I'm having a backyard dinner party to celebrate my sister's Master's degree, and I would like to have a straight row of tables under a fabric draped pergola. Is there any way to build a pergola that's not set in concrete? I've seen some set in flower pots filled with concrete. Any other suggestions for building something temporary?
Sounds like what you need is to rent a canopy. Most big party rental companies offer these for a reasonable price, and you don't have to store it or figure out how to get rid of it after the party.
Are you then planning to install this pergola somewhere else? Why not just built it right once? The cost to build a pergola is normally in the 60 /40 range with 60 being the material cost. It would be possible to build one free standing but this would complicate the build as the support posts would need to be stabilized until the entire structure could stand on its own. Once complete the thing will be too heavy to move...so to relocate, it would then need to be diss-assembled. Then if moved built again....that is a lot of added labor. In this project I stabilized the columns until the structure was self supporting. ( these columns were set with heavy duty post brackets that are set in concrete piers) These 4 x 6 " cedar Beams can weigh 60 to 80 pounds each....that is a lot of weight that needs to be supported properly. Short cuts can lead to disaster when 1000 + pounds of lumber is overhead. http://www.hometalk.com/Kevin/project/2501
Maybe you could adapt something like this. I figure you could pound a pipe into the ground then insert the rebar into the pipe. Come up with your own design... ?
My idea would be to go to a store like Hobby Lobby where they have the cheap metal arbors for weddings. You can always decorate the arbors with silk ivy to make it look like an outside room. If it is in the evening you can even add small christmas lights. (everyone carries the lights now all year)
I would use pier blocks with brackets for 4x4 lumber as uprights. Then I would use brackets on top of those, with holes drilled for large bolts to go through either 4x4 or 2x4 cross pieces. Minimal bracing would be involved, and you could use a natural colored canvas painting tarp for shade. we have strict building codes where I live, and I am building one of these to use in the summer and store in the winter.