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Best HEIGHT for pergola???

Posted by sweetpea_path Z8 WA maritime (My Page) on
Tue, May 22, 07 at 12:24

We are going to have a freestanding pergola built off of the kitchen side of the house (south side of house). Currently, we're thinking of something in the 16' x 16' wide size, but how TALL should it be? I was thinking that if the top cross beams were at about 11' tall, then when covered in vines, which would hang down some underneath, it would be about 10' when standing under it. What do you all think of that height? TOO tall? The fella who's going to build it for us was thinking something lower, more intimate, would be better but I sure had it in my mind as taller....

Opinions welcome! and thanks.


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Best HEIGHT for pergola???

  • Posted by kudzu9 Zone 8b, WA (My Page) on
    Tue, May 22, 07 at 12:57

Since it's a pretty good size in the length and width department, I think 11' would be fine and proportionate. I'm currently building one about that size and the post height the architect specified was a little over 10'. You can always do things to visually lower the height -- like vines and hanging baskets -- but something too low you can't do much about. I vote for 11'.

RE: Best HEIGHT for pergola???

A lot of it depends upon the height of the eaves on your house. If you plan on covering your pergola with vines, you will want to have it lower than the eaves. The reason for this is the tendrils of the vines might try to get under the shingles on your roof, the leaves will cover your rain gutters, or you could end up with vines infiltrating the soffit of the house. If your patio is lower than the house then it should not be any problem to build your pergola low enough to prevent this problem, and still allow you a reasonable height underneath.

Personally if the builder can give you at least eight foot from ground to underside of the rafters/cross beams, then that should be more than enough. As to proportion, a taller pergola might be desirable when it is freestanding and distanced from any other structures, but one built next to or against another structure should be kept at or slightly below the height of the larger one. (In the case of two or more story buildings this should never exceed half the height of the side wall.)

I hope my comments come in helpful in making your decision.


RE: Best HEIGHT for pergola???

This is the first time Ive found this forum some interesting and attractive structures on these threads!

For your pergola, if you use the classic Golden Mean ratio, the ideal height would be 9 8.8"!

I often use the golden mean proportions to figure out dimensions. The golden mean number is 1.61803399. Its a fascinating number take the inverse of it and you get 0.61803399. You can read more about it at the link to Wikipedia below.

Here is a link that might be useful: golden mean

RE: Best HEIGHT for pergola???

OOPs! My mind hiccuped! That's 9.88' or 9' 10.656" - round a bit and say 10' for the height... which would be perfect for displaying a Wisteria floribunda! The flower racemes would have room to dangle and still allow a 6'+ person to walk underneath :-)

RE: Best HEIGHT for pergola???

At present we are having a pergola built on our back south facing deck. It's going to be 10x13 across the end of our 13x14 deck and will be for shade. My question is, would a lower pergola be better for casting shade? For this size of pergola how high should it be?

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