A pergola (or arbor) is a covered walkway or patio with overhead latticework that often supports vines. There are many great ways to use a pergola to improve the look of a backyard. The most important thing to remember is to build your pergola out of material that will hold up in the elements, as once you train a vine or ivy onto its structure, it will be difficult to rebuild or make repairs.
1. Grapevine Pergola
o Using cement pillars or 5-by-5s, coupled with overhead latticework in the form of 2-by-4s, you can create a lovely pergola for training and growing grapes. The most important thing to remember when designing a grapevine pergola is that a grapevine can add substantial weight to your overhead lattice. You must, therefore, overbuild your vertical supports, opting for cement or pressure-treated wood with a concrete footing. Train your grapevines up the supports and secure them using gardening tape until they gain a purchase on the overhead lattice.
o A great way to add color and elegance to a cement walkway or path is to build a rosebush pergola, using store-bought wire-frame archways made of steel. Place these archways every 4 to 5 feet, and plant a trellis-loving variety of rosebush at the base of each, on either side of the path. Train the rose to grow up and over the archway, meeting its counterpart at the top.
o A three-wall pergola is built next to an existing structure, for example, on patios that abut a house or porch. Two posts are set in concrete at the opposite end of the patio from the house wall against which you intend to place your pergola. Overhead beams are then attached to these posts and to wall beams of the house or porch. The effect is of a three-wall gazebo style pergola, which can support rosebushes, honeysuckle or a grapevine.
o A great way to design your pergola is to use welded steel square tubing as your support structure, and overhead lattice. You can then train your grapevine, rosebush, or other vine to grow up these support beams by tying them directly to the square tubing. Once the vine grows sufficiently, the steel tubing will be all but invisible, and the overhead lattice will appear to be supported by the vine itself.