to insert the poles). These are useful as they slightly raise the wooden posts which will be subject to less humidity, a declared enemy of wood. Once the 4 poles are fixed, we will rest two transversal beams, locked with round head bolts. They will then create 2 pairs of poles. Once this is done we will anchor some joists transversely so that they join the pairs of poles previously created. Usually the joists are 30 / 40cm away from each other, it depends on the plants that must then be placed there. In summary: 4 poles 12x12x250cm (4 pole holders, optional); 2 beams 12x12x350 / 400cm; 8 through bolts of 15cm (there are 2 for each anchor); 10/15 joists 6x8x250 / 300cm nails, joists, concrete, impregnating agent
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Now let’s see the detailed procedure for making our pergola.Choose the place where to build it, with a measuring wheel and 4 wooden strips, we mark the 4 points, with a shovel we dig our holes for the fixing casting of the poles / pole holders. The holes must be 35x35cm and 50cm deep. At the bottom we will lay 10cm of gravel. Then lay down the pile holders / poles and block them with strips or make them immobile anyway or they will create problems during the concrete casting. With the use of the primer, paint the posts and joists, two coats, this will help keep the wood in better and long-lasting condition. With the level, plumb line and measuring wheel, check one last time the distances and alignments of the post holders / poles and proceed with the casting. Let it rest for 1/2 days. Well, insert the poles inside the pole holders (if you have used them). Check that the concrete is dry and remove the post blocks. Now rest the beam on the first pair of poles and drill the holes, then anchor them with the passing bolts. Repeat on the second beam and secure the joists with carpenter nails.
When we decide to build a do-it-yourself pergola, located in the garden, on terraces or balconies, we go to meet the municipal permits. We will therefore have to ask the municipality for the building regulations as each technical office gives its own definition. The size of the supporting poles will make a difference, making the municipal permit necessary or not. Let us remember that the shadow areas must be modest. If we will use, for example, small poles but on large areas, permission will still be required or, in case of checks, receive sanctions or acts of unusability because the structure will not comply with the required standards. It should also be remembered that if the do-it-yourself arbor is tied or anchored to the ground, it will require construction permits as it will be necessary to carry out load calculations on the surfaces. If, on the other hand, we will build it in masonry or with masonry parts, it will also be necessary to request the building construction permit. I remind you that in some municipalities the DIA or communication of the start of works is required and if in areas subject to cultural heritage, you will need their authorization. Inquire at the technical office.