Late last summer, I was puzzling over the problem of how to disguise or distract from the ugly garage wall the runs down the left hand side of our garden. I came up with a few ideas in this post, and received lots of helpful feedback and suggestions. In the end, I decided that the best solution would be to build a pergola walkway along the path that runs past the garage. And this weekend, we finally built it!
I drew a design, measured up and worked out exactly what materials I would need (treated timber in various sizes, wall brackets, cement, etc). Luckily for me, my brother-in-law is a builder, and he gave me some brilliant advice about how best to join everything together, and how to fix the vertical posts into the ground using ballast and cement. Then I went shopping and a nice assistant helped me to find everything I needed. The cost for materials was just under £100, much cheaper than buying a pre-made kit that wouldn’t have fitted the space perfectly anyway.
A huge part in the build was played by my mum and dad, who are both amazing, experienced diy-ers, with seemingly endless stamina for this kind of work. My dad was a master with the drill and saw, and mum was the queen of the level and mini stepladder. My sister was also super helpful, wrangling my kids and her dogs, making food and drinks, and most importantly, acting as foreman, checking and correcting angles, and mediating when the bickering that is our family modus operandi got too heated. Thank you!! It would never have happened without you guys.
We spent most of a gloriously sunny, warm, spring day building the pergola. The tools we used included: a good wood saw, a long spirit level, a drill, an electric screwdriver, and a spade. Digging post holes 18-24 inches deep was a quick and easy job in my sandy loam, which surprised my mum, and she regaled me with tales of having spent hours painstakingly chiselling out lumps of chalk when building her pergola in Surrey twenty years ago. Thank goodness for my Norfolk soil.
The trickiest part of the build was definitely getting all of the individual posts and cross pieces level, as they had to be level in two, sometimes three, directions! It was certainly a job for at least three pairs of hands.
There are a few photos of the build process and the finished pergola below. I’m so delighted with it, and can’t wait to see it covered in climbers. I’ve planted a sweet-scented, pale yellow honeysuckle (lonicera periclymenum Graham Thomas) under one trellis, and a large flowered, magenta-red clematis Voluceau under the other, as well as a couple of nasturtium seeds, oxalis Iron Cross bulbs, geraniums and heucheras. Now, I just need to decided whether I’m going to stain the wood black/dark grey before the climbers get going, or leave it natural. Any thoughts?