Prairie Cedar Projects


Pergolas look fantastic, help define outdoor living space and can be most effective in tempering the extremes of our diverse and ever-changing weather. Because of the unique curb appeal, pergolas really allow you to personalize your outdoor living space. Given some basic guidelines, they are relatively easy to build and are highly adaptable to reflect your personal taste.


Materials: Using rough sawn lumber, or even a combination of rough sawn & planed lumber will add substance and visual interest to your structure.

Posts: While a 4×4 may be sufficient to support the structural load, 6×6 and 8x8 posts have much greater curb appeal and add structural stability.

Height: Common heights range from 8’ to 10’. Near a bungalow 8′-9’ high max. Next to a two-story house 9’-11’ high.

Size: A 12’×12’ footprint provides excellent usable space for a typical family. 

Tiered multiples will add visual interest and function well for larger groups.

Canopy Layout:  Typical rafter spacing ranges between 12” to 24” on centre. Increase or decrease rafter spacing, depending on how much shade you would like.

Seasonality:  Most pergolas are designed for the hot season; however, with minor modification, they can be equally effective during the cooler parts of spring summer or fall. 

Change the rafter layout to provide both full sun and increased shade. It dramatically increases your use during all three seasons. 

Here’s how: Double up the rafters with a 4”- 6” gap between each set; increase the interval between each set to approx. 30″ o/c. Next add sets of 2-4 purlins perpendicular to the rafters on 3’-4’ intervals.

The combined grid effect provides a high degree of intermittent shade while simultaneously offering intermittent full sun.  This effectively allows you to respond to present conditions based on weather, time of day in any seasons.

Wind, Shade, and Privacy:  Strategically screening in a wall provides privacy and add to stability, particularly on a free-standing pergola.

Screening of a south/west wall reduces wind issues and provides welcome shade from late afternoon/evening sun.

Design Assistance: We can help you tailor your design to meet your unique setting and preferences. Contact us for details.

Layout: Use the posts, first beam, first rafter and first purlin as a story pole to mark all corresponding parts. Transfer the marks to all the other members of each set. This practically eliminates the need for a tape measure once you get up onto the ladder.


1. Mark your post for beam and rafter heights. Set your posts. 

2. Place the two sets of beams in position next to the post and transfer their position onto the beams.

3.Set the first and last set of rafters on top of the beam next to the opposite sets of posts and mark their position onto the rafters.

4. Now transfer the position of the beams onto the bottoms of the first and the last rafter set 

5. Use the rafter positions to measure and calculate the interval and spacing of the other rafters. Mark these measurements on top of the beams.

6. Repeat the same process for the purlins and mark the results onto the top of the rafters

7. Transfer the markings of step #2 onto the remaining rafter sets.

Setting Posts:

For stability, posts should be anchored with a metal base or sunk into the ground a minimal of 3′.

Post grit is an excellent medium for anchoring the posts into the ground. Avoid the use of concrete.

Lumber Care: Once you start construction, keep your wood building materials covered by a tarp, especially on hot sunny days. This makes a huge difference as it keeps your lumber straight & true!

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The best product, helpful staff, informative and knowledgeable. Made our project deck truly beautiful

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Friendly and knowledgeable staff, the quick drive out was well worth it. Don’t waste your time going to the regular lumber stores, the difference in quality is amazing. Head out to Prairie Cedar!!!

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Class Act. Professional, punctual delivery and A1 customer service.

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The cedar here is the best in Southern Alberta. The guy at the front is very honest and open when giving info which I appreciate. So many places tell you what they think you want to hear. Its different here and thats what makes them great. Will shop here always.

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