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trellis? pergola? arbor?

July 22, 2010

To be honest, I don’t really know the difference between a trellis, pergola, or arbor… if there even is one.  A quick google search only served to confuse me more… and google is usually my go-to answer finder.

One of these now resides in our yard, in a sunny patch at the top of our driveway.  Our long driveway is mostly uphill, and it makes a loop as you approach the house.  Thank goodness, too, because there’s no way yours truly would be able to back down this baby.

The grassy area in the middle of our looping driveway gets a bunch of sun, and Jason decided it was the perfect spot to build a large wooden structure that would serve as a support for the hops he’s been growing to use in his homebrew.  So he dug four 3.5′ deep holes, and then we trekked to Lowe’s for super-long 4x4s and 12 bags of cement.

The posts were dug and set in a weekend, and then we had the challenge of hoisting up super-heavy 2x8s and mounting them to the 4×4 posts.  This process involved general annoyance and a few snippy comments, followed by silence and then weak attempts at humor (now that I think about it, lots of our projects involve these elements).  We were both disappointed at my inability to hold a 2x8x12 board above my head while standing on a ladder and sweating profusely.  And Jason was clearly annoyed by my bossiness supervisory capacities.  And then I was annoyed that he was annoyed by all of my super-awesome ideas.  Because, even though he had researched the building of this thing, I undoubtedly knew the right way to put it together.  Right?  And the heat and the sweating wasn’t helping much.

In the end, we screwed in a tiny piece of wood to serve as a ledge that I could rest the board on while Jason screwed it into place and we were back in business.  We were still sweating, though.  And I hate sweating.

Once the frame was up, Jason screwed 3 2x4s (that we found in the woods) across the inside of the frame for some added support, and then we decided we’d lay branches on the top instead of purchasing more wood.  I was pretty thrilled that we were able to use materials that we already had instead of buying new.  And, while the structure doesn’t look superdupercoolawesome right this minute, I think that once the hops grow and cover the branches, it will look much much cooler.  (For those of you not in the homebrewing know: hops tend to be quick-growing vines, should grow in fairly dense, and will produce flowers/cones which are supposed to be fairly fragrant – the cones are dried and then used in brew).

Jason then removed the gigantor weeds from the planting bed under the structure and covered the planting bed with some of the woodchips we made earlier this summer.  For now, we placed an outdoor bench under the structure, but I could also see installing mosquito netting to the structure in curtain-like style and putting a little table and chairs out there for outdoor dining.

Pretty exciting, no?  I can’t wait for the hops to grow up and over the structure, but my guess is that won’t be happening until next summer…

13 Comments leave one →
  1. July 22, 2010 11:10 am

    When we first moved into our house (5 years ago), the side of the garage was dedicated to hops. It was taking over the place; growing on the roof. Here’s a link to a post I made in my blog ( If you go down to the third picture and click on it to make it larger, you’ll be able to see just how much the hops took over.

    It’s all gone now.

    • July 22, 2010 11:53 am

      Whoa! That’s a lot of hops! And also? That’s the reason I wouldn’t let him plant the hops near the house! It’s amazing how much nicer your yard is looking these days… 🙂

      • July 22, 2010 12:46 pm

        Thank you. It’s a work in progress 😉

  2. July 22, 2010 11:59 am

    You did a great job and I’m sure you were really very helpful. 😉

  3. mom permalink
    July 22, 2010 2:15 pm

    OK, you know me, always worrying about the things going wrong parts….safety queen, you know. Anyhoo, it popped into my brain that I (but maybe not you) might be worried about the fungus that was growing all over those tree branches (and many trees have fungus). Might this be a concern for the hops plants? Will the fungus spread to contaminate or disease the hops? It might be worth checking into. Maybe those branches need to be treated with something to prevent them from passing on any “germs” to the hops?

    • mom permalink
      July 22, 2010 2:17 pm

      btw: can’t wait to see it with the vines growing all over!

  4. GGG permalink
    July 22, 2010 3:22 pm

    I just keep saying WOW! I can’t believe what you two come up with. I couldn’t have even lifted up that board let alone raise it above my head so I’m sure I could have found a few words you didn’t even think of! That thing is big enough to park a car in! I also know what you mean about telling guys how to do things the EASY way. Last night I tried to explain to GraGG how to get to Little Cedar Lake. We went his way. We got there but was I ever frustrated by the time we got there! I about chewed half my tongue off:) Keep at it guys! You’re doing a great job!

  5. GGG permalink
    July 22, 2010 3:23 pm

    Oh, and by the way, thanks for the laughs:)

  6. July 22, 2010 3:34 pm

    Nice! Ok. Someday when we FINALLY get a house and some land, we will have to get some ideas from you. Ben would LOVE to do some homebrewing and this sounds like a project that would be right up his alley!

  7. July 22, 2010 9:08 pm

    I love the pergola-thingy. I’ve been wanting one of these and now I’m definitely wanting one. Looks great and I love the bench underneath.

    And, how cool that you are growing your own hops. Brilliant.

  8. July 22, 2010 9:55 pm

    Thanks for the lovely comment on my blog post. I love the Lettered Cottage as well!

  9. tami permalink
    July 23, 2010 10:20 am

    LOVE IT! I like the sticks on top. It will look so nice with the hops growing up and over it. Now you have the start of a great German beer garden. You two will look so cute in a dirndl skirt and lederhosen.


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