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Achieve the pergola plans

Wednesday 21 December 2011,

The design of your pergola plans is one of the first steps. Plans are absolutely essential and meet several needs:

  • Sleep your ideas on paper,
  • complete your RFP or PC, file
  • you to report all technical difficulties before.
  • determine the list of materials,
  • have a guide during construction.

To get a picture with a draft

A drawing hand-lift. This is already the work of artist.
Model of Bower
Model of pergola (overview)
Pergola model

At the very beginning of your project, you have a vague idea of what you want. You know about where you will put your pergola. You’ve seen models in magazines, on websites, or this site. But all this is really fuzzy. It must therefore begin by making a few sketches, as an architect would be to his client. Here it is in the preliminary draft. It does not search the detail.
To make, nothing better than the white sheet, paper and pencil. No need to be an accomplished artist. You make plans for you and you understand you. Of course, if you are able to make views in perspective and hands, it is even better.

Do not hesitate to remove, do, undo, redo. You are in a phase of brainstorming. Made several versions. Keep them all. More importantly give you the time. Time is your best ally.

When you begin to have clearer ideas, you can start to make more precise plans in realizing plans principles.

Make a model :

Execute model is common in the world of architecture. It uses a
clipboards, some small flounder in balsa, a good cutter and a bit of wood glue. It manipulates the materials directly in 3D, but the scale. For the design of a pergola, it is a somewhat luxurious technique. In addition, you must achieve housing model to view all. But this technique can be used in the case of a complex project, if it has not the talents of designers, or no computer or software available.

Plans principles

Principles plans allow you to define fundamental as the form of the pergola, the dimensions, and its integration with the existing. In these plans, you not set yet details such as the sections of parts, assemblies, etc. Not go too much detail.

The plans of principles can be you used to complete your RFP/PC file. The administration may ask developments, even denied the project. Then no need to spend time in the details for the moment.

To, you can continue to use a sheet (but), an eraser and pencil.

Mass by an architect plan
Plan of facades

The easiest is to have your existing housing architect plans: a plan of mass, indicating the position of the House in his field, and the plans of facades. Make a few copies and keep the originals aside. If the scale of the plan is too small, make enlargements to the photocopier. But try to keep a simple scale - for example 1 cm: 1 m.

If you have no plans, you remain more than to do it yourself. Take the size and location of the House and of the remarkable elements that you want to keep - parking, road, shed, trees, existing terrace, etc. - and see them on a graph, or better, graph paper. See also the passages of networks - EDF, water, gas - and the constraints of possible easements. Also specify the access, including those on the terrace. Made
a simple plan and avoid the unnecessary details that will affect your overview. Check that the level is correct. Make several photocopies of your plan. You have now several "blank" plans ready to give free rein to your imagination.

INKSCAPE: a table in 2D plan
SKETCHUP is available for Windows and Mac

But the ideal is to use a software tool on computer. Type such as Photoshop, Paint or Gimp bitmap software are useless because they do not modify an already drawn shape. Must be a vector type software, i.e. to draw simple shapes, lines, circles, etc., and to resize them.
Here are some possibilities to draw in 2D:

  • Many people have the suite Office Microsoft Office. This suite has a Draw drawing software. PowerPoint can also draw in vector mode.
  • An other Office suite including a drawing software, OPEN OFFICE is free: http://fr.openoffice.org/
  • a very good free design software, INKSCAPE: http://inkscape.org/?lang=fr

But the schumaher is drawing in 3D. You see your model as if it existed. The approach is more intuitive. There are many design 3D software, very expensive, very heavy, difficult to use. I know one which is very easy to use, it is SKETCHUP. And the icing on the cake: it’s free.
SKETCHUP is really an extraordinary software in many ways. Of course, will need you a little time to learn but when you awhile the bases, you will be able to model all your projects with comfort, speed and pleasure. SKETCHUP interface is very intuitive. One has the impression that the software guess what you want to do. With a finger of the left hand, and your right hand mouse, you handle your template as if you had it in the hands. Personally, I use SKETCHUP for all my projects: design of terraces wooden huts and shelters of garden, architecture, furniture, etc. Good I end my praise and I invite you to view the video I made to explain the basics of SKETCHUP.

The SKETCHUP model is pleasant but perhaps a little too detailed for a RFP/PC
The level of detail of the policy plan is correct
SketchUp pergola detail

This video is based on the design of wooden terraces but it remains applicable for a pergola. Take the time to look at it especially if you don’t have SKETCHUP.

In SKETCHUP, begin by modeling the House and its environment. Do not give too much detail. It does not have a hyper-realiste model but a modeling that will assess the future pergola in its environment. Don’t forget that the SKETCHUP model will be used for generate views for your RFP/PC..

