For many people adding to their current home is the preferred option than moving to a new one. It may be that more space is needed or that a dedicated space for a specific reason is required. It might be that the homeowner wants to add to their home and make it more attractive for sale in the long term. Whatever the case, when work is being done it may fall under the official system known as planning permission – but what work requires planning permission and what can be done without it?
Which Pergola is Right for You?
A pergola is a popular outdoor structure that has a series of columns supporting a roof made of beams and rafters in most cases. The roof can be open or can be covered to create a protected area beneath that can be used in wet weather. Pergolas may be freestanding or can also be added to a house. But how do you know which pergola is right for you?
Choosing a pergola
The first step is getting the right pergola is to assess what you want to use it for. For example, if you want it to provide shade for a planted area, the design you will use will be different to a pergola designed to house a barbeque and be used for outdoor cooking. We often see vine entwined pergolas in classic Mediterranean gardens, often with wooden seats in them and a view across the garden.
And while these idyllic styles of pergola are excellent for many gardens, the structures can also be far more practical. You can make them into a working space where you can cook or use as a hobby that has a solid roof and can even be screened to give privacy. So, by understanding what you want from your pergola, you can begin the process of finding the perfect one.
Pergola planning permission
Once you know what type of pergola you want to have in your garden, you can then look at the practical considerations. First of these is the planning permission question – the good news is that you often don’t need planning permission for a pergola.
Under the Permitted Development Rights, you can put up a pergola as long as it complies with certain rules. These include:
- You don’t use more than 50% of the land around the original house for outbuildings and garden buildings
- You can’t put a pergola forward of the front wall of the house, known as the principal elevation
- It can be no higher than four metres, or three meters if you are putting it up within two metres of the boundary with your neighbour
- You can’t add verandas, balconies or raised platforms so you can’t then add a pergola to one of these
There are also extra rules if your property is a listed building, if you live in a World Heritage Site, AONB or national park that means you will need permission for any structures.
Can a pergola be built on a deck?
When you are using DIY pergola kits, it is common to add them to an area of decking, making use of the solid floor already in place. These pergolas are often also attached to the house to make them even stronger.
You can opt for a design that matches the size and shape of the decking area you are building over. Or you can opt for something that covers part of the deck, even in an elaborate shape. Make sure you are able to add the supporting posts in the right position and it is often best to concrete these into place to ensure the pergola is solid and weather resistant.
Can a pergola be screened?
As well as making the roof of the pergola solid and therefore offering shelter underneath, you can also add screening to the pergola to make solid or semi-solid sides. There are lots of different options for this including using a fencing panel to make a simple side for the pergola or adding more horizontal wood beams. You can use the same style as on the roof with shingles or cladding to keep a harmonious look to the space.
Once you have your pergola in place and it is weatherproofed and secure, you are free to add extra features and accessories to it. Fairy lights are a popular way to illuminate them and to add a fun element while other types of outdoor light will often work. You can add seats, tables, swinging seats, barbeques or any other features that make the pergola into the space you need it to be.
Pergolas are a fun way to make an outdoor space more unique and useable. You can often erect them without planning permission and make them personalised to suit your needs and tastes.