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Art Knapp
So Much More Than Plants
Art Knapp

Art Knapp Articles

What To Know When Installing A Pergola In Your Yard

in Outdoor Living

As the sun starts to appear in the sky, our thoughts turn to spending time enjoying the view from our backyard. On the West Coast, we love to relax and entertain in our outdoor spaces during summer. A pergola offers a classy and sophisticated, dedicated space to do just that. It is a permanent structure so there is no hassle with setting it up or taking it down and storing it during the winter. The space below can be open to enjoy the view of the sky or shaded for protection from hot UV rays while dining and lounging under its framework.

Pergolas can be set over grass but work best over a firm, level surface such as a stone terrace or wooden patio. Check that the height of the pergola does not interfere with overhead utility lines or tree branches and find out if there is any building or planning committee codes or permits required for Pergola installation in your yard. You can choose to assemble the Pergola kit or have a crew install it for you. Select the perfect spot that takes advantage of the view, breeze, sun and shade at different times of the day.

Is a Pergola and Gazebo the same thing?

While both a Pergola and Gazebo are used to enjoy the view from the garden, they are actually different structures.

A Gazebo is common in both private gardens and public parks. A permanent peaked roof made from wood, metal, tile or asphalt shingles, crowns the often round or hexagon perimeter of the gazebo. When used in a town square or park, a gazebo is normally open on all sides with ornate wood scrollwork decorating the edges and musical performances or dances would be enjoyed from the “bandstand”.In private yards, gazebos were a place to escape the confines of the house and hide away to enjoy the breeze and view, or rendezvous with a sweetheart. The privacy walls would be made from stone, lattice or fabric screens and the gazebo would be placed facing the best view from the yard. In modern times, gazebos are most often used to provide privacy for a swim spa or hot tub and they are great for creating a rain proof, bug free dining area with cocktail lounge when they are shuttered and screened.

A Pergola is usually a square or rectangular framework of vertical posts with cross beams between and across the top. They are open to the elements save for a canvas/fabric shade that can be stretched across the top when needed on hot days or light rain showers and alternatively, vines and plants were trained to grow up and over. Pergolas are common in many historical civilizations such as Italy and Japan, and display the distinct and ornate style of the region. Some people keep the cross beams contained within the parameters of the vertical posts and others extend the beams beyond, in straight, curved or carved patterns. Historically, pergolas were used to enjoy the breeze while providing reprieve from the sun on a terrace or patio. They were also utilized to define walkways and provide a shaded path between several buildings on the property or from the house to a garden feature such as a pool or statue in a sitting garden when covered with flowering or woody vines.

Pergola Uses

In modern times, pergolas are not just ornate, they can also be used to grow produce, such as grapes or tomatoes. When the framework structure is covered in blooming flowers like wisteria, clematis, roses or trumpet vines, the Pergola becomes a show-stopping centerpiece of the yard. Even without trailing plants, the Pergola can be used day or night with outdoor lighting mounted to the vertical posts to illuminate the timbers and terrace. Because the structure has no roof, a fire pit can be placed in the middle with comfortable seating surrounding the cozy fire or a permanent outdoor fireplace could be built at one end with lounge seating in front and dining space set up behind the couches. A Pergola with chaise lounges and throw blankets is perfect for watching the full moon and meteor showers at night or observing the resident birds and squirrels at play during the day. For special occasions like weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, wine tastings and garden parties, electric or candle chandeliers can be suspended from the cross beams overhead to add a warm glow to the dining space or dance floor below. For an extra measure of privacy, soft billowing fabrics can screen off 1 or more sides of the Pergola.

Pergola style is a matter of personal taste. Some prefer a rustic style and others a more elegant and refined appearance. Pergolas can be made from cement or wrought iron but most often are constructed of wood, either in its natural form or as timber and lumber.


Art Knapp Surrey proudly sells Visscher Pergolas in 10x10 or 10x14 dimensions. The inside height is 6ft 9in and the exterior height is 7ft 8in. Visscher uses high-grade SPF lumber that is harvested in Canada and then manufactured at their plant in Chilliwack, BC into sturdy Pergola structures which are painted to protect the wood and provide a contemporary appearance. Visscher also provides the custom designed "Sliding Sun Shade" that has durable rollers that effortlessly slide along aluminum tracks and keep harmful UV rays off people and furniture. Visscher Pergolas are designed to withstand the elements and provide a welcome place to spend time with family and friends.

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