The long warm summers in Calgary lend themselves to lazy evenings outside with friends in the backyard. However, the intense heat of the late afternoon can mean that you have to wait for sunset before truly enjoying summer in your backyard; that is until you build your garden pergola. This simple piece of design will revolutionize how you utilize your outdoor space as it gives you some welcome shade and respite from the heat, as well as an outside place to host your friends and family.
One key to enjoying your pergola this summer in Calgary is what lies underneath your feet. A common mistake is to build a free-standing pergola straight onto the lawn. While this may sound tempting to have the feel of grass under your feet, it puts you at significant risk from insects, waterlogged ground and wood rot. A much better option is to build a stone patio first and place your pergola on top. Not only will this remove the above problems, but it also gives you a flat and smooth surface to put your garden furniture on. It will also work if you have an existing wooden deck to build upon. Both of these options allow you to put up a free-standing pergola, saving you the hassle of digging foundation holes or attaching the structure to your house.
Another key to enjoying your pergola is not having to think about the maintenance involved. For the most part, you won’t have to worry about this in year one, but you need to think about how you will use your backyard in future years. Buying a maintenance-free pergola can significantly reduce your yearly expenditure and give you more time to spend in your backyard. The following are some options for maintenance-free pergolas:
- Vinyl – back in the 1980s, vinyl was synonymous with plastic and while it was the cheapest material for pergolas, it was also the flimsiest. Today, however, most vinyl is sold with sun-proof additives that massively extend the life of the product. This does mean that you can’t paint it, but you can select the colour ahead of time to blend in with the rest of your yard.
- Redwood – if you must have a wooden pergola, make sure you buy one made from Californian redwood. It will cost you as it’s a limited supply lumber, but the durability and beautiful look due to the lack of knots will more than make up for it. You will need to treat it with sealant every few years to preserve the colour, but you won’t see rot or decay in the wood for 15 years or more.
- Fibreglass – Fiberglass is much stronger than wood, but much lighter which makes it ideal for bigger structures. It can be painted in any colour and is automatically resistant to water, heat, rot and decay. However, as it’s a synthetic material, it’s way more expensive than both wood and vinyl.
So make this Calgary summer the first that you spend outside in your backyard covered and shaded by your brand new pergola.