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pergola carport

 
Andrea Hooper
Posts: 23
Location: College Station, TX Zone 8b
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Here in central texas we have blazing summers. I would love to run kiwi vines up and over the driveway to help cut down on the heat sink without offending the sensibilities of the neighbors. Any ideas or pictures of a pretty, "HOA approved", carport/pergola that would manage such a thing?
 
james Apodaca
Posts: 57
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Honestly, you would have to review your HOA guidelines to understand the nature of carport restrictions.. And if it's not covered under the HOA agreements then I would assume it's fair game BUT they generally don't like it when people build things without floating a plan for it by them first.
HOA's each practice their own particular brand of communism and each one is different.

Even simple pergolas can be beautiful as long as they aren't barren. Please, dear god, don't let them say they are fine with a pergola as long as it doesn't have anything growing on it.. I see that EVERYWHERE; people spend hundreds/thousands of dollars erecting pergolas and do absolutely NOTHING with them.
Drives me insane.. Mexican Flame Vines are $3 at the big orange box.. buy one! I might actually start guerrilla gardening those pergolas..

Luckily I live in an unincorporated neighborhood.. I have some neighbors with Jasmine 2ft thick (they never prune it) on theirs and another with passion flower vines growing.

I'm building a knee high wattle fence this weekend so my pups don't run across the street.. I'm sure a HOA would go berserk if they saw a wattle fence.
The pergola (to match the wattle fence) is planned for the sunny side of my house near the A/C so I can shade it with Muscadines in the Summer and leave it barren in the winter.. Assuming my muscadines actually sprout this coming spring. If not i'll put it off until they do.
 
Andrea Hooper
Posts: 23
Location: College Station, TX Zone 8b
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Thanks for the response. I agree, pergolas sans greenery look a little ridiculous. I actually don't have an HOA, I just have quite a bit of respect for my neighbors. If what I put in doesn't look classy, their home values will be effected. With this in mind, the ratio of the large pergola needed to go over a standard driveway to my smaller home will be aesthetically off-balance. While my addition may be better for the environment at large, it will impact close friends negatively. I prefer a win-win scenario. Concern over a design element of this nature may not strike a chord for most within the permaculture movement, but I hoped someone out there may have already considered the struggle. I worry that we may be shooting ourselves in the foot when we move in and immediately jump on the food forest wagon without considering the effect it has on the folks next door. If a neighbor's first interaction with this vast wisdom is not positive, it will color the way they see future effects. Our beautiful oasis may only be a mass of tangled vegetation. Our water catchment system merely ugly barrels. Our morning walk to harvest stinging nettles just a reminder that a crazy person lives next door... Recognizing the vantage of others and empathizing with their current level of understanding frees them to interact positively with the new paradigm. So. Pergola. I need it to hold a vine. I want it to hang over an otherwise useless space. I would love if it could match the style of my home and neighborhood so that the idea spreads.
 
Irene Kightley
pollinator
Posts: 383
Location: South West France
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Andrea,

Why don't you take a photo of the site for the carport and the house and its surroundings and we can give you ideas ?
 
Leila Rich
steward
Posts: 3999
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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Andrea Hooper wrote:If a neighbor's first interaction with this vast wisdom is not positive, it will color the way they see future effects
Andrea, I very much agree with you.
My concern is more general than just neighbours-I need my place to demonstrate to all and sundry that it's possible for things to be beautiful and practical

A few things to think about with kiwifruit (I'm not familiar with hardy kiwis but I think all varieties have similar habits)
1) They are extremely rampant, needing major pruning to fruit well, and an very strong trellis/structure
On a related note, vines that don't die down in winter can be quite hard on a trellis/structure and make maintanence difficult.
2) It's a personal taste thing of course, but I don't think of kiwis as a 'statement' vine
3) You must have male and female plants for pollination.
Many small-scale growers over here graft a male vine onto a female plant so you don't have an entire non-fruiting male plant.

