What The Hell Is A Pergola

28 Jun

Now that I’m off and Anthony had some vacation time, we’ve been pouring a lot of time and energy this summer into the yard. The back yard, specifically, though the front yard’s time will come at some point. My FIL and our friend Jacob (winner of the previously mentioned Awesome Friend Award) helped Anthony put in sod a few weeks ago and our next big project is to build a pergola, all by ourselves. Or I should say “themselves” because I’m not helping beyond watching the baby and making sun tea. This is just not my field of expertise.

Right now you’re probably asking, “What the hell is a pergola?!” I’ve heard this question at least as many times as I’ve said, “I want a pergola,” which is a lot because I’ve been saying that repeatedly since we moved into this house and I noticed it had a nice, lawn-free gravelly area that used to hold a shed and how should be used for pergola-ing.

Right. So what is it? Let’s consult a vintage 1978 edition of Sunset Book’s Landscaping & Garden Remodeling to find out. (I found it while thrifting.) (Of course.)

Basically what I’m after is something that sort of looks like this structure above the pool boy in the photo below. It has posts but no walls, beams but no roof. It’s a pergola, and it’s awesome. It provides shade and will be a home for our overenthusiastic wisteria. After the structure is up we’re going to level out the dirt underneath and add some stone tiles and make a patio area for alfresco dining and a home for potted plants. It’s going to be awesome.

If you’re interested, here’s more information on the book.

While we’re at it, check out this douche bag on the opposite page as my pergola. Plaid AND a handlebar mustache? What a hipster!

So our pergola right now is not that impressive, and it’s taking a really long time to build. But that is fine by me–I’d rather have them take their time and construct it safely and accurately as opposed to quickly and dangerously. Since my kid is going to be playing under it and all.

She is loving the lawn and just being outside in general.

That orange plastic mold is over there because she was playing sandcastles with the soft, loose dirt. Well, she was playing sandcastles and pancakes. She likes to walk around holding a fist full of dirt and shouting “MMM! PANCAKES!”

She was kept quite busy shouting, “JUPEY! GET DOWN!”

Right now we have these two posts in the ground and that’s the extent of our construction. But it’s coming along.

14 Responses to “What The Hell Is A Pergola”

  1. K June 28, 2011 at 5:56 am #

    I love a pergola. Like most people in the Midwest, I think it’s because our weather is so hoopty nine months out of the year that we all lose our damn minds once it turns nice out that we’ll build whatever we can in order to faciliate being outside.

    Also, loving the picture of homeboy gardening in his rolled cuffs and flared jeans and snazzy ‘stache.

    • LittleBig June 28, 2011 at 11:26 am #

      I actually totally love 70s fashion (I love love love it) but I couldn’t resist poking fun at the picture because that’s exactly what’s in style now.

      Our issue is the hot, dry heat, so shade is really necessary if you want to be outside at all from 8:00 am on!

    • LittleBig June 28, 2011 at 11:26 am #

      Also, I sounded really smart there. “Heat is really hot!” Derrr

  2. Anna June 28, 2011 at 6:18 am #

    My mom was all about pergolas when I was in high school. She built one so my childhood wisteria (not the ravenous one I own now, but with similar roving tendencies) could have somewhere to go and stay out of trouble for a few years. It turned out great!

    • LittleBig June 28, 2011 at 11:28 am #

      I’m a little worried about giving the wisteria free reign on the pergola. I’m worried it will wrap its tentacles around our beautiful pergola like a Kracken sinking a ship. But at the same time, it would nice to have all that lovely shade…

  3. Sarah June 28, 2011 at 6:56 am #

    Pergolas are beautiful. Seriously? After all the HGTV nonsense people don’t know what they are?! Lovely. I would LOVE to have a pergola for some shade over our deck…but then it would look like a third building in our yard. *sigh* Just finish yours and I will enjoy vicariously, kay?

    • LittleBig June 28, 2011 at 11:25 am #

      Well, I bet that people who watch HGTV already have a passing interest in home improvements, so they are probably already aware of pergolas. Most of the people I know aren’t into that sort of thing so they don’t watch HGTV, so they are unfamiliar with pergolas. Or at least the word, “pergola.” Pretty much everyone knew what I meant when I described it to them. 🙂

      The area where we’re putting the pergola is the main view from the dining room table. When we moved in it was a gravel pit that housed an old rusted shed full of black widows. Er, unappetizing!

  4. Dan June 28, 2011 at 8:01 am #

    As someone who did a ton of yard work for just one day, I am impressed by you folks.

    • LittleBig June 28, 2011 at 11:29 am #

      We are not people who regularly do yard work, but we really want a nice back yard for Isobel to play in and for entertaining. I have to say, I’m impressed with us also. Well, actually, I’m impressed with Jake and Anthony, mostly. I’ve done my fair share of weeding and pruning and watering and gardening, but they put the sod in themselves and are building the pergola.

  5. Anne June 28, 2011 at 8:34 am #

    Love It!! I can tell how awesome it is going to be already.

    I used to have an extensive collection of thrifted home and garden books from the fifties-seventies, mostly acquired when I worked for Goodwill. Then I went to grad school and sold them all to fund my education. *sigh*

    • LittleBig June 28, 2011 at 11:30 am #

      In my mind’s eye it’s pretty awesome, so I’m glad you can share my vision! I’m really excited about it even though it’s only two posts.

      Sometimes selling books is necessary. Regrettable, always, but necessary!

  6. Hayley Jane June 28, 2011 at 3:08 pm #

    I have always wanted a pergola.

    Also? OMG YOUR ROSES. Amazeballs.

    • LittleBig June 29, 2011 at 7:49 am #

      Thank you, but I cannot take credit for them. My parents have been assisting with our roses, and it shows!


  1. Thrifty Living: Dollar Store Chairs « Little Big - July 7, 2011

    […] made many trips to various home improvement stores in the last few weeks while building our pergola and installing a new lawn. Although I haven’t been shopping for outdoor furniture we […]

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