debra_blair64

Help! I added a pergola

Debra Blair
7 months ago

Can't figure out what is off. Is the pergola too big? just not complete and going through the ugly phase? plan to paint it white next year after the wood cures... new landscaping coming with new walkway.

Comments (38)

  • olychick
    7 months ago

    Oh, my gosh ^^^ that's not helpful. If it's not tied into the roof correctly that's one thing to look into, maybe making it freestanding so it doesn't reach the roof at all. I think it would look better without the pickets; they don't seem to fit the style/positioning, but if the structure is built correctly, I think it will look nice when it's painted. Are you planning on growing plants to cover it?

  • laceyvail 6A, WV
    7 months ago

    A porch roof would have looked much better with that small house; the pergola is simply oversized.

  • millworkman
    7 months ago

    How is that tied into the roof? Attached to your existing structure? Are those beams actually sitting directly on the roof shingles?

  • Seabornman
    7 months ago

    I think it will tie in much better when painted. It will be difficult to re-roof someday, but hopefully that will be many years from now. The picket fence might need something to keep it from standing out after you paint.

  • Debra Blair
    Original Author
    7 months ago

    thank you all! appreciate the candor. The pergola is held up by the posts, not the roof- so it is not attached to the roof. @olychick: you are correct- it is freestanding. I like your idea about maybe removing the pickets too. @Seabornman- agree, white paint or stain next year will improve it.

  • Embothrium
    7 months ago
    last modified: 7 months ago

    Rather than it being too big the main thing I notice is that there only seems to be room for one chair. Since it looks like the patio consists of concrete or stone pavers rather than a pour maybe you can compromise by bringing that out farther, to give you a more adequate seating area. Even if this additional section will be under the open sky.

    Also with that large dramatic path - the size and shape of which presumably the replacement path is going to continue - leading up to the small modest house you already have an element present that could be seen as producing a conflict of scale. In other words the ship has already sailed, with the pergola not being the first element present that maybe looks big in relation to the house.

    Finally you might think about putting a transparent roof over the pergola so it doesn't drip onto the entire area beneath it every time conditions have been damp or wet.

  • Sherry
    7 months ago
    last modified: 7 months ago

    It should of been built out of 2"x4' not 2'x6" or 2'x8". Never attach to the roof. should of been attached to the facia or free standing. You need to remove, fix roof, and redesign.

  • gardengal48 (PNW Z8/9)
    7 months ago

    It IS freestanding!! Do you folks not read?? And 2x4's are grossly undersized for any freestanding pergola with a span greater than 6'.

    Sheesh!

  • Sherry
    7 months ago
    last modified: 7 months ago

    Yes, I can read, but there are NO posts next to the house. It is VERY oversized for what it is. It would of look much more in scale with smaller boards. It cannot be much bigger than 4' or 6' x 8' and not supporting anything. It DOES NOT need the size boards for the top.

  • olychick
    7 months ago

    I also cannot see posts next to the house, so was going to ask Debra what is holding it up on that side? It looks almost as if there is a board attached to the house and it's resting on that instead of the roof? Maybe better pictures of that area would help.

  • Anna (6B/7A in MD)
    7 months ago

    I just think the scale is off, the wood that forms the roof of the pergola looks to be too big for the house.


    You have a very cute house. I also think a lovely little portico would have been a better choice.


  • Embothrium
    7 months ago
    last modified: 7 months ago

    Additional details required - definitely looks like the pergola is nailed to the facia. Also the two support posts look kind of narrow to be holding up the rest of it securely - what might happen during a tremor for instance?

  • gardengal48 (PNW Z8/9)
    7 months ago
    last modified: 7 months ago

    If anything, the front support posts are undersized. And a 2x4 will only span 6' without deflection, regardless if it is weight bearing or not. And that is at least 6' deep from front to back and double that from side to side. 2x8's are the typical span member sizing for even a small 6'x8' pergola.