A few climbers I like that aren't too invasive-I have no idea if they'll work in your climate though...
passionfruit
grapes
Roses are lovely, but maybe not where they're going to grab you and your car
I've never seen hyacynth bean, but that could be cool
Irene Kightley wrote:Why don't you take a photo of the site for the carport and the house and its surroundings and we can give you ideas ?
Oh good: Irene has the 'beautiful and practical' thing totally sorted!
 
Andrea Hooper
Posts: 23
Location: College Station, TX Zone 8b
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Thanks! Here is a pic of the front yard and two of my pride and joy. (I had the camera out, and I just can't help myself!) We moved in last year, and I spent the year watching the sun, rain, and wind, installing a veggie garden in the back, and making friends with the neighbors. I worked on mixing edibles and native flowers in the front beds to help people become comfortable with the idea of food in the front yard. Everyone enjoyed the okra and strawberries, so I moved on to step 2! The front yard was just grass, and I have planted (although you can't see from the view, and the size of the saplings) 2 pine trees, 2 figs, 2 pears, 4 pomegranates, 2 loquats, and some elderberries so far. 2 apples, 3 plums and 3 jujubes should be arriving any day in the mail. The apples will go in the blank spots in this pic, the jujubes down near the road (since they hold onto the tree), and the plums somewhere in the shadier spots behind where I am standing. My extended plan is to make the guilds contain a high number of native flowers to keep the front yard looking like flowerbeds more than anything. Since the yard is super flat, I plan on digging in a hidden river from the down spouts to the more thirsty trees... hiding the river with wood chips among the flower beds. The "yard" will continue shrinking slowly until the hubby shrieks. He's like a frog in boiling water!! Too much too soon and he'll jump out of supporting my "weird obsession."

As you can see, the home has a repetition of simple, straight lines. The popular pergolas are too textured for the look and age of the home. I need something far more "americana". What do you think? I like the idea of putting a prettier vine closer to the street to help "the view".
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The joy of keeping zone 1 full of edibles. The baby loves the backyard!!
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More zone 1 results... breakfast of champions!!
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Front yard.
 
Genevieve Higgs
Posts: 28
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Maybe something with a beam structure like this, but with the wood in a tone matching your house? Since it wouldn't have a roof, but rather just be exposed beams you could make it flat.
wood-carports-plans-3.jpg
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Andrea Hooper
Posts: 23
Location: College Station, TX Zone 8b
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Genevieve, I love the simple lines on that one. It seems a bit chunky... Like it might out weigh the house. (I know... completely not a permiproblem. Still, art and the beauty of things are good for "care of people" right? ha! My powers of self-justification warrant a cape.) Do you suppose I could build the bottom frame out of metal and keep the top crossbars wood? It might sound like a stupid question, but what metal material would resist rust? Also, you are right. It should prolly be the color of the siding. Thanks for the thought!
 
Genevieve Higgs
Posts: 28
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I'm soooo out of my depth, but the following thought comes up:

If you mix materials it might make it feel bigger clunkier, plus you want the support posts to be climbable by the vines right? Maybe you could reduce the beam size to be the same as some element of the house, like the thickness of the gutters etc to make everything tie together. Of course most people park a big ugly car thing in front of their house, a nice well maintained structure shouldn't be that much worse. How close to the curb do you intend to go? That ay affect people's perception.

I was sort of day dreaming about the thing. Every one always seems to put one type of vine up, even though monoculture isn't such a good thing. What would happen if you alternated two types of vines, or maybe even more? Maybe a sun loving one on the sunny side and one that would appreciate shade on the other side? (no idea about your orientation) You might want to balance things for vigour, otherwise you'll be pruning one type of vine to keep it from taking over, but I'm not sure about what grows nicely in your area. I would personally look into a passion flower vine, a grape, a honey suckle and a kiwi. That way you'd get a variety of fruits and flowers.

My car loving friend says to consider scarlet runners because you don't want fruit falling on your car.
 
