pergola with climbing perennial vines surround a brick patio with benches and fountain
Photo Richard Felber (Styling by Michelle Lay)
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Top Your Patio with a Pergola

The beauty of a freestanding pergola, like this one, is you don't have to anchor it to the house or move gutters. That said, here are a few things to consider.

Footings
Posts are typically sunk 2 to 3 feet deep, depending on the pergola's height, and set in tamped gravel. A skirted base provides a finished look.

Materials
Options for posts, rafters, and purlins include treated lumber, easy-care vinyl-clad aluminum, and composite made from wood and plastic.

Shade
Purlins provide some protection from the sun, but for more coverage you can add a canopy of leafy vines or climbing roses, woven bamboo mats, sailcloth, or polycarbonate panels.
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