Pergola for the Yard #1: Pergola/Trellis/Privacy Screen for the Yard

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Blog entry by builtinbkyn posted 05-25-2016 04:28 AM 1916 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Pergola for the Yard series Part 2: Thank you Paul Sellers and Old No. 8 »

Started work on this today.

City living has been different and fun, but it also has some drawbacks. It’s nice to have the ability to walk out of the front door to have dinner at any one of 100 places, to get a haircut a block away or to just walk around and take in the activity on the street, but sometimes you just want to sit in the yard and be alone after the hustle and bustle of the neighborhood outside your door.

My townhouse, like any other, is connected to the neighbors next door and also to others above. For the area we’re located in Brooklyn, we have a fairly large yard. Two years ago I did the yard completely over, including building raised planter beds, and I hate to say it, but I also installed artificial turf. I did this primarily for Willie, our German Shepherd, as he pretty much destroyed the grass and left nothing but bare spots that became mud when it rained. Now he can be in the yard without trashing it and it looks good year round, rain or shine. So it was a worthwhile investment. He can come and go from the yard without tracking mud and dirt into the house.

I love sitting in the yard, but sometimes I feel as if we’re in a fishbowl, sitting at the table. When renovating the building, in lieu of the existing fire escape, I built terraces and added a fire sprinkler system. However, because of the terraces, I feel we could use a bit more privacy from above. The trellis should provide that privacy for the upper patio.

The trellis/pergola will go on the other side of the patio in front of the railing.

The terraces above.

The design.

The plan is to fabricate and finish all of the components in the shop and then assemble it on site.

Here’s some of the yard work I did myself, two years ago. Yeah everything must go through the house :( Building the raised planter beds saved me from having to remove the soil that was excavated to provide a base and drainage for the artificial turf, thru the house. The only part of the process I didn’t do was to lay the artificial turf down.

-- Bill, Yo! Brooklyn & Steel City :)

6 comments so far

View AandCstyle's profile


3262 posts in 2861 days

#1 posted 05-26-2016 10:33 PM

Bill, you have a really beautiful yard given the confines. I always wanted to make a pergola, but I delayed and, now, the HOA won’t allow them.

-- Art

View builtinbkyn's profile


2999 posts in 1545 days

#2 posted 05-26-2016 11:14 PM

Thanks Art. A long narrow lot for a long narrow building. An interesting fact – our lots in this area of are much deeper – 131’ vs 100’, which is standard for most parts of Brooklyn – as there was a carriage path that had been decommissioned. The land was then deeded to the adjacent properties. The original carriage house is in my neighbors yard. It’s recently been restored, looks quite nice and is a great place for BBQs ;)

My original intent was to build a full structure above that patio, but the planter bed next to it has crepe myrtles and I didn’t want to have to trim them back at the top to accommodate the pergola. We’ll keep using the market umbrella for shade.

I did make a change to the design. Thought it was going to look a bit heavy and actually not provide what I wanted in terms of a screen. I reduced the width of the rafters – they were originally going to be a bit less than 3” and spaced 12” OC. Now they’re 1 1/4” and doubled in number. Since I’ll be priming and painting everything, I’m using construction grade lumber that I’m working in the shop to clean up and dimension. Didn’t see the necessity in using cedar for this.

-- Bill, Yo! Brooklyn & Steel City :)

View kiefer's profile


5713 posts in 3271 days

#3 posted 05-27-2016 03:29 PM

Nice looking yard and pergola design.
Looking forward to the completed project .


-- Kiefer

View builtinbkyn's profile


2999 posts in 1545 days

#4 posted 05-27-2016 04:35 PM

Thanks Klaus. The design was co-opted from the net, but I did take license and made some changes :)

-- Bill, Yo! Brooklyn & Steel City :)

View builtinbkyn's profile


2999 posts in 1545 days

#5 posted 06-02-2016 03:16 AM

Time in the shop has been limited, but I was able to get some work done on this over the past two days. Hopefully I’ll get the rest of the components dimensioned and cut in the next day or so, so I can stain stain everything in prep for installation.

Man I hate repetitive work.

-- Bill, Yo! Brooklyn & Steel City :)

View builtinbkyn's profile


2999 posts in 1545 days

#6 posted 06-04-2016 01:38 PM

Finished off the rafters and supports. Everything is sanded. The notches are cut for mounting to the joists and these are ready for staining. Today I’ll pick up the 4 posts and 16’ long 2×10 joist, get some ready-mix concrete and prepare the footings. I figure I’ll need 12 60lb bags of Sakrete mix for the footings. Hopefully I’ll be done with this mid-week if the weather cooperates.

-- Bill, Yo! Brooklyn & Steel City :)

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