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Making your own arbor

How to design it

Building a DIY pergola is a pleasant operation if it is carefully thought out, imagining the purpose of use, the materials used and the place in which to place it. The ideal would be in a semi-shaded area, sheltered from wind and humidity. The construction of a pergola is based on a «load-bearing» structure consisting of some poles, which can be made of wood, metal or concrete, and a roof composed of beams and joists, on which a covering that could be made of bamboo will rest, reticulated material to which a climbing plant will «cling» such as a vine, an ivy, bougainvillea, passion flower or wisteria. The poles must be planted in a consistent surface and well maintained by a pouring of mortar or by rigid guides inserted into the ground.

The choice of materials


A DIY pergola can be built in wood, masonry or metal, but it is also possible to build by choosing more than one material. Wood must be able to stand outdoors, it is perhaps the least expensive material but it is also the one that requires the most maintenance, as it suffers from the humidity and heat of the sun. Metal is a less aesthetically pleasing material, but, if of quality, it is long-lasting and requires low maintenance. Masonry requires more expert and more technical construction as there are different materials on the market that can be indicated. The choice therefore becomes more critical and has no room for error. The floor should be chosen rigid and with a layer of insulation to avoid the formation of mold, regardless of the material used.

The coverage


The cover of the do-it-yourself arborit can be structured with beams and micro beams, on which to fix a wooden or metal frame to allow a climbing plant to make its path. As for the choice of the plant with which to cover the pergola, the best thing to do is to contact a nurseryman in the area for advice on the ideal vegetation. It is best to choose a climber that is not a receptacle for insects or parasites, but that gives color, light and protection at the same time. Based on the position in which the pergola will be installed, one plant can be adapted better than another. Alternatively, it is possible to cover with bamboo, or with corrugates in specially treated fabric. We do not recommend plastic or metal, to avoid excessive noises in case of rain and excessive heat due to the sun’s rays.

Making a DIY pergola: Bureaucratic part


If the pergola is clearly a structure built in order to obtain a shaded or protection area, without affecting the naturalistic and urban landscape, then no authorization is required for its construction. In fact, the orientation of the law is precisely that of not considering the installation of a pergola as construction or renovation, as long as it does not cause damage or annoyance to neighbors or condominiums. Otherwise, if the work is of a certain importance, it must instead comply with the laws in force and require planning authorization issued by the municipality. The advice is to ask for information in advance from the technical office of the town hall, in order to avoid unpleasant misunderstandings with the cadastral surveys and the neighborhood.

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