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Sunday, May 11, 2008

Pergola Part 3

Does anybody else think that mixing concrete sucks as much as I do? I swear I feel like I've got rocks in my lungs.

Saturday morning we got right to work on mounting the corner posts in concrete. This was the hardest part of the pergola build. I think we must have measured and checked level 20 times per post.

And as you can see from the picture below, the concrete powder is really dusty and none of us had masks. I don't have a picture of it but you should have seen the 3 of us (me, pie guy and GB) all trying to stir the same batch of concrete at the same time. I laughed so hard I nearly peed myself. Once the posts were in we started working on the pattern for the ends of the boards.

Who needs saw horses? Pie guy used the jig saw to cut the boards that support the roof then I did the other 15 upper board cuts. That's 30 cuts made while squatting on the ground! I swear I thought I'd suffered brain damage at some point from all that vibrating.

We also had a few helpers stop by like Ms. Pie Guy and my garden blogging neighbor J and Mr. J. She brought me a Geranium which I was thrilled about. Not only that but when they noticed we only had one ladder, they ran home and picked up about a billion more ladders in various sizes and brought them over for us to use. Can you believe that? They also helped me make 15 of the cuts with the jig saw by sitting on the boards to hold them in place. Mr. J noticed that I was about to lose consciousness from the vibrating jig saw and offered to make the last few cuts for me. Thank you Mr. J! I'm pretty sure you saved my life!

It doesn't look like it from the picture below but Pie Guy was the foreman. Him, GB and I have worked together on enough projects that we all sort of just fall into our natural role. I can't tell you exactly what any of our roles are but Pie Guy is usually anticipating and avoiding potential problems, I'm running around telling us all to hurry up because I'm impatient and GB is always right there with the exact tool you need for the job you are doing. I don't know how she does it! On this day she was very busy trying to keep people from injuring themselves, especially Pie Guy.

"Pie Guy, don't you want to put your gloves on?"

"Pie Guy, be careful those fingers will be performing surgeries one day!"


We got the upper beams positioned correctly but we ran out of time before they were mounted. So they are just laying up there now.

The thing is 9 feet high! After mulling it over all day today I think I've decided to lower the roof. I think the 9 foot high would be OK if all the wood was much bigger. Or, if I were nearly 7 feet tall like Pie Guy. But It doesn't have the cozy feel that I wanted from the Pergola and I think I can achieve that by lowering the ceiling a couple of feet. Don't ask me how I'm going to do that because I have no idea. I've got tools and ladders that belong to various people sitting by my back door and I'm pretty sure they'll need those back ASAP.

So all and all I think the pergola project went great. To me, the best thing was realizing what awesome friends I have. I mean who would spend their entire Saturday doing hard labor? I haven't spoken to them today so I've been wondering if they are as sore as I am. I was nearly in tears from the pain in my feet, back, arms, face (sunburn especially the lips - ouch!) , legs, hips, head. You name it, it hurt.

Stay tuned for more pergola fun in the coming days as I try to figure out a way to take it apart, lower the ceiling and put it all back together again.


  1. Heather's GardenMay 11, 2008 at 6:17 PM

    Awesome! I'm so glad you all survived. Give yourself a break and live with the height for a while. You can always remove, but it's impossible to add back on.

  2. No prob about the ladders. :) We probably wont need them for a few more days so keep them as long as you need. Yeah and good point from Heather's Garden about not being able to add back on... It was nice to meet you and the rest of the crew.

  3. What a great job you've done! It's nice to have such wonderful friends and helpers with your project. I'm surprised at how quickly things are going for you. Yes, it is pretty tall, but like the others say, maybe it won't seem quite so high with some of your things underneath it. I'm not sure what the average height of an pergola is?? Keep up the good work.

  4. Instead of lowering the pergola, why not raise the floor? Or is that even more work? Maybe a small raised deck area? I'd be crying if I thought I'd have to take all the crossbars down, buzz off the tops of the supports and make them level, then reattach the crossbars. Maybe it will feel cosier once you've got vines hanging down from it a bit.

  5. Instead of lowering it you could also plant something like a wisteria to grow up it, something that will hang down through the rafters a bit and make it seem shorter.

  6. I think it looks good - maybe add the vines like others said and hanging baskets... so many ideas!

  7. I love it! Nine feet high would be just perfect for my family! Consider putting the table under it with a 'chandelier' hanging from the roof or, even some lights which will lower the feel of it. As Heather said, it is easier to cut it down then raise it up. It looks great.

  8. Congratulations on your new Pergola! We added a new one a couple of years ago and now it's one of our favorite places in the yard. One of ours has honeysuckle growing on it, and the other one, the one attached to our house, has grapes on it. I thought the grape leaves would be great shade. Imagine my surprise when we actually got grapes! Now I am busy making grape jelly for the second year in a row. We also added a swing and a fountain, small table and 2 chairs. It's one of my favorite gardens in the yard. Hope you have as much fun with yours as I have with mine.