Rescuing a 100 Year Old Wisteria
Normally we work to conserve the integrity of 100 year old homes. In this case, we had a unique opportunity to restore the architecture holding up a rare and beautiful 100 year old wisteria vine, protecting this extraordinary plant and providing our client with a safe and beautiful space to enjoy the beautiful days ahead this summer.
The challenges were obvious and many: This vine had twined around and through the pergola structure, making it extremely difficult to identify where the rotting and failing pergola wood stopped and the vine began. Arciform carpenters needed to find ways to gently remove the old wood and re-weave the new wood into the structure without compromising the support the wisteria needed.
Arciform client Janell Neulinger shares her “client’s eye view” of this unusual project here:
What were your goals for this project?
This wasn’t, as you know, a new construction project. The existing pergola was rotting and threatening to take down at least one of the hundred-year-old wisteria vines. My goal for the project was to replace the structure with a new design that is strong, durable, and architecturally compatible with the house.
What challenges did the project face?
The obvious challenge was supporting the plants and working in close quarters with them while dismantling the old structure and building the new.
What is your favorite part of the completed project?
I really like the way the new structure fits into the landscape. The heft and blunt corners match up really well with the house and the scale of these ancient vines. The dark color ties in with the fence and makes a nice contrasting background for the new growth.
Tell us about the experience of working with Arciform:
Working with Arciform was painless and pleasant. The carpenters were very friendly and happy to answer questions. They seemed pretty jazzed at the “puzzle” of supporting the vines during demo and construction. It wasn’t easy for the guys to thread the rafters through the branches of the plants, but they managed to do it, cheerfully, and with minimal damage to the plant. The site was reliably tidy during and after each workday. We had a few schedule changes, but everything was promptly and effectively communicated.
We very much enjoyed working with you too, Janell!
As we enjoy this week of unexpectedly beautiful weather, what structures are you considering adding to your garden to make the most of the summer sunshine? A pergola can be a simple and beautiful way to add shade and create a home for your favorite climbing flowers and vegetables.
Want some more outdoor living inspiration? Join us for our Bringing the Inside Out Summer Home Design Workshop on June 13th. Get the details and RSVP here.
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I’m getting ready to do the same, with HUGE 30 year old wisteria. How did you support the weight of it while replacing the pergola posts?
Taylor, how lucky are you to have a 30 year old wisteria. We definitely consult our landscaping pros for taking care of plants and trees, especially when they’re established like your wisteria. Here are a couple of good sources to address your question. I love that they call it a beautiful “thug”: https://www.gardenista.com/posts/diy-train-a-wisteria-vine-not-to-eat-the-house/ and https://www.gardenista.com/posts/plant-of-the-week-wisteria/