Home Design Guides: Pergola
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.
Done right, a pergola can improve the look of your home, and provide some very strategic shading and a great spot to entertain. Here's how to choose the right one for your house.
Pergolas aren't the most complicated structures, but there's still plenty of method and common-sense that needs to be applied to get them right. Learn about how pergolas are made.
Pergolas can be used to provide excellent shade when they're positioned properly, which in turn can help reduce heat in homes and lower power bills. Find out how to plan pergolas for strategic shade.
Many different types of pergola exist - each fulfilling different practical and aesthetic requirements. Learn about the relative merits of cladded and open top pergolas, gabled, pitched and sail pergolas and infills.
A pergola's not necessarily a very technical thing to construct, but there are some rules about what you can and can't do, and it's a very good idea to learn about them before you start making plans.
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.
Shadecloth is a light, inexpensive material often attached to pergolas to provide a bit of relief from the sun. Shadecloth can help improve the look of a pergola, while also allowing some light through.
Steel beams can be used to construct pergolas and gazebos. Pergolas made from steel are normally extremely strong, very durable and long lasting. Steel pergolas offer a very different look and feel to timber.