Wooden pergolas are traditional structures for landscape design. Garden pergola allows you to solve several functional problems at the same time while being an amazing decoration of any site. Modern country pergolas have various designs, some of which are discussed in this material. I talked about DIY construction.
Pergolas can perform such a variety of tasks that are suitable for any garden. Regardless of whether they are built near the house, whether they serve as a ceiling over the path or make a secluded recreation area, whether they are twined with greenery or not, pergolas create a special atmosphere in the garden. Unfortunately, Russian gardeners rarely use such small architectural forms as pergolas, and with their help, you can make the garden beautiful, neat and comfortable at any time of the year.
Pergola is one of the oldest elements of garden design. They were used in ancient Rome. Classic pergolas can be seen, for example, in France in the Villandry Garden, restored and open to the public in the regular garden of the mid-16th century. Unpainted wood pergolas here fulfill their classic functions: they serve as supports for grapes and “organize” the shade on the hottest day.
A classic pergola consists of support pillars installed in two rows with an upper ceiling. Pillars are installed on the foundation or mounted using special supports in the paving of the site. The space between the supporting posts can be filled with trellis if desired. At the top, there are connecting elements of a wooden structure in the form of bars or boards.
Pergola solves many complex problems on the site:
- Divides the garden into zones, indicating the boundaries of green rooms.
- Disguises a not very interesting building.
- Combines elements of the garden.
- Decorates the house.
- Creates shady, cozy corners.
- Makes the site more original, stylish and comfortable.
A little about the technical characteristics of pergolas. The design of the pergola is such that the minimum height of the posts is 2.4-2.5 m, they must be placed on an individual or strip foundation or installed with metal crutches to a depth of 45-60 cm. It is very important to make the pergola proportional, it is desirable that the width of the structure was greater than its height, at least they should be equal. Pergola, whose height is greater than the width, looks ugly. The distance between the posts along the pergola is usually no more than 3-3.5 m, most often it is a third or a quarter greater than the distance between them across. The length, of course, is selected based on the size of the place that it will decorate.
Building a Wooden Pergola: How to Do It Yourself
A traditional material for the construction of pergolas is wood, from which light constructions are made, as well as more complex and solid ones. Wood is an excellent material for the garden, especially for landscaped gardens. A do-it-yourself pergola can be built not only from wood.
A wooden pergola consists of four different, interconnected parts: pillars or racks, beams, crossbars, and struts. Pillars can be made of wooden beams or round logs, made of stacked slats, from untreated or roughly processed poles. They are placed on a foundation or fixed in metal quadrangular “shoes”. The beams, which are called girders, are laid on top of the poles, on the perpendicular to the beams, the crossbars are evenly and often enough, they are traditionally made from boards with a cross-section of 20 X 5 cm installed vertically. In the construction of pergolas, struts can be used that tightly connect the posts and beams, but you can do without them. This material details how to make a pergola with your own hands.
Pergolas with supports made of square timber with a side of 10-15 cm, perhaps, can be considered universal, suitable for any garden.
For natural gardens or a country-style garden, you can make a pergola from sanded tree trunks, it looks very original, and if there is a craftsman in the family and the forest nearby it is free. These “wild” designs give a well-groomed garden a certain charm.
Pillars can be made very interesting, for example, “transparent”, graceful, having made them from welded metal structures or from wooden bars with lintels.
The tree can be painted, stained or simply covered with a protective layer while maintaining a natural appearance.
Along with these materials, bricks, natural and artificial stone are used for pillars. Pergolas made of several types of material look good, for example, natural stone and metal, brick and wood.
If the house is brick or plastered, supports for pergolas can also be made brick or plastered. Pillars can be cast from concrete and plastered or veneered with a flat stone. The second method of manufacturing round pillars is to use metal pipes with a diameter of not more than 25 cm. After installation, the pipes are wrapped in a metal mesh, which is first coated with molten bitumen to prevent corrosion and, after drying, with cement mill. Then they are plastered with cement-sand mortar.
It is important to take into account that the design must be designed for the weight of the green mass of plants twisting the pergola, be rigid, strong and reliable, and also resistant to gusts of wind, that is, be safe for people inside it or passing through it. Climbing plants make it difficult to repair and paint, so the choice of construction material is so important.
An interesting effect is obtained if pergolas leave a window through the vine-lined walls through which you can admire the garden. In such a window something unusually beautiful should be visible, then we will get a magnificent picture in a frame of plants.
Types of Pergolas in the Country
There are various types of pergolas, some of which we will consider in more detail. The upper floor of the pergola with respect to the landscape is usually located in the horizontal plane, but it can also be inclined if the pergola is erected above the stairs or steps.