Andrea Hooper
Posts: 23
Location: College Station, TX Zone 8b
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The sun sets directly on that driveway on the opposite side from the house. In the summer, it goes down closer to the road and in the winter closer to the house. It gets hoooot! I tried some scarlet runners on the fence over on that side just to see how they would stand up to the summer. No go... The sun is just too severe. Or maybe I didn't water them enough. Who knows?! Muscadines and passion fruit may be the only thing that can handle the brutality of the blazing assault, but kiwi would be amazing. Don't hardy kiwi need a bit of shade? They may not make it in that location. I gave pecan seedlings to all the neighbors. Here's hoping we have a bit more canopy in a few years!

The hubby gets suuuuper annoyed with cars in the driveway, so stained concrete is more of a problem. Does wisteria fix nitrogen? It would be substantial enough to balance out something aggressive. I'll have to look at designs that mix media with an eye to your warning. You might be right about the clunkiness. Isn't daydreaming fun?! A woman's version of measure twice, cut one. hahaha! Daydream all year for a weekend's worth of work.
 
Genevieve Higgs
Posts: 28
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According to Wikipedia it is a nitrogen fixer, related to the pea. Wikipedia also hints that to keep it pretty and small you might have to prune several times a year - maybe good if you're looking for organic matter and like pruning?

Its flowers may be edible - but it seems that the other parts are toxic. with a little one around you might want to be careful to model safe eating habits.

http://www.eattheweeds.com/wisteria-criteria-2/
http://www.foragingtexas.com/2006/04/wisteria.html
 
Andrea Hooper
Posts: 23
Location: College Station, TX Zone 8b
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Awesome! Yea, he seems to pick up quickly which plants he is allowed to munch on. Mint may have plans for world domination, but it isn't going anywhere on his watch! And basil. The little goat ate an entire plant to the ground in just a few days.
Pruning heavily doesn't bug me too much. I don't have such a large property that the work would overwhelm me. In fact, having something I could count on to provide heavy shade in the summer, that could then provide mulch, has definite perks. I really appreciate being able to bounce my random thoughts off others. Yay for permiwebsites and fellow hippies!!
 
Julia Winter
steward
Posts: 1776
Location: Moved from south central WI to Portland, OR
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bee bike chicken food preservation hugelkultur urban
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Here's a nice pergola with a wisteria on it, at least I think that's some sort of wisteria. The leaves look like wisteria, but it doesn't have the purple hanging flowers. . .
 
Julia Winter
steward
Posts: 1776
Location: Moved from south central WI to Portland, OR
141
bee bike chicken food preservation hugelkultur urban
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OK, I was wrong. In the caption for the above photo, those are identified as trumpet vines. Given the leaf form and reputation for rampant growth, I'm guessing trumpet vines are also nitrogen fixers.

Here's another pergola with vines:

 
Andrea Hooper
Posts: 23
Location: College Station, TX Zone 8b
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I sure wish I knew the answer to that! My neighbor has a trumpet vine growing over the fence (and knocking it down in the process.) I was incredibly angry with them when we first moved in that they would allow their plants to ruin other people's property. Not to mention the frequency with which I have to dig out the babies that pop up all over creation. Between the bermuda grass, the trumpet vine and the infant I felt like all I did was weed and feed allllll day long. haha! One morning as I drank my coffee, I thought, what a great spot for blackberries?! We took some old pallets and just leaned 'em up against the fence and planted blackberries where they could ramble up against the pallet. The weight of it all propped the fence back up straight and I didn't have to build a "real" trellis in our super annoying clay. Winner winner!! "The problem is the solution"!! Now I look at the vine and see a wall of beautiful flowers. If it is a nitro-fixer as well, woohoo! Don't know why I didn't think to run it over the pergola. That is a great idea. Thanks for the suggestion.

The pergola with the trumpet vine is almost identical to yours, Genevieve. Maybe a little more slender. But I can see now what you were getting at. You guys rock!
 
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