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What is the best way to estimate the right size and position for a pergola?

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[OP]
Deal Addict
Jun 27, 2015
1344 posts
117 upvotes
East York, ON

What is the best way to estimate the right size and position for a pergola?

I am looking at building this:
Image
A little more about what I want to build here where-can-i-buy-30-long-wood-beams-engi ... g-2062251/

My question today: I am not decided on the best placement and the right size for my pergola (the left side in the attached picture).
I would like to hear your opinion about guessing the right size and placement. I am thinking about putting together the frame (the posts and the frame for the roof of the pergola) and moving it together
I might not like it or come to the conclusion that the whole thing might be too expensive. I want to be able to return the materials to HD if the testing fails. I do not intend to drill wholes. What is the best way to build that temporary frame? Clamps?
The pergola will have two purposes:
-offer shadow for outdor sofa and coffee table;
-it will block the view of two of two storey houses that are at the back of my backyard.

Here is a view from the deck toward the two houses at the back

Image
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8 replies
Jr. Member
Jan 30, 2015
189 posts
74 upvotes
Toronto
I'm a little confused why you went to ll the trouble to mock up a CAD sketch and then question where everything should go. Isn't that the point of the sketch that it allows you to manipulate and visualize easily?

Unless you have a large group of friends who are prepared to stand underneath a 500lb structure held together with clamps while you all lift together, that plan is a non starter. The amount you'd spend on clamps to achieve this would outweigh the cost of sacrificing a few 4x4s. If necessary, buy the cheapest 4x4's you can find and use them instead of the cedar (or whatever) you eventually want it to be. Or, use the drawings you have to get the same results!
[OP]
Deal Addict
Jun 27, 2015
1344 posts
117 upvotes
East York, ON
I did the Sketchup but every time when I go to backyard and I try to imagine what it would look like I feel that the CAD view is nicer than the reality, hence my idea to try before I buy :-)
Using lighter frames might be a good idea
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Jr. Member
Jan 30, 2015
189 posts
74 upvotes
Toronto
If it were me, i'd screw a two 2x4's together to form each leg, and then a sheet of 1/2" OSB to simulate the canopy, screw a few longer 2x4's to brace it all and you probably haven't spent $50 to replicate a crude version, you can screw additional bits of OSB together to make it larger/smaller
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Jul 14, 2008
8237 posts
1838 upvotes
Ontario
Just on the note of determining the right size, I went with a size that would fit the typical retractable canopy sizes from ShadeFX, and be big enough to house our patio L seating so that no one gets wet in the rain. :)
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Nov 19, 2004
8700 posts
1693 upvotes
Cambridge, ON
Can you build in stages? Maybe build the main pergola first and then live with it a few days before completing the second stage design.

As for by supplies and clamping them so you can move the whole structure around, good luck. That would be a disaster in waiting. Just holding a 12' 6x6 post without the hole ready would be a challenge, let alone multiple posts and then trying to clamp some sort of frame on.

Like mentioned above, grab some 2x4s and stand them around to give an approximation of size and help get an idea of post placement. Make sure the posts aren't in an awkward spot such as door entry or an unexpected sight line.

Hopefully you can determine the project cost before you really buy anything.
[OP]
Deal Addict
Jun 27, 2015
1344 posts
117 upvotes
East York, ON
Yes I can build it in stages, that is the plan
Probably using 2x4s is the best idea for now
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Deal Fanatic
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Nov 19, 2004
8700 posts
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Cambridge, ON
CuriousC wrote: Yes I can build it in stages, that is the plan
Probably using 2x4s is the best idea for now
Even with the drawing, it is sometimes hard to visualize what it will look like in the actual space. I always try to do the same with some sort of rough approximation when possible. Our pergolas were a lot simpler in design, but we still went back and forth on them for awhile trying to decide on the best option.
[OP]
Deal Addict
Jun 27, 2015
1344 posts
117 upvotes
East York, ON
don242 wrote: Even with the drawing, it is sometimes hard to visualize what it will look like in the actual space. I always try to do the same with some sort of rough approximation when possible. Our pergolas were a lot simpler in design, but we still went back and forth on them for awhile trying to decide on the best option.
that is the very reason for my post here, I know that what is on the paper (screen) never looks like in reality
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