    This is just basic woodworking stuff!

  • PRO
    PPF.
    7 months ago

    Paint will be a maintenance issue, and painting it white might tend to make it stand out more.

    Visually, I'd like to see the beam extend past larger columns, and for the cross pieces, wider, not as tall, and spaced further apart.


  • Whatever
    7 months ago

    Looks to me the back sets on a ledger board therefore no posts. The front posts look undersized for the size of the wood up top. The size of the too boards look that are 2x10 or maybe even 2x12. If it was mine i would take some scrap wood try a mock up beefing up the post to a 6x6 and also try 2x6 up top and see what it looks like - if good i would cut the excess off the top pieces and bulk up the posts. A lot of work - and expense - sorry . Just my idea

  • Sherry
    7 months ago

    We can agree to disagree. The pergola is NOT in proportion. The front to back cross boards are too large and the side boards are too small. If it is not nailed to the roof, as it looks, that is great.

  • Kate
    7 months ago

    I don’t care for the pickets, and a curved walk up to it would look nice with some curvy beds in front.

  • gardengal48 (PNW Z8/9)
    7 months ago

    LOL!! It is not a matter of agreeing or disagreeing. There are defined structural considerations involved when working with wood that are just not up for discussion or opinions!

  • olychick
    7 months ago

    Digdoug, that looks really nice. Debra, I keep forgetting to write what a cute place it is and looks like it has waterfront or water view, too?

  • PRO
    Charles Ross Homes
    7 months ago

    I agree the scale and proportions of the pergola don't complement the home. I can't tell what the height of the entry door is, but it suggests a relatively low ceiling height which is visually reinforced by the pergola.


    Like a bad marriage of the human kind, sometimes the best solution is to separate. That's my suggestion in this case. Carefully disassemble your pergola and reconstruct it as a free-standing structure at the rear of the home. It won't detract from the appearance of the home and you'll be able to sit under it and enjoy views of the waterfront (perhaps while sampling adult beverages.) If you salvage all the parts, you'd only need to add two additional columns.


    Best wishes for lots of great times under your relocated pergola.

  • Debra Blair
    Original Author
    7 months ago

    Thank you all very much!! even if everyone doesn't agree- which is to be expected. The pergola isnt sitting on the roof- the builder (well known house builder with 30 years + in the area) did not want to connect to the roof - but from the pics I see why it appears that way. This is a small-700 square ft cottage on a lake in Northern Michigan, and a work in progress. The porch is stamped concrete (cement) and 12 x 6. I'm really loving everyone's input and appreciate it. I need landscaping, new walkway and a few other items to get this right. I have learned that the middle of design projects is usually the toughest, they tend to go through an ugly period that makes one wonder what they were thinking, but with lots of good design advice and forging ahead they turn out okay.

  • beesneeds
    7 months ago

    I think the picket fence sides look odd, like they are an after thought or just don't match.

    But the boards on top are really throwing me off- they are just too big and heavy for that space. I think the smaller stick style boards like what a couple of people have shown would look much nicer and fitting to the size of the house.

  • Seabornman
    7 months ago

    The wind uplift on an open pergola is negligible.

  • PRO
    Charles Ross Homes
    7 months ago

    I agree wind uplift isn't a big concern with an open pergola, although it might be in a hurricane-prone area. I would prefer to see slats or lattice above the rafters to keep everything in registration, but realize that might not be the best option in a climate with snow and ice (in which case moving and constructing the pergola south of the Mason-Dixson line are recommended) or in a climate with regular hurricane-force winds (in which case you should stay where you are and learn to love ice-fishing and similar activities.) Bonus points to anyone who can diagram that last sentence.


    @Debra Blair, If you're planning to tie this together with a fence and landscaping, I suggest you consider an arbor in the walkway of your home as a alternative. The scale would be more appropriate to your home.

  • Jim Mat
    7 months ago

    Re freestanding. I see a ledger board.

