Building pergola on a hill
February 19, 2012 10:05 AM   Subscribe

How do I build a pergola on a hill. I have graded a small area, but can't seem to get it level. Couldn't I just build a platform that is level, then raise the pergola above that?
posted by merci420 to Home & Garden (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Are you thinking the pergola will just rest on top of the soil?

That's not a good option.
You need to either sink the treated posts into the ground and build using the posts as framework or you install footers of some nature and then build upon those.

And, make sure you're meeting all local building codes and setback requirements.
posted by mightshould at 10:30 AM on February 19, 2012

Have you tried a water tube level? Check the level point-to-point between your posts instead of trying to acheive a perfectly level surface first.
posted by Tom-B at 12:53 PM on February 19, 2012

If you are building a platform on sunken posts, then I think the level of the ground would not matter. You definitely need to sink the posts of the platform securely and properly, though. (sooo not an expert) And of course the platform is a full framework to support the pergola.

Either way, you need to sink it into the ground, not just have it sit on the soil. Especially on a hill.
posted by Vaike at 1:05 PM on February 19, 2012

You certainly can level the platform using concrete footers set on packed soil. I've seen them on fairly steep hillsides with steps leading up. You will need solid footings and a soil that won't be shifting when wet. If you have the site mostly level, you're gold.

What ever you do, you're going to need strings and preferably a laser level to do your flooring. Measure, measure, measure!

Since the same technique is used in leveling ground (laser level, string) you might as well try to spend some more time leveling your ground. Dragging a pallet or rolled up piece of chain link can really help knock of the high spots, and then it's a matter of fill and measure, drag again, fill again, etc. Takes time (ugh) prep work is 80% of everything.
posted by BlueHorse at 1:58 PM on February 19, 2012

You look like you are new to this building game. DIY/owner-building can be fun, rewarding and a good way to save money (and learn lots of new swearwords).

Your best bet would be to find some owner-builder/home renovation forums with good membership from your location, so that as well as general building advice, they can provide more location-specific advice on materials, building permits etc.

Good luck.
posted by GeeEmm at 2:49 PM on February 19, 2012

Response by poster: This is awesome. Thanks!!!
posted by merci420 at 3:49 PM on February 21, 2012

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