In your SKETCHUP model, create layers for each type of elements. For example, a layer for housing and the environment, a layer for the pergola, another for the ties, Poles etc.
You can then create scenes that mask or make such appear or such mask, following different angles of views. If you need to submit an RFP or PC, you make scenes "mass", South Facade, Cup field, etc.
SKETCHUP allows you to generate a video animation that cross the scenes following the other, and the intermediate images between the two scenes are calculated to obtain a fluid travelling. You will show this video to your friends and family to show them your project and why not implicate them.

For quotes, make masks separated for each type of elements. For example, for the "Posts" mask, you create mask "Posts (quote)" and so on for the other elements. This allows you to hide the quotes and textual comments following scenes.

Tips and tricks to make the records requested by a DP or a PC

Example of map from Mappy and INKSCAPE
  • DP1 or PCMI1 - field location:

You can get a plan of your neighbourhood on a site like
Prefer the Plan view views Satellite or mixed. Make a copy of screen (on PC Windows, keys ALT + "Print screen" to make a copy of the current window to the Clipboard) at different scales. Make sure that the scale is well displayed, at the bottom of the plan in general. Resize the image in a 2D drawing software for printing scale coincides with 1 cm.

Correspondence standard scales => scales Mappy:
1/20,000 = > 200 m (rural)
1/2 000 = > 20 m (urban area)


  • Mappy, select scale 200 m and make a screenshot.
  • The image is in the press - bet. Under INKSCAPE, paste the image.
  • In file-document grids properties, select the "cm" as unit of grid and spacing X and Y of 1. The grid is now to be of 1 cm.
  • Select the image. With the resize handles, adjust the size of the image until the 200 m scale adjusts to the size of the grid. During the resizing, press the CTRL key to obtain an identical sizing in all directions.
  • To retain only the plan and remove peripheral elements, draw a rectangle over the area to keep. Select the image + the rectangle and do object-cutting-set.

On your drawing, add the direction of North. Circle in red field of the project or emphasize the contour. Indicate the corner of decision-making for DP7/PCMI7 photos and RFP/PCMI8 by an arrow.

Sample mass plan obtained from a SKETCHUP modeling
  • DP2 or PCMI2 - Plan of the buildings mass to build or modify:

The ideal is to leave a plan existing mass of the scanner and then modify with software.
If you don’t have it, the easiest way is to do in SKETCHUP. Need to model terrain, buildings and their size, access, existing trees, main, and although routes safe your pergola.
On your plan of mass must be the direction of the North, that the
sides, in 3 dimensions (length, width and height), and the location from which the DP7 photo was taken. You can add these indications directly in SKETCHUP. But you can add them at a later time with other software.
Choose the view from above and then on the "Caméra" menu, select "Parallel Projection". Export the image with file-export-graph 2D. It can be imported and then modified in INKSCAPE or a word processor.

plan in Cup
  • DP3 or PCMI3 - Plan Cup field and construction:

Production of a cutting plan as required by the administration is difficult to obtain with SKETCHUP. But this is still feasible, with the section plane tool. It uses the parallel projection of the camera view. In general, is a plan in the cup of the side view of the pergola. In this way, we see the back-to-back at home if this is the case.

South façade (view non-made with SKETCHUP)
  • DP4 or PCMI4 - Plan of the facades:

With SKETCHUP, choose the view (back, side, left, right), and the parallel projection.

Without insert
The same photo but with an inserted sketchup model
  • DP6 or PCMI6 - graphics Document

to enjoy the insertion of the construction project in its environment. This is not a plan, but an illustration. This piece should enable the Government to appreciate the architectural character of the places near work. So, the graphical document must be developed according to a distant view. He indeed must appear not only the project as it will be at the end of the work, but also buildings already built, and if possible the neighbouring buildings.

Your modeling in SKETCHUP can be a good base but this may not be sufficient. One solution is to make a photomontage in SKETCHUP. You take a global picture of your field, which shows both your home and the surrounding houses. The location of your pergola must of course be included in the photo. You import this photo in SKETCHUP (a simple drag’ not drop works). You put your photo in the background of the model and adjust you the size of the image, the distance from the model and the perspective of the camera so that it fits. This is not clear but it arrived.

  • DP7 - photography to situate the field in the near environment and RFP - photography to situate the land in the distant landscape are of simple photographs.

Plans details

The details are added in a second time. Expected to have received administrative authorisation to implement. Please enter the details up to the lower screws. This is that you will be aware of the difficulties and that will ask you the right questions. You adjust the size of the pieces based on commercially available sections. You determine the assemblies. etc.

You can create time scenes showing the phases of mounting of the pergola. You can also create scenes to focus on one point of detail. Remember to create views that will be used during editing. You can add comments on the views.

Enhancing the realism, such as furniture and glass cover details
Detailed Arbour model
Added feedback arrows

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