According to the dictionary definition, a pergola is an arbor that is built with horizontal beams or trellises and is supported by columns or post. The purpose of the structure is to support or train vines or other plants to grow upward. But in the Phoenix area, a pergola is far more than just a structure to support plants. Pergolas are often the shade structure of choice used to create a protected relaxation oasis. These structures can be built with an open trellis like ceiling and are most often made from large wooden beams and wood rafters. The support for the rafters is provided by four large columns or posts which allow all four sides to remain open for easy access. To learn more about Arizona pergolas, call 480-969-1911 to schedule a free no obligation design consultation with a UNIQUE designer.
One of the biggest benefits of a pergola is that this shade structure can be constructed almost anywhere on your property. Unlike a covered porch or patio, a pergola can be located away from your house and provides a 360-degree view of your surrounding landscape and outdoor living features. Pergolas are often installed near a swimming pool, spa or splash pad to provide a shaded retreat for family and friends to enjoy in the heat of the Arizona summer. And with the addition of lighting, a pergola provides the ambiance for a quiet al fresco dinner throughout the year.
As mentioned before, pergolas are most often constructed of wood, but that is not to say that wood is your only choice. The design team at UNIQUE Landscapes will be happy to work with you to custom design the pergola of your dreams. As a licensed general contractor, UNIQUE is fully qualified to build your shade structure to your specifications and taste. In some cases, the rafter of the pergola is constructed of custom ornamental iron to create a more ornate filigree pattern. Other options include creating support columns that match existing architectural features on your home or even installing custom carved posts. But regardless of the custom features and design requests, you will have the peace of mind of knowing that your pergola is also engineered for safety and structural integrity as Chris Griffin, the owner of the UNIQUE companies is a civil engineer and has held a license from the Arizona Registrar of Contractors since 2003.
While a pergola is a relatively open shade structure, there are also options that will provide homeowners with even more protection from the sun as well as other weather. A ramada is a structure that offers a fully-enclosed roof but is still supported with just four posts or columns. These structures are most often designed to match the architecture of your home and can include stucco columns, stacked stone, matching roof tiles, and decorative accents. And your ramada can include additional custom features such as a misting system, ceiling fan, lighting, a BBQ island and more. Ask your UNIQUE designer for tips and ideas about which features you might enjoy when planning your ramada. And if you are interested in a more rustic look but still want the benefit of some shade, a palapa could be just what you are looking for. These structures are more similar to a large umbrella than an actual building. A single pine-peeled post or multiple posts are used to support a canopy made of dried palm fronds. Palapas are often installed over a BBQ island or at an outdoor seating area to create a natural looking shade structure.
Every good construction project begins with a good plan and a great foundation. It is critical that any structure including a pergola be professionally designed and engineered. Not only is this important for your safety and that of your guests, but it is also required when you are submitting your plans to the city for approval and permitting prior to the construction process. Each city can have slightly different requirements and it is important that your pergola is designed and engineered to meet the specific code of your city. It is also important that the footers that support your pergola are correctly designed and installed. These footings will be the foundation for your pergola, and when designed and built correctly, they will support the pergola for a lifetime. And finally, your pergola should be constructed using the same high-quality building practices that were used to build your home. Only licensed contractors should be hired to build any structure. This ensures the integrity of the structure and the safety and quality of the finished product. For answers to your specific questions about building a pergola, contact the UNIQUE design team to schedule a free consultation.