Title:
Movable pergola with planters
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A movable pergola has four lateral support panels, each of which is connected to and supported by a planter proximate to its base, and a slatted roof structure supported by the lateral support panels. The movable pergola can be expanded with one or more additional expansion sections that include roof structures through use of additional pairs of lateral supports connected to planters. The expansion can be lengthwise and give the appearance of a single uniform roof structure or at a right angle to the existing slatted roof structure. Lateral roof panels connect the lateral support panels and each lateral roof panel can be connected at each of its end by two fasteners. The lateral roof panels and lateral support panels provide support for the slatted roof structure. The planters, which may be filled with a ballast material, provide stability to the movable pergola, and neither the planters nor the support panels need be fastened to the ground.



Inventors:
Wang, Leo Chi-hong (Arcadia, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/072345
Publication Date:
09/15/2005
Filing Date:
03/03/2005
Assignee:
WANG LEO C.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04B7/00; E04H12/28; (IPC1-7): E04B7/00; E04H12/28
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Primary Examiner:
FIGUEROA, LUZ ADRIANA
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Wagner, Anderson & Bright, P.C. (Redmond, OR, US)
Claims:
1. A movable pergola, comprising: a plurality of lateral support panels; a slatted roof structure supported by the plurality of lateral support panels; and a plurality of planters; wherein each of the plurality of lateral support panels is connected to, and supported by, one of the plurality of planters proximate to a base portion of the lateral support panel.

2. The movable pergola of claim 1, wherein the plurality of lateral support panels is comprised of four lateral support panels and the plurality of planters is comprised of four planters.

3. The movable pergola of claim 2, wherein a third and a fourth of the four lateral support panels is adapted for expansion with a fifth and a sixth lateral support panel.

4. The movable pergola of claim 3, wherein the fifth lateral support panel is connected to, and supported by, a fifth planter proximate to a base portion of the fifth lateral support panel and the sixth lateral support panel is connected to, and supported by, a sixth planter proximate to a base portion of the sixth lateral support panel.

5. The movable pergola of claim 4, further comprising: a second slatted roof structure supported by the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth lateral support panels.

6. The movable pergola of claim 5, wherein a first and a second of the four lateral support panels is adapted for expansion with a seventh and an eighth lateral support panel.

7. The movable pergola of claim 6, wherein the first lateral support panel is connected to, and supported by, a first planter proximate to a base portion of the first lateral support panel and the second lateral support panel is connected to, and supported by, a second planter proximate to a base portion of the second planter.

8. The movable pergola of claim 7, further comprising: a third slatted roof structure supported by the first, second, seventh and eighth lateral support panels.

9. The movable pergola of claim 7, further comprising: a third slatted roof structure supported by the second, third, seventh and eighth lateral support panels.

10. The movable pergola of claim 8, wherein each of the first through eight planters is comprised of an approximately identical geometric design.

11. The movable pergola of claim 2, wherein the four planters are filled with a ballast material and the planters provide stability to the movable pergola.

12. The movable pergola of claim 10, wherein neither the four planters nor the four support panels are fastened to the ground.

13. The movable pergola of claim 12, wherein the four lateral support panels rest upon, and are supported by, a bottom of the four planters.

14. The movable pergola of claim 12, wherein the four lateral support panels rest outside of a bottom of the four planters.

15. A movable, expandable pergola, comprising: a first, a second, a third and a fourth lateral support panel; a first, a second, a third and a fourth planter connected, respectively, to the first through fourth lateral support panels; a first lateral roof panel connecting the first and second lateral support panels; a second lateral roof panel connecting the second and third lateral support panels; a third lateral roof panel connecting the third and fourth lateral support panels; and a fourth lateral roof panel connecting the fourth and first lateral support panels; wherein the first through fourth planters provide stability to the pergola.

16. The movable, expandable pergola of claim 15, wherein the first lateral roof panel is connected to each of the first and second lateral support panels by two fasteners, the second lateral roof panel is connected to each of the second and third lateral support panels by two fasteners, the third lateral roof panel is connected to each of the third and fourth lateral support panels by two fasteners and the fourth lateral roof panel is connected to each of the fourth and first lateral support panels by two fasteners.

17. The movable, expandable pergola of claim 16, further comprising a slatted roof structure supported by the first through fourth lateral support panels and the first through fourth lateral roof panels.

