More than 12 months after starting this project (some of my long term readers would remember when we commenced construction) our garden pergola is now finally complete – well…almost! There are still a few little things to fix but nothing of major importance.

Did it actually take 12 months to build this feature? No. If I added up all the time we actually spent (‘we’ being a few friends that offered help over the course of time) then we could have completed it over a long weekend. However, with so many other commitments tearing at my free-time, and money not always being readily available the project stalled for more than 9 months. The rest was a culmination of an hour here, or an hour scraped from there, to get certain parts achieved.

Was it worth it? Of course it was worth it. Most of our summer has been spent sitting under its shade allowing the gentle breeze to keep us from baking in 35°+C days. Deb spends most of the day reading while I gaze over the garden considering which plants are likely to stay and which will go.

Planning a garden pergola

Before starting our garden pergola there were a few issues that needed to be sort through. I wanted an open pergola that would accommodate a grape vine with summer fruit dangling through the rafters. Deb didn’t want
the bees. I wanted rustic and old-world charm whereas Deb was more geometric shapes and lines.

In the end, we opted for a gabled, covered roof and I got my bush poles.

But that’s not where the planning ended. At every turn we were given a few more options and the pergola that we ended with was certainly not what we had initially planned. It was, in fact, far better.

I guess this is one of the blessings of building your pergola yourself. If you had signed off on a contract with a builder making changes along the way can become very costly. Doing it ourselves made it a ‘work-in-progress’ and it took its shape over time.

The pergola roof

The roof is always the most contentious issue when building a garden pergola. Should it be covered? With what? Should it be gabled, flat, leaning or convex? Should it remain open? There are just so many considerations for the most important part of this construction.

One of our issues is that Busselton receives a considerable amount of rainfall. It’s said that it rains for 9 months of the year and drips off the trees for the other three and sometimes it certainly feels like that. So, to keep our pergola open meant that the area would rarely be used.

Also, our backyard faces east so it cops the morning sun – albeit mostly hidden behind the towering peppermints. We didn’t want to lose this aspect of our climate so we chose to cover the east facing roof side with tinted polycarbonate sheeting. This allows the sun to still shine through and warm the living areas in the house and gives us uninterrupted views of the tree canopy above.

However, the west side is a different story. On most summer days the sun would penetrate the patio and render it unusable between 12 and 5 pm. With this side we covered it completely with Colorbond™ sheeting. Now the whole roof keeps out the elements but we don’t feel like we’re cocooned within an indoor space.

It’s really the best of both worlds.