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Pergolas, Arbors, And Trellises

Accent your garden with attractive pergolas, arbors, and trellises!

Pergolas, arbors, and trellises have been adding style, art, and structure to lawns and gardens for hundreds of years.

For anyone wanting to add style and elegance to their property, pergolas in particular are practical projects that can easily be built in a single weekend.

A very popular building material for wooden pergolas is western red cedar. It is stable, durable, and resilient. It also comes without the negatives associated with chemical treatment.

While this spectacular wood's natural qualities have always been widely recognized, it is now taking on new, heightened value among builders, from professionals to do-it-yourselfers like you.

Above-ground structures like pergolas, arbors, and trellises, which once would have been built using treated wood, can be safely built with real cedar which is known as the “Tree of Life” by the Northwest Pacific coast Native American community.

You may have seen attractive pergolas attached to homes and called them arbors or trellises. Like an arbor or a trellis, a pergola is often used to support climbing roses or vines.

And like a free-standing arbor or trellis, a pergola filters light with its lattice-type canopy. Pergolas are typically used as wooden gateways to homes, paths, and gardens.

A Typical Pergola

You should consider permanently attaching your pergola to your house. You can use it to shelter a path or walkway between your main house and the garage or other outbuilding.

Because a pergola's overhead spans are supported by upright beams, they can be constructed in any size. Keep in mind that one of the great advantages of a pergola is that it's a piece of distinctive architecture.

In its simplest form, a freestanding pergola in your lawn or garden provides a unique focal point. It can also serve as a screen from your neighbors, additional shelter for a path, or the "frame" for a wonderful view of some other feature in your garden.

A pergola can give your deck character. It also provides new and interesting  options for design and decoration. Pergolas and arbors are great for climbing plants such as roses and vines as well as rustic hanging baskets.

If you weren't blessed with a green thumb, simply decorate your pergola with lights or decorative items for holidays and special occasions! And by adjusting the supporting columns and/or overhead lattice, a pergola can be built to fit almost any style of home.

The basics of building a pergola can easily be found online or at your local home improvement store. Before you get started tackling the project on your own, here are few handy tips:

  • Make sure that the vertical support posts can bear the weight of the overhead structure. For best performance, the posts should be attached to concrete footings. This will help prevent moisture from affecting the base of the posts.
  • Be especially careful when determining the best proportions of posts and crossbeams. A set of 4X4 posts would be perfect with 2X6 planks installed vertically for main-beams and crossbeams.
  • Ensure that the pergola's angles are precise enough to fit the dimensions you want.
  • Make sure the posts are all the same height and vertically straight. Verify that the main beams are level and evenly spaced and placed in parallel with one another. A carpenter’s level, square, and tape measure are essential for performing these tasks.
  • Finally, add an attractive decorative flair to the crossbeams by cutting a quarter circle from the underside ends of each crossbeam.
A pergola can make a dramatic change in the appearance of your home, yard, and garden. It can enhance the style or be the final detail for your property. Better yet, you most likely can build it in a single weekend!

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