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Can a Pergola Be Freestanding? (Plus 3 Anchoring Options)

Can a Pergola Be Freestanding? (Plus 3 Anchoring Options)

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People use pergolas for outdoor dining, cooking, or even entertainment. The thing is, the most common pergola requires you to attach it to a wall or a building for additional support.

However, some people prefer having a pergola not connected to any buildings or structures for aesthetic reasons. So, can a pergola be freestanding?

The short answer is yes. A pergola can be freestanding, and you can put it anywhere you like as long as it’s properly mounted and anchored.

If you want to know more about freestanding pergolas, keep on reading!

Are Freestanding Pergolas Safe?

Generally, all pergolas are safe, whatever kind they may be. A freestanding pergola has at least four columns that act as its primary foundation and support, considering the structure is independent of any wall or structure.

Moreover, like other pergolas, a freestanding pergola also needs to be appropriately anchored on the ground to ensure it’s completely safe. If not, the structure will wobble, and there’s a high possibility that it’ll collapse.

How Do You Anchor a Freestanding Pergola?

There are various methods on how you can anchor your pergola. Methods differ according to the area where you’ll install the structure, as we’ll explain right below:

1 – Using Ground Screws on Soil

You can anchor your freestanding pergola on soil or dirt by drilling helical piers or ground screws.

Helical piers are heavy-duty materials that can anchor your pergola. You can drill them yourself if you have the necessary tools.

However, if you’re experiencing difficulties, you might want to call a professional because you need to plug the helical piers deeply into the ground so that they won’t move even if the soil shifts.

On the other hand, you can also use ground screws. Simply drill the screws into the ground, then attach the posts of your pergola.

2 – Using Post Brackets on Concrete

If you’re planning to install your pergola on a concrete surface, you have to use post brackets. In fact, this is the easiest method because you just have to affix the brackets to the concrete.

Once done, attach the pergola’s posts to the brackets and fasten them using concrete fasteners.

However, before doing all that, it’s beneficial to check the thickness of your concrete through a Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR). If the concrete is too thin, it won’t be able to support the pergola’s structure, and it’ll easily break down if the ground starts cracking due to weathering.

3 – Using 90-Degree Mounting Brackets

There’s only one way to anchor a freestanding pergola on areas with wood flooring, such as decks. That is by using a 90-degree mounting bracket.

You should only install the anchors and the pergola on the deck’s support beams. Directly attaching the beams to the wood flooring will make the pergola unstable because wooden decks don’t have any support underneath them.

Plus, mounting a pergola on an area with wood flooring isn’t advisable because the material is prone to rot and other damage caused by outdoor elements.

Are Freestanding Pergolas Normally Wobbly?

It’s uncommon for a freestanding pergola to wobble, especially if it’s appropriately anchored. However, if a freestanding pergola is wobbly, one of the following reasons may be the culprit.

1 – Unstable Ground

A common mistake most people make when building their freestanding pergolas is installing them on uneven ground.

The surface where your pergola will lie should be as flat as possible. You can even alter the surface if it’s uneven in some areas.

2 – Material

Common materials used in a freestanding pergola are wood, vinyl, or aluminum. Out of the three, wood is the one that’s prone to wobbling.

Wood is naturally flexible, and it’s common for your freestanding pergola to move whenever there’s a breeze.

Therefore, you shouldn’t worry too much when it happens unless your freestanding pergola shows signs of wear and tear.

Is a Freestanding Pergola Better Than an Attached Pergola?

Freestanding pergolas and attached pergolas have differences that you should keep in mind before installing either of them.

First, you can’t build an attached pergola anywhere but right next to a house or patio. From the word itself, the pergola gets its support from the structure it’s connected to, so it needs a wall or any structure it can cling to.

On the other hand, a freestanding pergola gives you the liberty to place it anywhere you want. Just find a flat surface anywhere in your backyard, and then you can install it right away.

Furthermore, a freestanding pergola gives you endless design possibilities because you can style it according to your liking. You don’t have an abundance of design choices for an attached pergola because it only has one specific style.

Final Thoughts

To sum everything up, can a pergola be freestanding?

Yes. If ever you’re going to install one, ensure that you’re anchoring it properly because, unlike an attached pergola, it only gets its support from its columns.

Installing your freestanding pergola on even ground is also vital for its stability.

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