Patios, Pergolas and More
Summer took a little time this year to start heating up, but now that it's officially sizzling, it could be time to throw some shade on the backyard patio.
Maybe you could add just a fabric awning or a really big umbrella. But perhaps you're thinking of a more permanent backyard structure, like a pergola, cabana, or ramada, something with a roof supported by pillars or posts that partly shelters your patio. Basically, there are no walls on these structures.
A pergola can be square or rectangular and can have a lattice on top. But in especially sunny areas, all or part of the roofing can be a full-shade cover. The pergola can be attached to a patio, but it can also be free-standing.
You can buy inexpensive do-it-yourself kits for some kinds of backyard structures at big box stores. In fact, you can build a pergola yourself, but most homeowners probably aren't thinking about doing a big DIY project in the summer's hot sun.
Sometimes pergolas are made out of wood, but that's a poor choice in Arizona since wood will need repainting every year and probably will have a short lifespan. Instead have your structure built from aluminum embossed with a cedar texture to make it look like wood.
According to Tom Booth of Booth Built Patio Products in the West Valley area near Phoenix, a pergola can range in price from about $2,500 to $18,000, but generally, the average structure costs about $7,000. It all depends on the size of the pergola and the materials used.
Before signing a contract to have one built, homeowners should check to be sure that the contractor they choose is registered and licensed and has a clean history with the Arizona Registrar of Contractors. Keep in mind, all Rosie on the House Certified Partners are licensed, bonded, insured, and thoroughly vetted.
In some cases, you will also need a building permit from your city before you build a pergola. If your structure is free-standing and isn't attached to your house, you might not need that permit -- provided the pergola only covers 200 square feet of space or less. But if it's too close to the property line with your neighbor, you might need a permit after all. In general, pergolas must conform to rules for setbacks from lot lines and similar regulations.
It could be a great idea to turn your pergola into a roof and shelter for an outdoor kitchen. If you need to supply water, gas or electricity to the structure, be sure to hire a registered and licensed electrician and/or plumber.
Another shady idea: Use mesh or Sunbrella curtains to help protect your covered patio. A giant shade curtain can be rolled down at dinner time to provide shelter on the west side of the patio. These shades can also be controlled by a rope and pulley, a hand crank or a motor.
Print this page