There can be few more atmospheric additions to a garden than a well placed, well constructed and well clad pergola. Think of the stone pillared glory of West Dean or the serenity of the Jekyll-Lutyens, brick – built wotsit at Hestercombe.

But we do not all have a bottomless purse and graceful  effects can  easily be achieved, given just some modest outlay and some work!

Here, in an English country garden:

a pergola leads from the entance into a walled garden to its centre, where a fountain tinkles into a shallow lily pool and a seat is waiting on the opposite side.

Functionality is essential with pergolas. If they go nowhere they are an exercise in suburban pretension! 

This one is simply crafted:

with rounded timbers for the uprights and rafters and planed wood for the beams.

Central beams ensure that there is good support for climbers to cross this relatively wide structure.

Our only quibble with the climbers is the heaviness of the wisteria to the left, which is for all the world like some musclebound titan struggling with a serpent.


The use of Brunnera en masse for groundcover is genius. It gets going early and stars before the climbers fill in and do their thing. We couldn’t really see what follows for the summer. But at the moment who cares? The Brunnera was as blue as the sky!

Lesley and Robert