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How to make the pergola work?
nursewatkins
February 6, 2013 in Design Dilemma
We are converting our house to craftsman style. We have called a halt to the building process with regards to the pergola. It got out of hand and wound up being 12 x 18. With the roofline being so low I don't know whether to cut back the overhang, change the orientation of the rafters and add lattice, or what!! Currently there will be rafters dying into each section of roof. There's a center gluelam that will run the center span and die into the front header. This is Phoenix, AZ and this section of the house faces the park and due west. I'd love to hear ANY suggestions! Thanks all.
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nursewatkins
this is the birds eye view
1 Like   February 6, 2013 at 5:33AM
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nursewatkins
would it work if we mirrored the 4/12 pitch of the roof?
0 Likes   February 6, 2013 at 5:54AM
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Philippa Richard - You Just Rightsize
Hi, I think you should get rid of the overhang. The pergola needs to look less important (smaller) than the house itself. It would look better if you could lose the central beam somehow (maybe turning everything around 90degrees).
If you need support posts towards the front then I suggest two pillars either side rather than one in the center.

Something like the photo below would work well.

1 Like   February 6, 2013 at 6:10AM
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Jayme H.
Here is an example of a pergola in which it's rafters are resting on the roof and one where they are not..which way are you planning to run your rafters-like these pics or the other way?
0 Likes   February 6, 2013 at 6:17AM
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James Buckley
I'm not sure if I understand your dilemma exactly but here's my thought. Instead of trying to tie your pergola into the roof structure, how about a freestanding pergola that fills the area but leaves about 1-2 feet between its perimeter and the fascia of each roof eave. It will be level across the top. Repeat the tapered columns that you use to support the roof overhang but make them slightly narrower in width so as not to detract from the roof columns. Add a stone or cobble courtyard with a curved front to reduce the squareness.
0 Likes   February 6, 2013 at 6:24AM
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Jayme H.
Or are u running the boards this direction? I am going to let the pro take over either way....wanted to know which direction your boards would be running...
1 Like   February 6, 2013 at 6:37AM
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Jayme H.
I thought we had an architect involved here...Not sure leaving a gap would look right...I have seen these things tied into the rooflines with boards running horizontally across the front of the home as well as the other direction...Which way u are running the boards is an issue. It looks like, from your pic, that the top boards/roof of the pergola will run horizontally across the front of the home? Or is that pic just of the framework and the ends of your roof boards will face the front yard/as in my first two pics?
1 Like   February 6, 2013 at 6:48AM
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nursewatkins
Jayme: the boards are connecting the 2 sections of house (left to right). No tails exposed as it stands now.
0 Likes   February 6, 2013 at 7:21AM
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nursewatkins
@philipparichard: the central beam will not require a support, but is instead to tie the 2x6 rafters (at 30 degrees) into. We were afraid that the weight of a freestanding 12 foot span would cause bowing.
0 Likes   February 6, 2013 at 7:26AM
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Jayme H.
I was thinking that was a possibility..I would personally try to not involve the roofline, and would try to bring board edges close to to the edge of gutter...Your very front board could be cut to make it "fit" into/around the gutters so that from the front it blends in:...Or the boards could go up and rest on the roof like in my second set of pics..white pergola on shigled home. Does that make any sense?
0 Likes   February 6, 2013 at 7:33AM
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Jayme H.
pics of pergolas ...not affecting roofline, I know they are not exactly like your home...Are u building it yourselves or do you have some help from a contractor?
0 Likes   February 6, 2013 at 8:05AM
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Ironwood Builders
I'm liking what Jayme is trying to do...Add a second set of vigas above the large horizontals that are moving left to right across the front of the house. Even a 2X4 on the flat will add definition and detail to the pergola front...sort of like an arts & crafts dentil mould. Reducing the pergola a bit so it sets back behind the front of the hose is good, if even a foot back of the left side bump out....for the structure. The vigas can extend that foot and break up the difference between the two sections the pergola is bridging between. I am a little confused as to what the center beam is shown in the layout. it looks unsupported and I'm not sure it needs to be there. What is the dimension between the two bump outs?
1 Like   February 6, 2013 at 8:16AM
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soberg
I would recommend getting this designed by an architect. Any good residential architect can come up with a great design in just a few hours, so it shouldn't cost much, and then you'll be confident about size, scale, design, and durability. Even simple things like the width of posts can make a huge difference in the look and satisfaction. The right pergola can make your house the showpiece of the neighborhood but it's hard for a homeowner to get it right, first try.
1 Like   February 6, 2013 at 8:18AM
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Jayme H.
Thank God u showed up Ironwood! I know what I mean but don't always express it correctly! Plus my construction terminology is poor! But I can see it it in my mind!!! I am all for getting pro help...but often a good contractor can figure these out as well....
