What is a pitched pergola?
A pitched pergola’s roof is attached to the house, a tall nearby wall or another standing structure and slopes downward towards the other end of the pergola creating a single slope. This can be a little confusing - generally the term 'pitched', when it's used to describe a roof, means that it's been built so that it slopes. For whatever reason, the term 'pitched' as it relates to pergolas means they're attached to something.
Pitched pergolas can come very close to being patios or verandahs and as such, may fall under different regulations for construction or require different sorts of permits.
What are the benefits of a pitched pergola?
The main benefit is ease of access. Since a pitched pergola is usually attached to the house, it's close by and can be used almost like an extended open walled room. With the right types of doors (i.e. a sliding door, stacker door or large bifold door) the area beneath a pitched pergola can be transformed into an extension of living or eating areas, making it an ideal place for families and entertaining. These types of pergolas are normally easy to maintain too, since they're normally sufficiently sloped so that they don't collect leaves or similar debris.
How is a pitched pergola constructed?
The posts for these pergolas are all still level and joined by cross beams, but they also have beams leading up to the wall of the house or other structure which are firmly attached by special brackets.
When designing a pitched pergola, you will need to take close stock of how the roof on your home is designed to cope with rainfall and drainage. You will want to make sure that any flow on from the roof has an adequate run off angle and that any run off flow can be directed. This can be achieved by using guttering along the lowest end, or by slightly changing the angle of one side of the pitch to direct the water to flow off that side. You will also want to ensure that the pergola you intend to build complies with any applicable building regulations - something you'll need to check with your local council.
Are there any problems with pitched pergolas?
There may be an issue with your council over whether your construction is a pergola or a patio/verandah. The reason this difference matters is because patios and verandahs may attract a higher property tax, where a freestanding pergola may not. It's a good idea to seek advice from your local council on this to find out of this is the case.