Monday, April 26, 2010

Pergola Perchin'

There was a corner of our yard I have been displeased with. I could but don't have to put beds there, and it gets afternoon shade (2pm onwards), so it'd great for flowers but not vegetables. I could do veggies there, but I have 40+ other boxes. I'm ok.

In the photo below, I actually moved the boxes on the right back a bit, making the space seem even larger. So now, what to do with that space?

Solution: Pergola.

It's not quite done. And, it's not made out of the most glamorous of woods. I could have built a gorgeous cedar beast with carved top posts.... but I decided to make a nice-but-functional-and-affordable pergola instead.

Cost of the project:
I used doug fir. I realize that might limit the life of this critter, but that's ok. I (as is shown partially finished photo below) stained the fir a deep mahogany color, to make it look a bit more ... pergola-y. I don't know why, but it worked. I already had the 2x3s cut from leftovers from my bed frame project, and I got the rest of the 2x4s for $20. We had the stain. I also have six boards for slats to go across the top, but those aren't up or stained yet. Those cost $18. Some mulch for under it (photos below): $10. Roses: $10. So, total cost for the pergola area: $58. Add $2 for bolts. $60.

That is not shabby.

So here is the first photo... I buried the legs about 1' each. The cross beams provide good extra support. The bolts I bought weren't hacking it to my liking, to I also used 2.5" screws to help secure. The horizontal beams are 10', and the vertical beams are 8'. So, with overlapping accounted for, we have about a 9'x9' pergola that is about 6.5' tall.
Another view... of my mess. I borrowed my neighbor's ladder. And, I almost killed my other neighbor when I tried to put this structure up too fast without double checking the solidness of the bolts. The whole thing came crashing down. One hour later, I put it up myself, thanks to the help of support boards and clamps.
Thought it may not look it, the area this sits on was actually slightly tilted. Grrr. So I filled in the one end with dirt and rocks, Then did load after load of dirt to raise up the interior a bit. I built a rock wall (about 4"-6" high) around the sides of the raised area, and then dumped mulch on the inside. I need to go back for the final two bins. The mulch will eventually look really nice because the dirt area outside the pergola will be wood chips (lighter in color). Right now, the color kind of pops oddly. The four cement bricks are there for the fire pit.

And then, there are the roses. I was at Walmart (uck, yes, but I needed something I couldn't find elsewhere) this weekend, and they had $2 roses. NO JOKE. $2. So, I bought five climbing roses: one whitish, one yellow, one red, one pink, and one yellowish red. They all looked pretty healthy, so here's hoping. I side treated them yesterday with blood meal and watered them well, so I think they've been given the best shot possible. I have this vision of chairs underneath, a fire pit going, and roses climbing around. Bliss.
Ok, it totally looks crooked in this photo, but I swear, it's not! This photo takes a lot of envisioning, but imagine more flowers in rock beds around the pergola. And imagine light-colored mulch on the dirt. I may also pot up some love lies bleeding and hang the pots from the pergola. I think that'd be gorgeous.

Yes, our own little private biergarden. But I love it... it really adds some character to that end of the yard, and it adds structure for the rest of our plans around there. Here's hoping those roses GROW!!!


  1. Thanks Sara! It's not yet finished... but soon! I'm fairly happy with it so far though, but then again, I can envision the big picture. I'm glad you like the progress!