Modern technology and innovative new materials have combined to create a wide range of recycled plastic trellising and garden supports. Many of these are designed to look like wood and need very little maintenance; they make an excellent alternative to timber trellising and are often available in a choice of colours. Metal trellis panels and screens are also available and may be more suitable for your needs. Look out for materials such as galvanised steel and painted aluminium which will not be affected by the weather.
Visit your local garden centre to see what is available.
Attacking rust: Some gardeners like the ‘antique’ effect of rusted metal in the garden. If you do not, and there is something corroding in your garden, rub it down with a Wire brush to remove the loose rust and paint on a coat of an anti—rust product to form a protective barrier over the metal.
Recycled fishing line: If your climbing plants are only growing up the vertical supports of your gazebo, use thick fishing line stretched horizontally across the arches, to train the plants along. The line is virtually invisible, and once the stems have reached the other side it can be removed. Just make sure it is not used where it could catch someone unawares.
Electricity pylons and poles: Don’t be tempted to cover them with climbers — it is not permitted.
Pergolas and arches: Origins Of pergolas Gardeners have used pergolas, arches and arbours to add interest and height to gardens since the Romans, whose artwork depicts arching reed-trellis arbours adorned with vines and roses. The pergola is traditionally a wooden or metal structure that supports climbing plants, under which you can promenade or simply relax.
Build your pergola to last: For a pergola to last, the base of its uprights must be kept dry and secure.
Soak the post base in preservative and sink it into holes filled with concrete.
- You can also use metal brackets to hold-the posts. These are easy to install, need no cement, and allow you to replace the posts easily. However, these brackets are difficult to drive into hard or stony ground.
Pine: This wood is strong and easy to work with. The posts should be at least one centimetre square and the horizontal crosspieces six centimetres thick.
Chestnut: Poles two and a half to three metres long are recommended for a light, traditional-looking
Metal: You can also use a metal framework, but avoid a look of scaffolding. Metal structures can create a traditional effect — not surprising, as iron has been used for garden furniture for over two hundred years. You can now buy ready-made, decorative wrought-iron or aluminium arches, and position them one after another to create a formal pergola as long as you like.
A pergola with a roof: For a shaded terrace next to the house, grow climbers over a pergola running alongside a wall. While you wait for the plants to cover the roof, use split bamboo panels for shade and protection from the rain.
- If you position a pergola next to a house, remember that the frame and plants growing up it can block out a lot of light from the windows in the winter. Avoid structures that are too heavy, choose climbers that are deciduous, and make the pergola high enough to let plenty of light into the house.
Decorate your pergola with pots: Though wooden trellis panels and pergolas are intended to support climbing plants, they can hold baskets and pots too. This means you can choose plants to extend the flowering season or add colour.
Creating a covered walkway: For the best results a pergola over a path should be two and a half to three metres tall and wide. If it is wider than it is high, you risk creating a ‘tunnel effect’. Two people should be able to pass through easily side—by-side, and without ducking to avoid the plants: allow at least 60cm overhead.
Make your garden seem bigger: The arch of a pergola, inviting you to pass underneath, has the effect of dividing a garden in two. So, if you have a small garden, a pergola may help to make it seem larger, particularly if you position it so that it appears to hint at wider vistas beyond. On the other hand, it will also make a long garden appear shorter.
- In small gardens choose a pergola with a framework that is not too chunky, or one that is painted green to blend in with the background. In a large garden, you can afford to draw attention to its structure or colour.
Pergola and trellising kits: Even if you are not a DIY expert, you can still have a pergola. Ready—to—build kits containing posts, arches and struts in treated wood make it easy to design and construct your own pergolas, arches, fences and other garden structures. Select the individual elements you require and tailor them to suit your plan.
The power Of the Wind: If you garden in an exposed, windy position, choose your pergola and climbing plants with care. A lightweight metal frame could twist and be damaged by wind, so build a strong wooden structure with pasts set firmly into the ground.
- Plants With heavy growth also make a structure vulnerable, creating a solid barrier that is more likely to be damaged by gusts that would breeze through a less densely covered structure. If wind is likely to be a problem, choose lighter, annual climbers such as sweet peas, runner beans, tropaeolum and morning glory. Being deciduous, they are unlikely to have any leaves at all during the windiest months.
1 . Unpack and sort out all the components, including the posts, rafters, fixtures and Fittings. Fix the first upright.
2. Secure it to the base using the metal fittings provided, and use a spirit level to ensure
that the upright is vertical.
3. Erect the remaining posts, ensuring they are vertical and add the crosspieces to stabilise the structure.
4. For speed, strength and efficiency use an electric screwdriver to fix the main crossbeams to the uprights.
5. Once the posts and crosspieces are in place, position the rafters, slotting them into the main frame.
6. Your new pergola will, provide secluded, shaded living space in the garden.
Make the timber in your garden work harder by giving it a coat of colour. There is a huge choice available, in both traditional ’heritage’ colours and brighter, more modern hues, though tones of blue and green are always a good bet. A colourful trellis or pergola will add interest to the garden in all seasons, but they are particularly attractive in the winter when many of the plants have died back and the garden is bare.