How To Guide

Making Your Dream A Reality

Your project is now in the Building Phase, which means it’s time for it to get passed from your design consultant to your dedicated project manager. Expect to have a phone call with your project manager at this point so they can answer any questions that may have arisen and provide you with an estimated completion date. Remember, on site assembly typically only takes a day or two.

Your project manager will be there to coordinate with you, as well as any additional contractors that you’ve hired onto the project, including engineers, masons, or electricians as well as with our in-house production and scheduling teams. Their goal is to make the entire process as easy and stress-free for you as possible.

Before you know it, you’ll be sitting under the shade of your backyard pavilion and enjoying the comfort and beauty you and your family deserve.

The Building Process

The precise details of each project vary depending on who is going to be assembling your pavilion, pergola or gazebo.

What to expect during the building process in 10 simple steps: 

  1. We will email you a questionnaire that addresses key questions about your project that will be forward to the shop.
  2. We will also email you dimensions and exact instructions regarding your foundation. Your Project Manager will be available on the phone and email to answer any questions by you or you installer. We provide the mounting hardware to keep your landscape structure secure.

    Pro Tip
    : Having your footers completed by a local installer is the most cost-effective way for them to be done due to travel cost. 4 footers run in the $800-$1,200 range so you can see you wouldn’t want to add hundreds of dollars in travel expense to that.
  3. Permitting is the customer’s responsibility. While there may still be steps yet to complete to get the actual permit, the customer should have already researched what is required to get the permit to avoid delays. We are happy to speak to your building officials on your behalf if you need us to.
  4. We usually have at least 3 weeks of orders backed up. The good news is that it’s usually less than 4 days from the time we start building your kit until it’s packaged and ready to go.
    Pro Tip: Orders are prioritized 2 ways: first come first serve and then who is ready to build. So you want to get started on getting your permit and foundation ready right away.
  5. We typically won’t schedule onsite work until one week out. When you place your order, we should know the approximate WEEK your kit will be ready. Someone will be calling you ahead of time to schedule the actual day that works best.
  6. If you’re ordering a kit to build yourself, we’ll let you know when it’s going to be ready and then when we’ve found a truck to deliver it. Everything will be coordinated with you and you’ll have as much notice as possible.
  7. When you have your foundation completed, we ask that you to send your Project Manager pictures of the site preferably with a measuring tape laid over the footers so we can ensure it’s correct.
  8. We ask that you be present when the crew arrives and when they leave. When they arrive, the first thing they do is inspect the foundation and they they’ll call the office to confirm the status of the foundation.
  9. Then we begin to build your structure. The onsite phase of 95% of projects is just 1 or 2 days. Once we’ve completed your build then you’ll be brought over to look at your new structure and talk with the team. Ideally, we’d like to speak to you for a couple of minutes to make sure you’re happy before we leave for the day.

We have supplemental instructions if you’re getting a kit you plan to build yourself.  You should allow 2-4 days to build your structure with 3 people working on it.  We never tell people they can build their structure in one day not knowing who is going to be doing the work.

Problems are relatively rare, but if something isn’t right and we don’t get it fixed on that first trip, we will promptly  return to make it right!

Building Site Preparation

Because of transportation costs, it’s less costly to get someone local to prepare the site and build your foundation. You’ll be working with your Project Manager on the phone and by email so you’ll have all the exact specifications of your structure to share with your foundation contractor. What is exactly required for site preparation varies by municipality.

Three Critical Things to Consider

  1. What is in the space now? Is there a deck or patio there already or are we starting with a blank slate?
  2. Have you contacted your building department yet about what local requirements they have?
  3. What are the wind and snow conditions in your area? The reason being that the requirements in South Buffalo are going to be different than Virginia Beach (or San Jose.) It’s best to know exactly what’s required for a permitted structure in your area.

Remember, our team will guide you through this whole process.

Some projects are very simple while others are more complicated – such as an elevated gazebo attached to an existing deck.  However, there is nothing that we can’t handle or help find a solution. For example, we recently sent a gazebo kit and bridge up to Massachusetts that was engineered with 3 to 4 foot pillars attached to the top of concrete footers. If your site is uneven as that one was, we can help you find the perfect solution so do not stress.

