Forum home Garden design

Conundrum with pergola!

Hello! We have existing decking and are thinking of putting a pergola over it to make a nice space for summer evenings, however my neighbour has an overhanging tree (recently trimmed well back) but I am wondering what best to do about protecting the area.

I want to have lights and things on the pergola, but leaves, berries etc fall from the neighbours tree and I don't want it ruined by bird poo and algae, but I want the decking to be more functional / multipurpose.

i’ve considered a perspex roof (flat, not a fan of corrugated) but does anyone else have any suggestions? I also wondered if I could use a sun sail over the top of it? Worried the perspex would be an issue in strong winds!

i’ve added a photo of my garden and also the type of structure incase anyone has any ideas - thankyou! 



  • nick615nick615 Posts: 1,481
    I rather suspect you're hoping for the (near) impossible.  The tree is a beautiful example and further mutilation could well be seen as unreasonable by its owner, even though you're legally entitled to lop off anything your side of the boundary.  Either as a roost, or to feed on the berries, birds will congregate there with the inevitable result on your pergola, whatever you construct.  You'll then be faced with a cleaning problem for which you'll need access, and leaving enough space round the pergola to achieve that will be difficult.  Another contributor could have an answer but my advice would be to look for a temporary structure that can be simply erected when you want to sit out, but stowed away afterwards.
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 87,920
    edited April 2021
    It’s a garden, birds will poo, leaves will fall. It’s all part of being outside and all it requires is an occasional going over with a broom or if you must, some sort of leaf blower or power wash. 

     If you put a Perspex roof over it what are you going to do when it gets leaves, bird poo and green algae on it?  Climb up a ladder with a bucket and scrubbing brush? 

    The whole point of a garden is that you have a space outside where there is nature and wildlife. 

    Presumably you’re going to have climbers over your pergola ... most people do ...  roses, clematis, a grape vine? They’ll drop leaves and birds will perch on your pergola too. 

    If you don’t like that you could build a summerhouse and sit indoors in your garden. 


    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • PosyPosy Posts: 3,601
    Yes, birds will gather and poo on your pergola, rain will rain, dust will settle and algae will grow, moss and lichen. You cannot force indoor conditions on the outdoor, even with a roof. I would suggest that you learn to love natural processes - that is a beautiful tree - or do as suggested above and use a moveable set-up. If you abandon the lights and 'things' you may well be able to enjoy the garden and the evenings much more, too. 
  • FireFire Posts: 18,983
    I would suggest a small arbour seat, perhaps, that would fit next to the tree. Or an arch. Or some trellising. Scale it down. Keep it simple.

    Leaves and bird poo wouldn't ruin a pergola or the decking, but you might have to sweep it off. All outside wood needs treating regularly to keep in good nick. That's the downside of wood, for all its beauty. Algae happens.

    In design terms, the main feature of the space is the gorgeous tree. Enjoy that, borrow that and work around it. Celebrate that birds are enjoying the garden.
  • LoxleyLoxley Posts: 5,690
    edited April 2021
    Twinwall perspex will look fairly mucky and it might end up looking like a cheap carport - you can hide it (and add shade) with rolls of woven heather, willow bamboo etc as here. If you're putting a rigid cover you will have to be sure the foundations are strong.
    Personally I would get a climber up it, something flowers and/or berries to attract bees and birds. And invest in a sweeping brush lol.
    "What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbour". 
  • FireFire Posts: 18,983
    Very lovely. I'm thinking of something similar, on a smaller scale, for my overlooked garden.
  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 34,874
    please remember: one man's lights on pergola is another man's light pollution.
  • Nanny BeachNanny Beach Posts: 8,717
    Hubby is just building this could only put half told the file was too big,it will have decking but every where round here is out of stock.there is a grapevine on the left,a amythist fall wisteria, and I am waiting for a repeat scented rose,I have ordered for the other side.we also have an arbour seat,I have bird feeders on arches, they prefer the conservatory roof to poo on.intend to have proper out door lighting,it won't be on. Long.polution, neighbours have put light which comes on shining in our kitchen window into the hall  and wakes us up,we only have the bedroom door open a chunk, elderly dog needs to use doggy flap at night, it's a bungalow
  • Nanny BeachNanny Beach Posts: 8,717
    A minute ago there was a picture of his pergola on here
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