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Greening a Pergola

Pergolas are designed to accomodate climbing plants, to provide wonderful shade and a space to relax. Typically strong constructions with a solid frame made of wood or metal with transverse beams, between which cables can be stretched to make it easier for plants to climb. Stainless steel ropes are ideal for greening your self-made pergola; you'll find examples below. This applies to the roof, sides, and columns. Please also note the examples for arcades/archways and grapevines. In the next section of other building partswe'll address green roofs (canopies) *without* frames.

Pergola in the park of Sanssouci in Potsdam / Brandenburg, steel engraving ca. 1835

Greening a Pergola Roof

In most cases, the roof area of a pergola is greened the same way a canopy would be. But only climbing plants that can easily grow 3m and higher are suitable. Grapevines are often an option. Learn more under pergola vines.


The following are also options: wisteria, Dutchman's pipe, Clematis montana, kiwi, ivy, evergreen honeysuckle, akebia, rose, trumpet vine and wild grape (fruitless grapevines). Systems that are designed with horizontal and longitudinal axes are ideal... in other words, systems that have grid forms with 30 - 50 cm meshes. Smaller meshes, like you'll have with nets or prefab rigid trellises, require more maintenance because more lignified tendrils and foliage have to be removed. In most cases, a pergola already has lines in one axial direction ~ strong parallel beams or rafters. Wire rope (3 mm) is pulled crosswise through these elements and fastened with clamping rings KL 00034. For this purpose, FassadenGrün presents the system 0060 in several versions. If you don't want to drill through the wooden rafters, the alternative would be to use eyelet screws (for example WH 07080) on the outer or inner side of the rafters and beams, along with staples and staple nails, and then the cables can be guided through them. This alternative is analogous to our easy kits.

Greening the roof area of a pergola with grapevine; intersecting cables as the trellis system
A greening of a pergola: upper part of the support system

Greening the Side Areas

To create privacy, a pergola's sides are often greened (as one would do for a carport); usually this is done with an ivy or a grapevine shaped into a vertical cordon, fan, horizontal cordon, or trained in the vineyard style. Various wire rope arrangements (d= 3 mm) are thus needed to support your desired shape. System 0010 (or individually designed systems similar to this system) are suitable for vertical ropes. With horizontal cable systems like 1060 or even 1040, the distance between the pergola's pillars is often too great to get adequate tension (that is, you may get sagging ropes). In such cases, we recommend an additional vertical strand (a "hanger") in the middle of each field between the two posts. This wire is fastened to one of the upper beams or purlins with an eyelet screw (WH 07080). The horizontal and vertical wires are attached to one another via cross clamps (SK 03012) at the intersecting points. Many combinations of horizontal and vertical wire ropes are possible. See examples in the photo gallery below.

Greening of a side façade with English ivy; stainless steel wire rope as a weaving aid/climbing support
Pergola with an ivy privacy screen

Greening the Pergola Posts

Pergola supports are greened much like pillars and columns -- with annual climbing plants, clematis-hybrids, or even roses. Wire ropes (d = 3 mm) are tensioned vertically as with systems 1020 and 1030. Depending on the desired effect (one-sided or circumferential greening), you'll need 1 - 4 strands per post. If the pergola posts are particularly massive, you can even put two on each side, as with 4020.


FassadenGrün's light or easy kits are genearlly suficient, but with systems in our medium or heavy version, you can increase the space between the climbing plant and the pillar to give the plant a fuller, more abundant effect. Massive kits can also be used for representative and design reasons. The choice of construction style depends on the material/substrate (with pergolas, you are usually dealing with solid wood).

Greening of posts with a clematis hybrid on vertical cable
Posts with clematis-hybrid

Examples of greened pergolas...

Many climbing plants are a good fit for pergolas. Click the photos to see full size. More grapevine examples under grapevine training on pergolas.