We look forward to helping you with your planning process. We’re here to help make things go as smooth as possible and our experience helps you to avoid unnecessary surprises.

Building Permit

American Landscape Structures specializes exclusively in made to order, built on site landscape structures from shop-made kits built by our factory crews, by homeowners or by local contractors. Our national reach allows us to focus ONLY on pergolas, pavilions and gazebos not sheds, room additions, furniture, etc. which means we are specialists in what we do. That includes helping you with the permitting process.

First off, the permitting process is your responsibility to complete, but we’ll be there to guide you.

How do I get a Permit to Build a Gazebo, Pergola or Pavilion?

Pergola code requirements vary based on location. Don’t freak out after asking, “Do I need approval for a pergola?” Anyone wanting a pavilion, pergola or gazebo may not even need a building permit for backyard pergolas. Learn the answer to the question, “Do I have to get a permit for a gazebo?”

Concerned about building codes and permits? American Landscape Structures offers guidance. Our skilled consultants can work with clients who have questions like, “How do I get a permit to build a gazebo?” and “Do I need a building permit for a pavilion?” We aim to simplify the backyard building process.

Is a Permit Necessary to Build a Backyard Structure?

The decision is made: the backyard will soon be getting dolled up with a beautiful new structure. What are the next steps? How should homeowners proceed on this exciting new adventure? Asking, “Do I have to get a permit for a gazebo?” or similar questions can lead to what can be an annoying answer of, “It depends.”

Different laws and code requirements exist throughout the U.S., so answering a seemingly normal question of “Do I need a building permit for a pavilion?” can become complicated. Additionally, the size, intended features and proposed site location may all come into play.

How to Find out if a Permit is Necessary

Turn plans into reality by reaching out to the municipality where the structure is to be built. Some jurisdictions may not require approval for structures measuring no more than 150 square feet. Other places are big into paperwork.

Differences can vary more in areas where specific weather issues such as earthquakes or hurricanes are common. Permitting rules may be more stringent based on the population density or zoning; how likely is one backyard structure going to impact other homeowners living nearby?

Ask a clerk at the local permit office, “How do I get a permit to build a gazebo?” Authorities could explain that this step may not even be necessary based on job specifics.

Accurate Drawings + Proper Channels = Approval

Our professional consultants at American Landscape Structures can simplify this whole experience. If there are questions, we can clarify or find out where to get definitive answers. Interested in quality project renderings? We can accommodate!

Do I need approval for a pergola? Whatever the answer turns out to be, there are three types of drawings that may be able to help expedite the permitting process.

Construction Drawings. These blueprints provide a diagram of what is planning to be built and how. Specific building methods may be noted when relevant. Proposed materials and techniques are listed in such illustrations.

Cost: Standard project construction drawings are free; drawings for custom structures typically range from $100 to $200.

Engineering Drawings. Only necessary in roughly 15 percent of backyard building scenarios, these structural drawings give recipients an idea of the nuts and bolts of the proposed construction. These designs highlight relevant architectural and technical details.

Cost: Crafted by certified engineers, these renderings can run $800-plus, depending on the project’s scope.

Plat Drawings. These representations show the physical area where the structure will be built. Measurements may need verification, but this is a great starting point to see the location with lot boundaries, existing structures and visible utility lines.

Cost: Homeowners probably already have this document so the price is technically free; if not, it should be fairly easy to request one from the local municipality.

Planning for That Pavilion: Getting Started

When the right company is riding shotgun, deciding on a structure design can be the hard part. If a building permit for backyard pergola is needed, we can send homeowners down the right road to get it done. We provide the legwork and resources to accomplish construction goals for our clients, whether or not their projects need permitting.

What about my down payment if I’m not able to get a permit?

The fact is, it’s very rare but it happens sometimes. It’s usually a zoning issue or something to do with proximity to a property line or the % of impervious area on your property. If you aren’t able to get a permit and you’ve already placed a down payment, then we’ll refund your money. We don’t charge you any admin or processing fee. The only amount that is not refundable is if we prepared engineered drawings for you or in the case of larger projects, the amount specified in your term sheet. That amount will be on your order or term sheet and is non-refundable.

Remember! We are here to guide you through this entire process. Before you know it, you’ll be sitting under the shade of your backyard pavilion and enjoying the comfort and beauty you and your family deserve.

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