18. A movable, expandable pergola, comprising: a first pergola section, comprised of: a first, a second, a third and a fourth lateral support panel; a first, a second, a third and a fourth planter; and a roof support structure connecting the first, second, third and fourth lateral support panels; and an expansion pergola section, comprised of: a fifth and a sixth lateral support panel; a fifth and a sixth planter; and a second roof support structure connecting the third, fourth, fifth and sixth lateral supports; wherein the first and the second roof support structures give the appearance of a single uniform roof structure; and wherein the first through sixth lateral support panels are connected to, and supported by the first through sixth planters, respectively, proximate to a base portion of the lateral support panels.

19. The movable, expandable pergola of claim 18, wherein the first through sixth planters provide stability to the pergola.

20. The movable, expandable pergola of claim 18, wherein neither the first through sixth planters nor the first through sixth lateral support panels are fastened to the ground.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 60/550,715, filed on Mar. 5, 2004, the disclosure of which is specifically incorporated herein by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention is in the field of pergolas or arbors.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

A pergola or arbor is traditionally found in gardens and can serve as a gateway into the garden or as a focal point inside of a garden. Pergolas and arbors often have intricate design work in their panels, and a simple arbor may have four corner supports, decorative work running between pairs of the supports, and have a slatted or decorative roof structure. It is common to train plants to grow up arbor or pergola walls, and on up to the roof structure.

Many traditional pergolas or arbors are made of wood, and such structures can be custom made or even specifically made as part of an outdoor landscaping. The trouble with structures, as well as structures in which plants have been trained to grow up the sides and/or cover the roof, is that they are not readily movable, nor really subject to easy expansion. Instead, they tend to be stand alone structures that remain pretty much how they were designed in a single location.

Accordingly, there is a need for an arbor or pergola that can be moved without damaging plants growing on, in or around it. In addition, it would be desirable to have a way to readily expand arbors or pergolas, depending upon need.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is generally directed to a movable pergola that has four lateral support panels, each of which is connected to and supported by a planter proximate to its base, and a slatted roof structure supported by the lateral support panels.

In a first, separate group of aspects of the present invention, the movable pergola can be expanded with one or more additional expansion sections that include roof structures through use of additional pairs of lateral supports connected to planters. The expansion can be lengthwise and give the appearance of a single uniform roof structure or at a right angle to the existing slatted roof structure.

In a second, separate group of aspects of the present invention, lateral roof panels connect the lateral support panels and each lateral roof panel can be connected at each of its end by two fasteners. The lateral roof panels and lateral support panels provide support for the slatted roof structure.

In a third, separate group of aspects of the present invention, the planters, which may be filled with a ballast material, provide stability to the movable pergola, and neither the planters nor the support panels need be fastened to the ground. The planters can have an approximately identical geometric design. The lateral support panels can rest upon, and be supported by, a bottom of the planters, or rest outside of the bottom.

Accordingly, it is a primary object of the present invention to provide an improved pergola that is both movable and expandable.

This and further objects and advantages will be apparent to those skilled in the art in connection with the drawings and the detailed description of the invention set forth below.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a side view of a movable pergola in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a top plan view of the movable pergola shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a top plan view of a corner of a movable pergola in accordance with a second preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 4 is a top plan view of the movable pergola shown in FIG. 2 when it has been expanded in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 5 is a top plan view of an alternative embodiment of a movable pergola with different geometrically shaped planters showing how it can be expanded.

FIGS. 6-8 are diagrammatic views showing how an expandable movable pergola in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention can be assembled.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The present invention will now be discussed in connection with several preferred embodiments shown in FIGS. 1-8.

In the Figures and the following more detailed description, numerals indicate various features of the invention, with like numerals referring to like features throughout both the drawings and the description. Although the Figures are described in greater detail below, the following is a glossary of the elements identified in the Figures.

