Park Pergola Design: Part 2 – Vertical Supports

In Part 1 of this series, I showed how to begin the park pergola design, by modeling the curved horizontal beam that follows the pergola path.
Park Pergola Design 00


In this post, I’ll show how to model the vertical supports for the beam.


Design One Support

Draw the cross section of the support like this: Park Pergola Design 06



The extension I used for this part is Fredoscale. But it would also be easy to change the cross-section with SketchUp’s native tools.

Select the cross-section face, and activate the Taper tool of  FredoScale. Taper the top edge of the face by about 50%. Park Pergola Design 07


Pull up the support to a 12′ height. Select and make it a component. But before clicking Create, note the axes of the component. The component origin should be at the bottom of the support, as shown below. But what’s also important is the axes orientation. For the Path Copy extension to place these supports correctly along the pergola path, the green axis of the component should be perpendicular to the path; the red axis of the component should go along the path. That’s how my component below is set up, so I’m good to go. Click Create. Park Pergola Design 08


But before arraying these along the path, open the component for editing, and use the Rotate tool to rotate it back just a little – about 15 degrees. Then close the component. Park Pergola Design 09


Copy Along the Path

Here’s where I use the Path Copy extension.

Move the curved beam into blank space, so that the arcs that form the pergola path are visible.

Select one of the outer arcs and activate Path Copy (found in the Extensions menu). Then click the support component. Park Pergola Design 10


Enter your support spacing (I’m using 10 feet). You should now have several supports along the arc, at the spacing you want.

Park Pergola Design 11


Do the same support layout for the other outer arc.Park Pergola Design 12


Erase the first and last supports.

Now carefully move the beam up to sit atop the supports. You’ll have to do some fine-tuning to get the placement just right. Park Pergola Design 13

Coming next, in Part 3, I’ll finish up the pergola by adding a set of tilted cross-beams.


About Daniel Tal

Daniel Tal, ASLA, is a professional speaker and a registered landscape architect with over 17 years of experience. He is a 3D modeling and visualization expert, has authored two books with Wiley and Sons: SketchUp for Site Design and Rendering in SketchUp and is the tech-editor at large for Landscape Architecture Magazine. Tal runs a 3D modeling and visualization studio for Stanley Consultants, a 1,000 person multi-disciplinary engineering firm. Read more about Daniel.


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