    The structure does not fit the cottage.

  • Debra Blair
    Original Author
    6 months ago

    it is freestanding. Not in a hurricane area (Northern Michigan). Plan to paint/stain it white next year. Plan to landscape with new walkway. Have lots of time to think about this. Not concerned it will fall over, blow away or otherwise deconstruct. Built by a trusted home builder with 30+ years in the area, same that installed siding, windows, flooring and more last year with zero issues. thank you all for your comments, love the designs supplied on this thread too- very helpful.

  • PRO
    PPF.
    6 months ago

    it is freestanding

    Not that it matters so much, but it's not freestanding. If you removed the house, the pergola would fall down.

  • Lisa Dipiro
    6 months ago

    What happens in a bad storm like hurricane? Gonna ruin the house if not attached on that side

  • Lisa Dipiro
    6 months ago

    And never say hurricane free area— the way our weather has been never know ( I’m in CT and we’ve been having tornados which are extremely rare here— not too rare anymore )

  • Debra Blair
    Original Author
    6 months ago

    @lisa you are right. Never say never. who knows with climate change. But not prone to hurricanes.

  • Debra Blair
    Original Author
    6 months ago

    The rafters are supported by the header boards, not the roof as mentioned earlier. love the design advice here too. I'll post when it's all done.

  • PRO
    KD Landscape
    6 months ago

    Normally, I avoid threads with such varied dialogue. However, let me chime in and hopefully enrich, not muddy the conversation.

    1. Span charts exist for all types of lumber. Buried in the American Wood Council website are tons of span charts, one of which will apply. Check them out. https://www.awc.org/ .

    2. Construction: The bottom board(s) is the beam. The boards that rest on the beams are the rafters. If there is a third set resting on the rafters those are the purlins.

    3. While the construction method here is a bit unusual and not something I would encourage, the house appears to be a stabilizing agent even though the rafters are not tied in. That being said, the rafters are bigger than the beams, which is something I have not ever seen. That is causing the components, at a minimum, to be out of scale with each other and making the structure out of scale with your home.

    1. Part of the scale issue are the posts. Even in small space situations 6"x6" posts will be much better visually.

    5. One Possible Solution:

    Since your posts are probably not going anywhere you might consider wrapping them with 1" material which will beef them up substantially. In turn you could also wrap the beams, enhancing their presence. If you are really ambitious you could remove and rip the rafters, reducing their height and dominance over the balance of the structure and your home.

    However, with that being said I concur with @Charles Ross Homes that disassembling and setting aside the wood for a four-posted, free-standing structure on what appears to be a lake view is definitely the best approach.

    The photo below has posts and beams that are both wrapped, though note that the rafters and purlins are not wrapped.


    In the next two photos you can see that the rafters are notched and thereby a bit more integrated visually. That would be another strong consideration which would reduce the dominance of the rafters you have in place.


    Hope this helps a bit and good luck with whatever course of action you take.

  • olychick
    6 months ago

    What a helpful, detailed post!

  • Debra Blair
    Original Author
    6 months ago

    very helpful- thank you!! agree. I am going to beef up the posts to 6 x 6.

  • PRO
    KD Landscape
    6 months ago

    You are welcome, Debra. If you look at the last two examples you may notice they have wood detail at the bottom of each post, which creates both a physical and visual base. It can be as simple as the last photo, but that's another key. I noticed you have a small base but it would benefit from being upsized just a bit. Again, good luck to you.

  • Debra Blair
    Original Author
    6 months ago

    k@d- very grateful for your advice. Very helpful and very generous of you to take the time to help me on this.

  • Olychick
    6 months ago
    last modified: 6 months ago

    I cannot edit my first comment here, which admonished a really rude poster for his post. Now it looks like that rude post was removed and it looks as if I'm referring to Dig Doug's Design as being unhelpful. DDD's is not the comment I was referring to; it was one that's been deleted.