On this project, I decided that a patio arbor was more practical than doing an addition to the house.  The slab was already in place for this type of structure and would provide not only the view of the garden but filtered light for potted plants.  For any patio arbor that will be open and free of any center supports, you will have to get the beams fabricated.  Laminated beams work well for a 20 foot structure.  Do check with the construction desk of Home Depot or Lowes they can provide you with more specifics on structural stability.  They are very helpful in estimating your material needs; simply draw a rough sketch of what you are trying to accomplish.  I also recommend you have the majority of the materials delivered so you do not have to go back and forth, especially considering the weight of the beams.  Because the beams are laminated and are not treated, it is best to use several coats of sealer or stain.

     A patio arbor such as this can easily last you 15 years, provided you use treated lumber.  Though the beams I used were not treated since laminated wood cannot be done, I choose a solid stain which has stood the test of time.  The stain color is dark brown, however, it allows for the colors of your plants and flowers to stand out much more.  The brand of stain that I use was Thompson Water Seal.  Texas does not carry this brand in solid stain any longer.  Home Depot can order the base and mix the colors for you or you can have it already done, however, the minimum order is 4 gallons.

            Though the patio arbor posts appear much wider, they are 6"x6"x12'.  I added 2"x6" boards around the post to give it a column look.  I screw bolted two L-Brackets to the top of the posts then to the beams.  To provide added structural support to the beams, I also bolted a 2"x6"x20' board to the house and then used Joist Hangers to secure them.  Since it's construction, I have not had any warpping of the beams or detatching from the house in any manner.  I toe nailed the 2"x6"x20' boards to the beams.  The cover for this patio arbor consists of 2"x2"x8' boards spaced 2" apart.

     Since the 2" boards for the top come only in eight foot length, I decided to make it a two tier level.  This gave it a unique design in the process. The only time of the day that you will have direct sunlight will be at the noon hour, other than that, the light is detracted to where you will have shade all day.
In addition, I installed rope lighting to all of my patio arbors.  The lighting is found at Home Depot or Lowes, generally in the back of their lighting fixtures.  They come in 10', 12', 25' and 100' lengths.  I do recommend that whichever brand you decide to get, that you stay with that brand.  As in most products, they are designed to where you cannot interconnect with any other brand but their own.  Considering the different brands of lights I have aquired, I find that Hampton Bay is usually very well stocked.  Rope lights will generally last about 3 years before some of the bulbs start going out, so I do not recommend you get lengths longer than 10'.  This way it is cheaper to replace a 10' length, instead of one of 100' when the lights start going out. 

     Unfortunately, I do not have additional detailed photos of the construction phase, however, you can see by the one's provided that it is not that difficult of a project to accomplish.  As with all my projects, I will be providing a materials list and costs.


6"X6"X12' Lumber 3 39.97 119.91  Posts
Cement 80 lbs. 6 3.46 20.76  For Posts
4 1/2"x7 1/2"x20' 3 150 450  Beams
2"x6"x20' Lumber 8 15.97 127.76  Cross Frame
2"x2"x8'   Lumber 243 2.97 721.71  Roof Cover
2x6 Joist Hanger 3 1.95 5.91  Secure Beams
2"x6"x16' Lumber 1 14.97 14.97  Mount to House
1/2"x5 1/2" Screw Bolts 8 1.97 15.76  Secure Board to House
"L" Bracket 6 2.97 17.82  Secure To Post
1/2"x5 1/2" Screw Bolts 3 1.97 5.91  Secure "L" Bracket
2"x6"x10' Lumber 12 9.97 119.64  4 Boards Per Post
2" Deck Screws 2 28.97 57.94  Large Boxes
5D Galvanized Nails 1 14.84 14.84  
TOTAL     1692.93