My Fitness Pergola

AnonymBilFitnessPergolaCGIt seems like I always need a gardening project. This summer I finally had the chance to take care of something that has been annoying me for a long time. I fixed a good and natural place to park my car. At the same time I created some exercise equipment for myself.

My car has been parked at a spot where the road widens, but that never satisfied the garden designer in me. I don’t like having cars on display (even though mine is fairly neutral and not an eyesore) but I think cars should have a suitable spot near the house and your door. Since I live in Finland, an electrical outlet for a car warmer is also a good idea! That is also true about outdoor lighting, which is not something I am quite done with yet.

FPstartjulyThis is where it started at in July – weeds and an uneven surface

The idea about a pergola come to me, as I was still thinking about a roof for protection. I don’t have roof yet (or might not get at all), but the pergola is at least now ready for a roof of climbers. I have planted climbing hydrangea and I am going to add at least some clematis. As I was going to build a higher structure, I was struck by an idea at one of my crossfit classes. I could also get a good bar for pull-up practice!


All the wood and the bars are recycled material. The bars were a TV-antenna in a previous life:-) The wood was occasionally a bit cracked and crooked – but I still managed to get an almost level result…

Crossfit gyms typically have rigs, which look a lot like pergolas. The slight complication with my project was that the pergola would need to be wide enough for a car and that meant that the bar would need to be quite long. Bars need to be quite thick, otherwise they will start to dip in the middle, or you can settle for a shorter span and the strain won’t be that hard. I decided to do my bars on the side and on top with a shorter span in the front end of my pergola. That way they should stay straight. While I was at it, I made part of the roof into a Monkey Bar station:-) I have always loved Monkey Bars.


The bars are now on either side, one at a good height for pull-up-, kipping- and toes-to-bar practice and the other one (in the foreground) awaits a day when I can do a skin-the-cat move on it. Potentially one could do muscle-up movements, but I am not holding my breath on them…

I have recently given my project (every part of my garden has a name!) the name “My Fitness Pergola”, inspired by the app My Fitness Pal that I use daily. A more descriptive name would probably be “The Parking and Fitness Pergola”, but that does not amuse me as much…

I have felt quite inspired by this project and I already have a few sketches for a larger pergola with even more fitness aspects. It is not a small project, so I am not really sure that I will have time for it next summer, but we’ll see… Crossfitters might get an inkling of what I am thinking of, as I am already thinking of it as my own personal Zeus rig!

Some of the plants that will be part of the landscaping around the pergola:

I am mostly dividing perennials and shrubs that I already have, among them Tricyrtis hirta, Smilacina racemosa, Hydrangea anomala ssp. petiolaris, Carex morrowii ‘Ice Dance’, Uvularia grandiflora, Hydrangea arborescens and primroses. Some friends gave me a piece of their Hakonechloa macra and I have moved a Rhododendron ‘Mist Maiden’ that was not doing so well at another spot. I am going to move some Hostas and two ‘Winnie the Pooh’ rhododendrons. I have planted a few bulbs and ordered a few Rhododendron impeditums and a few Pierises for next spring, but the landscaping is still a work-in-progress. Somehow the planting is almost always the most fun bit, although this time around I also really like my (non-alcoholic) bars.

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  • Frans Karkkinaa - October 18, 2015 - 11:44

    What a great pergola You have done! And nice double purpose, also for fitness! ?ReplyCancel

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