There is no mistaking it - we are in full-blown "pergola building season" at the farm. Ever since building our own and then a few more for friends and family a few years back - our
"hobby" has grown to making quite a few each year ( See : Building Our Farm One Pergola At A Time)
We have been so fortunate to have met a lot of wonderful new people through the process - and, more importantly, it has really helped to build the farm and fund projects like the sensory garden and new chicken coop.
We thought we would share some of the pictures, tips and hints that we have learned when it comes to building a beautiful and durable outdoor garden pergola.
A Strong Base Is The Key To A Strong Pergola:With any outdoor structure, everything starts with the base. To put it simply, don't skimp on your posts.
When working with wood, a 4 x 6" or 6 x 6" post is your best choice for long-term durability. 4 x 4" posts - although much less expensive than the thicker ones, simply won't hold up over time. They will begin to bend and bow - and within a year or two - your structure can start to look more like a curvy art sculpture than an outdoor oasis.
Choosing The Type And Thickness Of Wood:There are a lot of choices when it comes to what species and thickness of wood to use. It really comes down to personal preference. We build all of our beams and top purlin boards from 2" thick lumber. Although there are thinner and less costly options - the 2" thickness gives the piece long-term strength and durability.
Almost all of our pergolas are made from treated lumber. It's a great choice when looking to handle harsh outdoor conditions. It's also very versatile - you can leave it to weather to a natural grey patina - or paint or stain it to match almost any wood species or decor.
Cedar is another viable option, but the cost of cedar is becoming astronomical, and it is very hard to find in 2" thickness. No matter the wood species, thinner boards tend to end up like the thinner posts, bowed and curvy over time.
Securing The Structure:A lot of people ask us if its better to bury the posts, or to mount them on a concrete pad or footer. It really comes down to personal preference, as both work well.If you have an existing concrete patio - then by all means securing your posts with a bracket is the way to go. You can find simple plate anchors (Simpson ties, etc.) at most home improvement and hardware stores that do an excellent job of securing posts to concrete.
If you choose to bury your posts - make sure to dig down deep enough to get below the frost line and prevent it from heaving out of the soil. For ours on the farm we buried our posts 24" and then back-filled with packing limestone gravel and dirt.
Quite simply, the important thing is to definitely secure it! If it's not secured, all it can take is one little serious windstorm to turn your beautiful little paradise into a pile of toothpicks.
Jim and MaryIf you would like to receive our DIY & Gardening Tips every Tuesday – be sure to sign up to follow the blog via email in the right hand column, "like" us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter
This is one of my most favorite projects--and I love how pretty and colorful it is too! This pegboard is 6 feet by 4 feet and holds SO much of my most essential crafting tools. See my blog post for the full details!
Last summer I made my first set of hypertufa planters. They have the look of rough cement, but are quite lightweight.
Perlite, Sphagnum Peat Moss, Portland Cement, Water, Cooking Spray (I used Pam), Large bucket or something to mix your ingredients in, Rubber gloves, Particle mask, Safety glasses, Various plastic or cardboard containers to use as molds
Wear your rubber gloves, particle mask and safety glasses!!! Portland cement can be nasty if inhaled, gets on your skin or in your eyes. Don't make me come over there and put them on you!
Mix equal parts of Perlite, Sphagnum Peat Moss and Portland cement. Add enough water to make it a cottage cheese like consistency.
Spray your containers with cooking spray and then fill the areas between the two items with the mixture.
Wrap your planters-to-be in a plastic garbage bag and patiently wait for them to harden. I let mine dry for 24 hours in the bag and then 4 days outside the bag.
A little more detail can be found on my post, which is linked below, and I also show you how to make a sphere.
Warning - these are sort of addictive to make. You will find yourself making them in all sorts of shapes and sizes.
Depends. You could remove the granite piece and tile down to the countertop for a clean,
contemporary look. If you are going to include the granite piece and just want to keep it looking nice while tiling, then no. Use painters tape while installing the tile, remove the tape before grouting and clean up well after grouting.