10 moveable pergola

12 lateral support panel

12a expansion lateral support panel

13 bottom base portion of lateral support panel 12

14 planter

14a expansion planter

16 lateral roof panel

16a expansion lateral roof panel

18 roof support structure

18a expansion roof support structure

19 slatted roof

19a expansion slatted roof

20 expandable pergola

22 first end

24 second end

26 expanded pergola

28 expansion element

FIG. 1 illustrates a preferred embodiment of a movable pergola 10 in a fully assembled, non-expanded state, resting on the ground. Pergola 10 has 4 lateral support panels 12, each of which is affixed to a planter 14. Four lateral roof panels 16 connect the four lateral support panels 12 together distant from the ground and, together with the upper portion of the four lateral support panels, form a roof support structure 18 for slatted roof 19. In this configuration the four planters, especially if they are filled with dirt and plants or some other form of ballast, provide a support base for the structure at ground level, thus increasing its stability, while the four lateral roof panels stabilize the uppermost portion of the structure. The slatted roof 19 shown in the various Figures is a very traditional roof design for a pergola or arbor; however, for the purposes of the present invention, “a slatted roof structure” need not have slats. Instead, for purposes of the present invention, “a slatted roof structure” includes any roof structure suitable for use with a pergola or arbor. Such a structure will traditionally allow light through it, and also is suitable for training certain plants to cover it, and it can take many forms, from highly decorative, to a very simple type of structure as is depicted in the drawings.

In assembling movable pergola 10, it is especially preferred that each of the four lateral roof panels is connected to each of the four lateral roof panels 16 by two fasteners (not shown), such as a nut and bolt, although any suitable fastening device will do. The use of two or more fasteners increases upper stability because each lateral roof panel is then connected to two lateral support panels by four fasteners, which provides greater stability than what might be obtained through use of only one fastener at each end of the lateral roof panel. In addition, use of two fasteners makes construction and assembly easy and practical, especially when the lateral roof panel has an upper pipe or bar connected to a lower piper with decorative lattice work connecting the two.

Once pergola 10 is assembled, it is ready to be put into use, or simply enjoyed as is. The planters can be filled with potting soil and plants, or be used to grow plants that can then be trained onto slatted roof 19 as they grow. If pergola 10 needs to be moved at a later date, it can be moved without having to uproot trained plants if those plants have been frown in planters 14.

Another advantage of the movable pergola disclosed in the present invention is that it can be expanded. Such expansion can take place in a lengthwise direction, as shown in FIGS. 4 and 5, or it can also take place in a direction that is perpendicular to the expansion shown in FIGS. 4 and 5 (in such a construction the slatted expansion roof would have its slats running perpendicular to the slats of the base roof, or it could take place in both directions, all depending upon user need and space considerations.

A single expansion of a base pergola is shown in FIG. 4 while FIG. 5 shows how that base pergola can be expanded (and it also shows a different geometric design for planters). FIGS. 6 through 8 diagrammatically show how an expandable pergola 20 can be extended in a lengthwise direction by one or two units to form an expanded pergola 16. When expandable pergola 20 is expanded lengthwise by a single unit as shown in FIG. 7 or FIG. 4, two expansion lateral supports 12a, two expansion planters 14a, three expansion lateral roof panels 16a and an expansion slotted roof 19a are added, with the result being a longer pergola that gives the appearance of a single uniform roof structure that was always in place. FIG. 8 shows a further expansion in addition to that shown in FIG. 7. In this Figure, expandable pergola 20 can be viewed as being made of first and second ends 22 and 24 when they are assembled together, whereas expansion units 28 create and expanded structure.

The specific design of lateral support panels 12 and lateral roof panels 16 is not critical to the present invention in so far as such panels may be made with any number of different decorative designs, or the panels may in fact be solid, although that would be less desirable because it would avoid an open and airy feel and because it would increase their weight, and thus, their expense. The only critical design consideration for the lateral support panels 12 is that they provide sufficient stability and that they can be adequately and aesthetically connected to planters 14 and a roof structure for pergola 10. The only critical design consideration for lateral roof panels 16 is that they can be fastened to lateral support panels at their two ends, preferably by two fasteners each, and that they provide upper stability to the pergola structure.

The planters can be integrated into the design and construction of lateral support panels 12, or they can be fastened to the lateral support panels upon assembly. Lateral support panels 12 include a bottom base portion that is either supported by planter 14, or which rests upon the ground, depending upon how planter 14 and lateral support panels 12 are designed.

While the invention has been described herein with reference to several especially preferred embodiments, these embodiments have been presented by way of example only, and not to limit the scope of the invention. Additional embodiments thereof will be obvious to those skilled in the art having the benefit of this detailed description, especially to meet specific requirements or conditions. Further modifications are also possible in alternative embodiments without departing from the inventive concept.

Accordingly, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that still further changes and modifications in the actual concepts described herein can readily be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the disclosed inventions as defined by the following claims.