1 Like   February 6, 2013 at 8:20AM
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nursewatkins
would this work? In my mind it's mirroring the gables and the vents. For optimum shade the rafters run left to right and are canted at 30 degrees. Should I run them out from the house and put trex lattice over them? Summer sun is WICKED here. The pergola is actually to have function.
0 Likes   February 6, 2013 at 8:24AM
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Jayme H.
There are some good architects on here as well....please weigh in! I have designed a few outdoor construction projects that turned out well..but am not qualified to weigh in on structural issues.
0 Likes   February 6, 2013 at 8:26AM
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Jayme H.
I have seen pergola done like you are showing....It will get more complicated, and I would have a contractor for sure.
0 Likes   February 6, 2013 at 8:27AM
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nursewatkins
@ Ironwood. It's essentially a 12 x 12 area. My main dilemma is if I run the vigas(?) north-south for function, how high should they be? Should I trim back the eaves even more? The bump outs are the same on both sides, luckily
0 Likes   February 6, 2013 at 8:29AM
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PRO
nFORMAL design
Jayme...don't feel bad about terminology. I've never in my life heard of vigas used in conjunction with a pergola. Vigas are typically used to described the beams (ornamental or otherwise) that poke through a structure. When I lived in West Texas, you saw them a lot on adobe type structures. But, in different trades and in different parts of the country, people have different names for things. If you hear someone say "cinder block", then point out to them that it is "concrete block" or "concrete masonry unit...CMU". The people that manufacture them are quick to tell you that they aren't "cinder blocks". My contractor buddy in NC still calls them that even though I've corrected him a hundred times. Also, it is "concrete" on the ground, but it has cement in it. Haha.
1 Like   February 6, 2013 at 8:30AM
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Ironwood Builders
Been watching Jayme, just needed space to think and let it percolate (pergolate?). I don't like to jump in if things are going well. As to hiring an architect to solve this problem...have you already got an architect/designer on board? Seems to me if you are here on Houzz there is an issue with the design team that needs some attention. If you have done the design to this point by yourself....heck this is just a small part of the whole we need to get right. Reading back on the post...The center beam is too heavy to use to keep the 2X6 at twelve ft. in line. Hanging it from the bottom will just add weight. Screwing the 2X4 flats to the 2X6 will keep them lined up. I will say that the 2X6 on top of the glulams seems small. I would consider thickening them to 3X or 4X for massing. Then the 2X4 flats on top set at 16" o.c. will help for the western sun in the afternoon. A pull across fabric sun shade in summer will aid in that too.
0 Likes   February 6, 2013 at 8:34AM
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nFORMAL design
nursewatkins (You nurses on here...I swear. Right, Jayme? Haha), I'd be happy to figure something out for you. Just let me know what you are trying to achieve exactly.
2 Likes   February 6, 2013 at 8:35AM
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Jayme H.
We are very innovative...however...time for help! I can see it and I can get someone to build it for me...ha ha!
0 Likes   February 6, 2013 at 8:39AM
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nursewatkins
I do have a contractor. I had a draftsman instead of an architect and it was a disaster.
1 Like   February 6, 2013 at 8:42AM
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vmonc
Check out this photo from here on Houzz. Pergola set in, and similar work over garage door/s.
1 Like   February 6, 2013 at 8:44AM
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Ironwood Builders
nursewatkins, sorry if my terminology confuses, but the idea is that the separate parts can stay different in your head as we talk about this. If I say lattice...it can mean a lot of different things...but you are in the southwest and if I say viga you get a picture of a projecting piece...even if it is not a piece of mesquite poking out of adobe. The information I'm working with so far has the 2X6 running north south and the additional 2X4 running east west....on on the level. I think making the pergola slope like the roof will be too much for the structure. Trying to get the 2X6 to be just below the gutter top..so the glulams are set east west so that the top of the glulam is even with the bottom of the gutter. That means that the top of the flat 2X4 is slightly lower that the gutter. I didn't see a size for the glulams but assume at least a5 1/4" X 11 7/8" (?). That should put it's bottom chord above the 6'8" door height and above the head....since it will parallel the wall at the bump outs, it will disappear for the most part. A decorative cut on its end will soften it against the house where it is exposed beyond your posts.
1 Like   February 6, 2013 at 8:47AM
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Jayme H.
nFormal may have some thoughts and I believe he is an architect...I hope it gets figured out.. I can tell what looks right, etc..but am not qualified enough to say much more at this point...Thanks Ironwood...I knew u were in construction!
0 Likes   February 6, 2013 at 8:48AM
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decoenthusiaste
I think this might be inspiration for what you need to do with your pergola. I think you're already catching the idea, based on your rendition earlier.

1 Like   February 6, 2013 at 8:52AM
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Jayme H.
