Occasionally we are faced with a feature that is something of an eyesore. We tend to think of pergolas as free standing but they can also be used to hide an ugly wall, shed or garage.
The Challenge Our client had just moved to a new property and the garden was turf all over. The neighbour’s house runs all down one side of the garden, and the wall was rather hard on the eye. We had been called in to create something that would make this area look more attractive.
Designing the Garden The neighbour’s brick wall really dominated the scene. It is the most shaded area of the garden so lawn was never going to be very successful. Softening the appearance could only really be achieved by taking the eye away with another feature.
Our solution was a long pergola with a pathway underneath. Because of the size of the pergola we felt the path should lead to something, so we designed a curved patio to sit at the end. The patio is slightly raised – a perfect spot to sit with your favourite book.
As the pergola is so large it has to be sturdy to ensure that it can survive high winds. We used 4-by-4 inch timbers for the posts and 5-by-2 inch timbers for the cross members. These are the proportions, which from experience, we have found to work well. Many pergolas are erected with 3-by-3 inch posts and they are far too flimsy.
You must take care when you build close to an adjoining property.Don’t use your neighbour’s wall as a support. This pergola was free standing with the uprights set in concrete for stability and endurance.
Tips from the Design Team
- It is normally best to plant a pergola with a mix of both evergreen and deciduous climbing plants. Then you will get colour and interest throughout the year. However, if the pergola is up against your house, you may want to avoid evergreens. You will get shade in the summer, but not stop valuable light from coming into the house in wintertime.