Vol 120 (2007): Proceedings of the Florida State Horticultural Society
Ornamental, Garden & Landscape

Building a pergola in a demonstration garden

David B. Shibles
University of Florida
Published December 1, 2007
  • Master Gardener,
  • Florida Yards and Neighborhoods program,
  • garden demonstration


The Polk County residential horticulturist and the Florida Yards and Neighborhoods program assistant have been working for several years on various demonstration gardens at the Extension office in Bartow. There currently are butterfly, turf, wildflower, palm, rose, and native plant demonstration gardens. Master Gardener volunteers suggested that the construction of a pergola would enhance and tie together several of the gardens, and could be used as an outside teaching classroom as well as a structure to display native vines. The first step was to make a basic design and model from which a list of necessary materials could be developed. Funding was the next serious consideration, as it was quickly realized that the pergola would cost well over $2000. Lowes Inc. in Bartow offered to supply, at no cost, a large portion of the materials. The Master Gardeners contributed the remainder of the necessary construction funds. The basic aboveground structure was made of an assortment of pressure-treated wood and the floor was made of flagstones laid in sand. The basic structure was completed in Fall 2006. During the construction phase numerous drainage problems had to be addressed and solved. Plants, consisting of vines and shrubs, were selected and planted in Spring 2007. All of the labor for this project was donated by Master Gardener volunteers.