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Best Reader Arbors and Pergolas 2013

You sent us your crafty outdoor structures for our Reader Remodel Contest; here are the garden creations that caught our eye

Best Reader Pergolas 2013

Finding a place to escape our hectic lives can be difficult, so maximizing outdoor space is essential to creating a calm atmosphere at home. Whether it was a garden entryway, a structure to entertain beneath, or a place to hang plants, your pergolas in for our sixth-annual Reader Remodel Contest showed us that pergolas can be functional and look nice, too. Take a look at these top pergolas, chosen by the editors of This Old House.

Tranquil and Secluded Cottage Garden

Who: Corky T.

Where: University Heights, OH

I most enjoy spending time in this tranquil, secluded bit of paradise, whether working in the garden, relaxing on the swing or in the hammock, or sharing it with friends. I had never designed a garden before—or anything of an architectural nature.

Who did the work: I did most of the work myself.

Cost: $25,000 to $50,000

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A Gracious Place to Entertain

Who: Linda R.

Where: Roswell, GA

We love having the outdoor living space, whether it's to provide a respite after work or for entertaining. Plantings around the pergola include Carolina and Confederate Jasmine, which have now grown over the roof, providing shade from the hot Georgia sun, hybrid tea roses, dahlia, and nepeta.

Who did the work: I did some of the work myself but a contractor did most of it.

Cost: $5,000 to $10,000

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Artist's Paradise

Who: Rob L.

Where: Niagara Falls, NY

It's fun and uplifting to create an interesting, inspiring space. I have a green thumb with help from mom!

Who did the work: I did most of the work myself.

Cost: $5,000 to $10,000

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Charm, Simplicity, and Functionality

Who: Michael T.

Where: Los Angeles, CA

We had the vision of doing a picket fence in the front yard to create a buffer from the sidewalk and give us the ability to design planting in front and behind, ultimately doing it in a style that fit with the house and added to the charm. The pergola was always part of the "fence vision" because we liked the look and feel it could add if done correctly.

Who did the work: I did all the work myself.

Cost: $100 to $500

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A Pergola Spruces Up a Deck

Who: John C.

Where: Waldo, OH

We had seen many pictures of pergolas and felt it would add to the ambiance of our backyard and deck. The deck is just so much more appealing now.

Who did the work: I did all the work myself.

Cost: $100 to $500

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Grape Arbor

Who: Michael R.

Where: Fort Wayne, IN

Our grape arbor replaced an old rail fence. The new structure provides privacy and a nice place to hang plants and to grow the grapes.

Who did the work: I did all the work myself.

Cost: $100 to $500

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Pergola with Round Columns

Who: Jon R. F.

Where: Centerville, OH

What makes this pergola stand out is the round columns connecting each column to the front header—this was the real challenge. I definitely wanted to use round and not square columns for my project.

Who did the work: I did all the work myself.

Cost: $1,000 to $5,000

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Trapezoid Pergola

Who: Dan H.

Where: Herriman, UT

The pergola is actually a trapezoid because the area I had to work with was odd-shaped. This made it challenging when it came to positioning it and making it symmetrical. After I purchased the wood, I let it dry for a week before construction. I stacked the pavers on the boards to keep them straight while they dried. I stained all wood prior to construction.

Who did the work: I did all the work myself.

Cost: $100 to $500

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Beauty of the Outdoors in a Private Space

Who: JoEllen R.

Where: Staples, MN

My house had an existing roofline that was especially challenging when planning how the pergola would fit with the design. I would have liked a white pergola like you see in kits, but by using treated wood and applying a good quality stain, I will have just as nice a look for less expense.

Who did the work: I did some of the work myself but a contractor did most of it.

Cost: $25,000 to $50,000

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A Custom Pergola

Who: Randall C.

Where: Plainfield, IL

This is one of those once-in-my-lifetime projects. I love hanging out on the patio under the pergola while grilling, having a fire in the chimney, watching the sunset or just chilling. Even the hummingbirds love the flowers in the hanging baskets.

Who did the work: I did most of the work myself.

Cost: $500 to $1,000

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Mediterranean-Style Plants Enhance Deck and Pergola

Who: Veronica C.

Where: Louisville, KY

The deck and pergola have a grape vine growing up it, giving it a Mediterranean feel. On a warm night, it is great eating dinner outdoors under the pergola, with the vine and scent of the shrubs and flowers.

Who did the work: I did most of the work myself.

Cost: $1,000 to $5,000

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A Personal Paradise

Who: Kristina S.

Where: Coral Gables, FL

The concrete pad had to be cleared of overgrown plants and old clotheslines, pressure-washed, and we poured concrete to extend it. We built the pergola and side planter boxes, added shade screen, some gingerbread trim, and solar lanterns.

Who did the work: I did most of the work myself.

Cost: $1,000 to $5,000

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Backyard Swing

Who: Michael R.

Where: Fort Wayne, IN

The swing project replaced a set that was rotting out. It complements the landscaping and has the right look for a cottage.

Who did the work: I did all the work myself.

Cost: $100 to $500

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An Elegant Backyard Space

Who: Philip B.

Where: Pittsburgh, PA

We took a boring, unprotected backyard and installed a pergola and bluestone patio. We landscaped the area and accented the pergola with lights and cloth sunshades. We used painter's drop cloth for sunshade instead of the expensive material we viewed online.

Who did the work: I did all the work myself.

Cost: $5,000 to $10,000

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