Walkway Pergola

This pergola was designed to guide visitors down a small, simple, straight walkway around to a small hidden seating area, and utility space. It was important that the pergola create some visual interest from afar because it sat at the end of a driveway.

What I would like to point out about this pergola is that to enhance the perspective issues we cheated in the construction of the pergola;

  1. Post heights were lowered in 4″ increments.
  2. This means cross beams were each 4″ lower going front to back.
  3. Cross beams were also shortened as we went front to back.
  4. The walkway was 6″ narrower at the back than at the front.
  5. This means back post were closer to each other in the back than at the front.

Why? To enhace the illusion of perspective, to speed up what the eye was seeing, or enhance what the eye was seeing. Something fun to do.

So it wasn’t perfect in height, and the support bracing actually ran down hill-ever so slightly. But in the end it worked to create a walkway to some unknown place, hidden away and unseen to the public.

pergola construction by rick anderson
[Finishing the cutting for the cross-beams, we couldn’t mass cut because each one was a smaller version of the previous.]

Before those cards and letters roll in, yes that is a saw-horse being used as a step ladder. Remember we’re Professionals so don’t try this at home:

Some other thoughts:

  • We used Eastern Red Cedar, this job was in South Carolina.
  • Stainless steel for the hardware. Galvanized bolts and screws tend to bleed at entry point.
  • I think we started at 9.0′ in the front for the 1st cross beam.
  • Those are Unilock pavers for the walkway, same material as the driveway.
  • Those horizontal notches on post break up the simple post line but add a something to the construction. I guess I would call it “simple on simple”.

By Rick Anderson

The Whispering Crane Institute was originally formed to act as the umbrella organization for the Philosophy of Design Symposium, and other seminars and workshops given by Rick Anderson and Richard L. Dube’. In the year 2000 WCI became a sole proprietorship owned by Rick Anderson. Today the WCI provides design and consultation services for Landscape Contractors, acts as a Green Industry think tank, and provides training for others in the form of workshops, seminars, and individual consulting. The WCI also provides written material, opinions, case-studies and how-to articles for industry trade magazines.


  1. Wow… I love the horizontal notches. You’re right, it just adds that something. (I cringed at the sawhorse, though, professional or no! lol.)

    We thought so, I tend to design those bands in a lot now, though it doesn’t always happen. I figured there be some saw horse cringing.

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