What concerned me about changing the top of it was added structural issues....Have seen many pics of it, and it looks nice..however
0 Likes   February 6, 2013 at 8:55AM
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nursewatkins
@decoenthusiast. That was one of my inspirational photos. My major malfunction has been to go with form or function. This picture would allow me the shade. The traditional look with rafters coming from the house into the yard would either need lattice on top or just be decorative :(
0 Likes   February 6, 2013 at 8:58AM
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decoenthusiaste
0 Likes   February 6, 2013 at 9:11AM
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Ironwood Builders
I really like what decoenthusiaste is showing you...as an open run it looks great..I have a harder time seeing how it transitions into your roof..and I'm really trying to keep anything off the roof...makes repair and maintenance of the roof a really expensive struggle. I actually have a similar situation to deal with when I add on to my kitchen and have spent a lot of time figuring it out...
1 Like   February 6, 2013 at 9:18AM
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nFORMAL design
Nurse Watkins...the Mark Downing image above by decoenthusiaste would work, tying something into your roofline would be inadvisable at this point as you would have to do a lot of flashing, etc. I would either have separate structure or attach it partially to the fascia. To be honest, I would personally attach it the the house on the inside of the "U" (looking down) and then run a beam across the two outside columns. Otherwise, the structure is going to get a little funky.
1 Like   February 6, 2013 at 10:55AM
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nFORMAL design
Also, it is hard to tell if the two parts of the house are equidistant from the center mass. If one juts out longer, then part of the pergola is going to be cantilevered off...or it will only be as big as the shortest distance...if that makes sense.
0 Likes   February 6, 2013 at 10:58AM
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James Buckley
What "Vmonc" shows above is exactly what I was trying to describe. By keeping the pergola separate, it is much simpler to figure out. Plus, if ever in the future you decide to do something different or need to replace parts, you'll have less difficulty.
0 Likes   February 6, 2013 at 1:08PM
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nFORMAL design
James...the demonstration by Vmonc is a "corner condition", but what nurswatkins has is a partial surround. Don't get me wrong...it is really well done, but it is not the same. I think unless pulled off perfectly, having pergola support columns right next to the house structural columns will look very strange. Also, the more stuff you "cram" (industry term...haha) into that space, the tighter it will appear.
2 Likes   February 6, 2013 at 3:19PM
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Ironwood Builders
Hi guys, thought that pulling back the glulam behind the front wall moves the columns behind and subordinate to the column at the front porch (the only one necessary that I can tell). Think about it...There is also the suggestion from earlier in this post to reduce the size of the pergola columns to further subordinate them. Near as I can tell the back column visible has no structural use?
1 Like   February 6, 2013 at 3:43PM
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Jayme H.
The way those posts are on that mock-up doesn't look right to me..the one on the left seems wrong. Are the Craftman posts the same distance from the home itself on both sides? I can't tell. I think there is an "equidistant issue" as nFormal mentioned. And Ironwood, I think it needs to be set further back also
0 Likes   February 6, 2013 at 4:12PM
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nursewatkins
Let me clarify that there are 2 posts holding up the edges of the porch. The one on the right is structural and will remain where it is. The one on the left????? Contractors were doing something.
0 Likes   February 6, 2013 at 4:36PM
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Jayme H.
This is kinda sorta like your house...not attached by garage, however...
0 Likes   February 6, 2013 at 5:07PM
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nFORMAL design
Nice find Jayme...yet again, though, the right side is really "opened up" compared to the left. If the right side was like the left, it would seem a little closed in...just my opinion. The pictures of the 4x4 posts above look temporary to me. One looks like it is in the middle of the roof line. I can't draw anything tonight, but I'll try to throw something out tomorrow.

Where the front colums are, I propose you put a beam across that has the pergola members resting on it and then attached to the house just under the roof line and above the window. No new columns needed, tied in very nicely, and more open underneath with no extra columns. That would be assuming there are columns across from each other out front.
1 Like   February 6, 2013 at 6:12PM
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Jayme H.
I imagined this one extending all the way to the garage....thx for the input nFormal.
0 Likes   February 6, 2013 at 6:28PM
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nFORMAL design
Don't imagine it extended to the garage (in the image you posted, Jayme)...imagine the garage being shoved to the left...so the space is tighter.
0 Likes   February 6, 2013 at 9:49PM
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designgirl178
If your pergola is 18' long then you would need central bracing. Also to be a true craftsman home the supports should be stone, were you planning on that or just wood? I like the double posts but you may need to bring them in with the span of 18', you could do two sets one closer to the home and one in front. Good luck.
0 Likes   February 6, 2013 at 10:03PM
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Jayme H.
nFormal...yes I get the concept....I meant more the space filled, so there is no gap.... :)
0 Likes   February 7, 2013 at 5:23AM
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nursewatkins
Four columns turned out to be overwhelmingly large. Thanks for all the input everyone.
0 Likes   February 8, 2014 at 9:13AM
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PRO
Autumn Skies Landscapes
I agree with James Buckley. Don't try to tie it into the house/roofline. The pergola should be a stand alone structure. Keep it simple as to not interfere with the architecture of the house.
0 Likes   February 8, 2014 at 11:33AM
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