Home Design Guides: Pergola, Decking
Not all timbers are suitable for all aspects of the construction of pergolas and gazebos. Some may be ideal for infills, but not for structural beams. Likewise, not all timbers suit all climates.
Merbau, also known as kwila and ipil, is a tropical timber which inhabits mangrove forests. Merbau is attractive and termite resistant, although its use has a considerable environmental impact.
Jarrah is a native eucalypt from Western Australia, which is valued as a durable, termite and weather resistant hardwood. Jarrah has a beautiful, uniform and long lasting deep red grain.
Bamboo decking is relatively new but increasingly popular, and considered to be environmentally friendly and sustainable. Good bamboo is extremely tough, and is naturally repellant to termites.
Treated pine is in plentiful supply, and is very affordable. It offers a 'softer' feel underfoot than some other types of wood. Pine must be properly treated to prevent termites and weather damage.
Cypress is the name given to a range of different species of conifer. Cypress is durable, stable and resistant to termites and insects, and offers a range of attractive colour options.
Red Gum refers to a number of Australian species (most commonly River Red Gum). Red gum offers beautiful hues and graining, and is rot and termite resistant but may degrade with humidity changes.
Spotted gum, also known as Lemon-Scented Gum, is native to coastal areas in eastern Australia. As decking, it is attractive, tough and fade-resistant, and be stained and finished quite easily.
Silvertop Ash, also known as Coast Ash, is native to Australia. It is sustainably grown readily available, and is strong and durable. Silvertop Ash is not as resistant to termites as some other timbers.
Composite decking is a type of decking material normally composed of plastics, timber and sawdust. Composite decking is designed to look like wood, requires very little maintenance and is quite strong.
uPVC decking is a plastic alternative to timber and composite decking and cladding materials. It comes in a wide range of styles and colours and requires very little maintenance.
Decking oil is a type of oil used to penetrate and protect timber decking from the elements and general deterioration. Decking oil can be used to rejuvenate timber and restore its natural colour.
A number of different stains, paints and acrylic treatments can be applied to timber, both to improve the way it looks and to help to make it more resistant to weather and termites.
Patterned, ornate wooden infills can either be used as roof cladding, or attached to pergola or gazebo walls to offer further shade or privacy - or simply to enhance the look of your pergola.
A variety of construction methods and measures can be used to add strength and structural stability to decking. Find out what's necessary, and how decks can be strengthened and reinforced.
The footings and supports used for your pergola will directly affect how stable it is. They will also determine how resistant it is to rot and termites, among other things.
Over time, decks may lose their colour and lustre. Find out how to choose the right stain for your deck, and safely restain it to the best effect.
Depending on the type of pergola you intend to build, you may need to apply for specific permission to build. Find out when you're likely to need permission, and how to go about submitting an application.
If you're planning on building a pergola in a cyclone prone part of Australia, it will need to comply with the cyclone code. Find out what sorts of cyclone proofing measures are required.
Regulations apply in bushfire prone areas which may affect how you're allowed to build a pergola. Find out what regulations apply, and how they affect your plans.