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4 Weekends to the Perfect Outdoor Entertaining Space: Part 2

Posted by: Samuel Hirshfield on May 21, 2015


With the summer almost officially underway, get ready for outdoor entertaining quickly with our new month-long series.

Weekend 1: Build a Patio

Weekend 2: Add a Pergola

A pergola provides a versatile base for outdoor living, whether you’re using it to provide shade, grow a beautiful vine or even string up outdoor lights.

It’s important to note that you should never secure a pergola directly to a stone patio. In order to ensure that your structure will withstand wind, shifting stones, weather and other elements, you should remove stones and dig footings according to your local code.

Be sure to take the time to plan this project in advance. Time spent upfront will keep this to a weekend timeframe once you begin working. You may also want to consider a few other items when planning your project:

  • Check your local building code for any set back requirements. You may have to build the pergola a certain distance from property lines or other existing structures. 
  • Assess your material and equipment needs. A trailer or electric auger can make this project move much quicker than manually hauling or using a post hole digger.
  • While there are a variety of materials appropriate for construction, cedar or pressure-treated lumber withstand outdoor elements best.
  • There’s no standard pergola size, and it’s best to take multiple items into consideration when planning, such as yard and house size, structure purpose and budget.
  • Be mindful of height, making sure the pergola doesn’t appear too tall or too short. Interior door height is usually a good place to start. Also consider width, as your boards can bow over time without the proper support.
  • You may want to create more of a decorative look. Cut a straight or curved design on the joist beams prior to installing for this professional touch. 
  • Plan for any final touches you’d like to include. You can make your outdoor space feel more like a designed interior by hanging outdoor sheers or curtains, adding lattice or a retractable awning to the top, and including outdoor couches or a dining table.

Another great way to make this outdoor entertaining space feel like an extension of your home is to add electrical for stringing lights or hanging a chandelier.

Up Next: Adding lights for perfect ambiance

Tags: DIY, outdoor, outdoor entertaining, pergola, patio, equipment rental, trailer, auger