High pergola with grapevine: Roman baths in the castle park Sanssouci / Potsdam / Brandenburg (See also top photo on this page)
Grapevine covered pergola, Abbey Bernburg / Saxony-Anhalt
The same pergola as in previous photo; grapevine greening at Cloister Bernburg / Saxony-Anhalt
Grapevine growing on a wooden pergola
Fruitless grapevine over a beer garden
Round pergola with wisteria and small kiwi in the castle park Sanssouci / Potsdam / Brandenburg
Pergola greened with wisteria in a nature park "Palmgartenwehr" Leipzig / Saxony
Pergola made of metal (steel poles) and greened with akebia, park in Ralswiek / Rügen / Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania
Wooden pergola with silver lace vine (Polygonum) as climbing plant
Small arcade / pergola with grapes
Pergola / arcade with three-lobed vine
Modern metal pergola with grapevines
Arcade with roses, Dornburger Castle / Thuringia
Modern pergola over an underground parking lot; house entrance and garbage enclosure greened with wisteria and Dutchman's pipe
Pergola greened with Dutchman's pipe in a beer garden
Steel pergola becomes a "green arbour" with wisteria
One side of a pergola greened with scarlet runners
An ivy-covered pergola as a garbage enclosure
Ivy-covered garbage pavilion
Waste bins covered with a greened pergola: five-lobed wild vine (Parthenocissus quinqefolia)
Russian (silver lace) vine arbour covering a garbage area; here you can see how hard it is to control the growth of fleece vine.
Small canopy with Dutchman's pipe
Dense green roof of akebia; steel pipe pavilion over garbage cans
Densely greened arbour of large-leafed Dutchman's pipe

The pergola roof: technical details

View examples of roof arrangements here: how to create optimal support for climbers with pergola rafters and wire rope.

This pergola consists of only 2 wooden purlins; the function of the rafters is performed by wire ropes.
This pergola has heavy purlins and close-set rafters. Such a pergola roof can be greened without wire ropes-- here with grapevine.
Grapes on a pergola with close-set rafters
A prefab (kit) pergola made of metal. The greening of the roof area becomes more difficult here since the roof beams are rather far apart.
Metal pergola with wisteria: such vigorous climbers can make do with more distance between the rafters.
With this roof-pergola, a wire rope was pulled between the roof struts to give the climbing plants more 'grip.'
The roof of this pergola consists only of a wooden frame and a reinforcing central strut. The cables on the eyebolts were strung in the same axial direction as the central strut.
An open garden house made of logs and greened with kiwi. Here, besides supports and purlins, the rafters were also made of untreated round wood. Wire rope can be fastened in concentric circles to make a climbing field for plants.
This green pavilion consists of a round frame and a central support. The "spokes" are made of steel cables. Castle Park Sanssouci / Potsdam / Brandenburg
With these grapevine pergolas, the rafters were strutted crosswise to create wooden 'cases.' Wire mesh was then placed on top. Crete / Greece
Modern pergola made of steel cables
This wooden grapevine pergola construction is made more compact by adding wire rope; analogous to our wire rope system 0060
Tensioned wires over an underground parking garage; stainless steel wire ropes similar to system 0060 - clematis montana
For this steel pergola on a roof terrace, 3mm steel wire rope and clamp rings KL 00034 were used, analogous to our system 0060.
This pergola will be greened with wisteria: 3mm wire rope threaded through the rafters and fastened with clamp rings KL 00034
Self-built pergola with U-shaped steel ropes (cable system 0060)
A combination of steel poles (scaffolding poles) and tensioned wire rope make this grapevine pergola.
Pergola of steel cables above a parking garage, clematis montana
This arcade with annuals has wire ropes laid crosswise between the beams.
Garbage enclosure with ivy; the wire rope was tensioned in a diamond shape.
Trellis pergola construction: detail of previous photo
Garden pavilion made of tubular steel and wire rope- akebia in early growth
Metal pergola with steel frame made of double T-profiles: due to the additional loads, the wooden formwork may need to be nailed or screwed down before installing the ropes.

Technical details of side areas and supports...

Here you will find examples for greening side walls and pergola posts. View similar photos under carports und columns.

On this garden pergola, conventional lattices were mounted on the side; clematis and other climbers are planned for greening. In the upper part, rope system 1030 is laid horizontally in our easy construction style.
Here, custom designed trellises were used on the sides, which gives this pergola a particularly unique look.
This pergola made of larch wood is enhanced with classic wooden trellises on each side, greened with grapevines.
Twining climbing plants (annual scarlet runners) on vertical cords
Greening of a wooden framework with vertical vine cordons on tension wires
Simplest climbing wires for vines (winter photo after pruning, vines trained as horizontal cordons)
Plant climbing system with horizontal wire ropes, eyelet screws WH 06061, and hardwood supports for wild vines
Horizontal wire ropes between two posts, each with a vertical strand in the middle fastened with cross clamps, for grapevines in fan-shape
Terrace pergola with horizontal wire ropes for roses; our medium "classic" construction style
Arcade with clematis; the wire rope nets are similar to our system 5050 and are attached to the bottom of the plant pots.
Lateral support rope for climbing roses, massive construction style
A post with two flanking wire ropes in accordance wot wire rope system 1030, massive style
Wire frame pergola with Dutchman's pipe
Spacious trellis for Dutchman's pipe and climbing roses