We were looking for a way to enjoy our deck in the summer without getting cooked in the baking sun.
We had to ensure that whatever we installed had to be able to withstand heavy snowfalls in the winter, so we opted for the Gardesol 10' x 20' pergola which would fit nicely on our 10' by 30' deck, leaving room to BBQ off to the side. It has a set of louvers that can be opened to let sun in, but more importantly, allow snow to fall through and not accumulate. The design also keeps rain out, channeling the water into the legs!
|Hein takes a well earned break under the completed pergola
We ordered it through Amazon and it arrived promptly on a truck. Five boxes come on a huge overlong pallet, the whole lot weighing 519 pounds! The first task was getting it offloaded, so we pulled the box off the tailgate onto some planks as far as we could, and then cut all the strapping off, releasing the individual boxes to be manhandled about. You definitely need at least two strong people present to shift the boxes. We dismantled the shipping pallet and kept the bits for firewood.
|The 5 big boxes
We then unpacked the boxes so we could walk the parts to where we needed them.
The legs, beams, and louvers (louvres for our real English speaking friends) are all very light to move individually. There is a heavy box containing all the hardware needed to assemble it.
The parts all look very nicely made, and of good quality. I did some trial fitting of the parts to confirm sizes and to check that it would indeed be able to be installed on our 10' deck.
|How the louvers sit on the horizontal beams
Poor weather (days of rain) delayed the start of the assembly, but having studied the instructions, I knew that there was a long task of attaching end caps to both ends of the 38 louvers so I set up a production line under our carport out of the rain. I set up two trestles and a chair with a cushion for myself. I put the end caps and screws into some tubs and set up my cordless drill.
The task then consisted of:
- Remove two louvers from their box and lay them on the trestles with the ends near the chair.
- Add the two endcaps
- Insert two screws into each endcap by hand
- Drive all four screws in with the drill
- Flip the two louvers end to end to do the other ends
- Add the end caps, and screws to the second ends
- Walk the two louvers to the assembly area
- Repeat 19x
|Screwing the endcaps onto the louvers
Each louver has two small plastic feet to rest on the adjacent louver when they are closed, and I noticed that many of them were missing, so I counted how many were missing as I went. Once I had my production system going, each pair of louvers would take about 6 minutes to assemble.
I contacted Gardesol and informed them of the missing feet and they shipped me the missing feet.
My friend Hein visited for a few days and the two of us erected the pergola over 3 days.
Our deck is 10' wide but there were two issues that made our installation more complex:
- There is a small eave on the side of the house, and I wanted rainwater coming off the house roof to go onto the top of the pergola rather than pouring into the area below. This demanded that we shorten the legs by 7" to get it to fit below the eave.
- To maximize the height of the pergola, I needed to position it so that the louvers would rise up next to the fascia of the house, meaning the whole pergola needed to be 6" away from the house, which meant that three of the legs would be just beyond the deck. This demanded that I create three supports on the outside edge of the deck for those legs. Fortunately the deck has a facia comprising a 2x8 and a 2x6 nailed together, providing ample wood onto which a piece of pressure treated 6x6 could be bolted, providing the additional 6" needed.
|Drilling the bolt holes for the leg supports
|We clipped the last two louvers from the side.
|Louvers in vertical position
|Rainwater splashing onto the gutter
|Missing the gutter!