7 tips for building a canopy

If you’re adding a canopy to your garden, you’ll want it to last you for many years. To optimise the lifespan of your new addition, correct assembly and preparation are essential. In this episode of Gadero TV, Ronny offers handy and useful tips for assembling your own canopy. Read on to find out more!

1. Plan your project

First: sit down, have a think. Write down all of your wants and requirements for your canopy. Closed walls or open? Consider your budget. Choose between pre-fab or full DIY, including sawing the timber to size. And feel free to contact our colleagues for recommendations and advice. Mark out the floor and roof lines using pickets and a length of string so that you can visualise the situation.

2. Don’t skimp on foundation

If you’re burying your canopy posts partway in-ground, then we recommend hardwood or impregnated timber. Use concrete post bases to extend the lifespan of your timber - particularly if you’re using impregnated wood or Larch and Douglas fir. And make sure to include concrete supports for the post bases as well. Watch the video below for more details on installing post bases.


3. Choosing the right materials

The timber of choice for a canopy is either impregnated pine, Larch and Douglas fir, or hardwood. The latter is the more durable choice, but also the most expensive. Make sure to request a tender before making your choice.

A smart alternative to timber is aluminium. A canopy or pergola in aluminium requires little maintenance, looks spectacular, and has a very long lifespan. Real value for money.

4. Secure the required permits

Before ordering your materials, check with your local council to see whether you need a permit for your canopy. Rules may differ from one council to the next, so check to make sure that your new canopy is actually permitted.

While the rules tend to be flexible enough, canopies with a surface area larger than 30 m2 or used as a residence are not automatically allowed. Nor can a canopy take up more than half of the surface of your garden.

5. Spare no expense on structural integrity

We recommend using posts of at least 12 by 12 or even 15 by 15 centimetres. Don’t cut costs, because good, sturdy posts are essential for structural integrity. For a rugged look, choose Larch and Douglas fir, or even 20 by 20 oak beams. Do not leave more than a metre of beam unsupported for every 5 centimetres of the diameter of your posts. And remember that your canopy needs to be strong enough to cope with snow loads during winter months.

Get inspired: what to look for when building a wooden canopy?

6. Don’t cut costs on roof cladding

The roof isn’t somewhere to cut costs, either - leakage can ruin your pergola completely, and dramatically reduce its lifespan. For flat roofs, EPDM film is the recommended solution. EPDM is a high-quality UV resistant cladding material which Gadero offers pre-fitted to size. Watch the video below for more details on applying EPDM membrane.


For a pitched roof canopy, aluminium roof tile sheets are a very durable choice. LIghtweight aquapan tiles and even felt shingles can be a good, affordable option if properly installed. Watch the video below for more details on installing roof tile texture sheets and other roof cladding.


7. Maintenance is key

A canopy is an investment - particularly one that’s installed by contracted help. Costs can easily start to rack up, so you don’t want to have to replace (part of) your canopy in three years’ time. That’s why we say: treat your timber, and treat it well. Use a wood stain to extend the lifespan of, and protect, your canopy - from pests, inclement weather, etcetera. For more information and what to look out for when treating a wooden canopy, make sure to watch the video below.

Explore our full range of canopies, and subscribe to our YouTube channel for weekly new episodes of Gadero TV!