If the pergola is attached to the house, then it is called wall, its beams are attached using metal shoes to the wall of the house or attached from above to a horizontally located beam using strong stainless steel screws. A wall pergola made of metal or wood can arrange a passage near the house. It is simple in design, completely curled with girl’s grapes, in its design it is necessary to provide for “windows”, gaps that are not braided with grapes, which let light through the windows of the house.
Pergolas can be double-row and single-row. During the construction of a single-row pergola, the crossbars are laid directly on the beams and fixed on them, sometimes a single-row pergola can consist of only two parts: columns and beams.
A dynamic or directional pergola leads from one space to another, it can be compared with a certain corridor, it brings the foreground of the perspective closer. A static pergola can be free-standing, or it can be wall-mounted, then its horizontal beams are attached to the wall at one end.
Pillars of pergolas do not have to be located in a straight line, although this is most often the case. They can form part of a circle or even a sinusoid.
Maybe because pergolas originally appeared in sunny countries, Russian gardeners are wary of them. Although England is also difficult to call a hot country, pergolas are used everywhere for zoning a site and for moving from one zone to another.
Perhaps the main purpose of the pergola is to create an overlap above the path, in which case it extends from one garden element to another and is a series of interconnected arches or a kind of translucent tunnel. At the end of the pergola, we should see something that makes us want to take a walk under it and reach what is located at this focal point – wood, sculpture, sundials. Pergola can lead to a gazebo or sports field, used as an indoor passage to the car park.
How good a single-row pergola set in the right place in the garden! A long single-row pergola can divide the site into two unequal parts, for example, to separate the entrance zone from another, more intimate. Such support is one of the best for vines in general and for climbing roses in particular. Single-row pergolas for unknown reasons, although this is incredibly spectacular and quite simple to manufacture support for lianas. Poles placed over the same distance are connected by a horizontal beam from the same beam as the posts. Small crossbars from a thinner bar are cut into it. The gaps between adjacent posts are filled with frames with a mesh screen made of wooden battens. The pergola is painted in a good light green color and consists of five sections to the left of the arch and five sections to the right of it, each section and arch has a width of 1.5 m.
Pergola will cope well with other roles, for example, with such an important one as the creation of a cozy recreation area. If you need to create a secluded atmosphere in some place of the garden, then you need to organize a horizontal plane above it, it can form a tree crown or a large umbrella, a transparent pergola roof is ideal.
In a young garden, where the trees have not yet grown, it is pergolas that create volumes in the first years of the garden’s life. They introduce vertical towering elements into the design, transforming the yet inexpressive flat view of the garden.
Most garden plots often have randomly scattered buildings that are most reasonable to the group. Consider, for example, how a pergola can combine two buildings between which there is an empty space 9 m long and 3 m wide. Vines, a powerful ten-year-old bush of Amur grapes and yellow-leaved hints prompted the choice of this solution. Lianas will follow the pergola from two opposite sides and quickly plaque it, completely eliminating such an unpleasant effect of remaking and creating a cozy and attractive recreation area with which you can admire a beautiful view of the large mix border around the lawn. The columns of this pergola are made of timber with a side of 10 cm, the same timber lies on top of each of the two rows of columns, connecting them. The height of the pergola columns is 2.5 m, a foundation of 60 cm depth is made for each column. Each row of pillars is interconnected by means of a beam, the same beam is rigidly connected to the buildings on both sides of the pergola. Across these two rows of pillars, quite often, at a distance of about 50 cm from each other, there are crossbars, vertically placed boards with a cross-section of 5×15 cm, forming a transparent roof, which in summer is covered with grapes with hops. These crossbars extend beyond the pillars at a distance of about 1 m.
To make the pergola structure rigid, over its transparent roof, in a horizontal plane, a metal perforated construction strip is laid in a zigzag pattern – starting from one structure through the entire pergola and to another structure. This tape is not visible from the ground. The design of any pergola must be rigid and strong to withstand the considerable weight of vines and be safe for people inside it. This recreation area, of course, has a “floor”. It is made of flat ragged stone about 5 cm thick on a sand cushion, the gaps between the stones are covered with fine gravel.
One of the effects that a pergola can give is the play of light and shadow on paving.
A wall pergola adjacent to the house and serving as a kind of entrance to it will hide you from the prying eyes of neighbors living in two-, three-story houses opposite.
Pergola can be the dominant of the flower garden, including a flower garden on a slope.
The main danger that lies in wait for the plant lover is to plant a vine near each pillar, and certainly a different species or variety. The pergola should be transparent, it is not necessary to twist all the pillars, let some remain free. If you collect lianas and decide to use a pergola as a showcase for the best of them, then a pergola with climbing roses, or clematis, or princes, or liana-shaped honeysuckles will not only demonstrate the “nails” of your collection and decorate the garden, but will also show the differences of one variety from another, will help you choose the most interesting varieties.
Pergolas, skillfully structuring the garden space, make it more attractive. Any garden, large or small, regardless of the style in which it is made, will only benefit from the appearance of a pergola in it.