Ford’s Colony Pergola

Hertzler & George was pleased to have the opportunity to work on this deck and landscape renovation project in Ford’s Colony. The house is a well detailed colonial style building that borrows from the architectural language of restored homes in Colonial Williamsburg. The client’s main concern on this project was the existing deck on the back of the house. It was about twenty years old and starting to rot. Made of low-end treated lumber, the construction and materials did not match the detailing of the rest of the house.

There was also the issue of location: The deck faced directly south and bore the full brunt of the summer sun. If you were thinking the deck didn’t seem very inviting, you would be right. Though the deck overlooked a classic four-square colonial garden, the clients weren’t able to take advantage of the view. Our task was to make this deck shadier and more inviting, upgrade it to the standard set by the main structure, and make it feel more connected to the yard. Luckily, the clients were open to significant changes, if it would get them the yard they wanted and if it worked with their budget.

One element that came early in the design process was the addition of a pergola to provide much needed shade both outside the house and inside the living room, which became uncomfortably warm during the summer months. As with many Hertzler & George projects, we first created a 3D model of the house to help the owners better visualize how the pergola would look. And with the 3D model we were able to accurately evaluate the pergola shadow patterns and how they would fall across the deck.

Our first concept was to do away with the deck altogether and build steps down to a lower landing. This would create a much greater sense of connection between the house and the yard, but as we went through the estimating process, the clients decided to reduce costs by renovating the existing deck rather than tearing it down. They still wanted the pergola though, so we looked at ways to incorporate it into a slightly modified deck. After a bit of back and forth on the details of the design, we came up with a final plan that met their budget and provided a beautiful, usable new back deck. The final design sailed through the Homeowner’s Association review and we began construction.


The finished pergola looks beautiful and provides much needed protection from the sun. It’s accentuated with traditional details like scroll cut rafters and paneled columns that complement the colonial architecture of the house. Painted the same color as the house trim, it becomes a natural extension of the primary structure. For the beams and rafters we used western red cedar, a durable, lightweight wood that is great for outdoor structures. And we doubled the rafters to give the pergola a substantial look. For the trellis and columns we worked with Trellis Structures, a custom builder of garden structures located in Massachusetts. They custom fabricated the teak trellis and cedar column covers to perfectly fit the deck.

We also replaced all the decking and railing. While the original Chippendale railing was pretty, this kind of railing is prone to rot due to all the angles that catch rainwater. The new, simpler railings will last much longer. For the decking, the clients selected ipe wood. Ipe is a very dense tropical wood, similar to teak, filled with natural resins which make it very durable. We looked at the possibility of using preservatives to maintain the rich color of the freshly cut wood, but the owners decided to take a simpler route by leaving the wood untreated and letting it develop its natural silvery color


While the pergola provides a great spot to view the garden, one of the biggest concerns for the clients was privacy. The deck was high off the ground and very visible from a neighbor’s porch, and another neighbor’s house looked down on it from a hill in the back yard. Since the owners did not want to create a walled fortress, we provided filtered screening through the use of a trellis and layered plantings.

Particularly important was an existing Leyland cypress hedge along the back property line. In our opinion, Leylands are a poor choice for screening, even though they are probably the number one plant sold for that purpose. In 99% of installations, they will grow far too large and they are also prone to being blown over, leaving ugly gaps in an otherwise solid screen. In this backyard they were overgrowing the existing garden, and required constant trimming. Thankfully, the clients were willing to take the brave step of cutting them down and installing a brand new hedge. We recommended Nellie R. Stevens Holly, a beautiful evergreen shrub. While not as fast growing as Leylands, the are much easier to manage and won’t grow too big for the garden.

But even without waiting the Clients are able to enjoy the pergola and the instant shade and screening it provides. In just a few weeks the yard has gone from a hot, uncomfortable place to an inviting retreat perfect for entertaining.

Construction Progress Photos

Completed Project Photos

Ready to Get Started?

Click below to share a few details and request a call back.

Always Helpful

Brian came out last week to try to assess a problem we are having in our yard.  He arrived on time, was extremely courteous and took a considerable amount of time analyzing our situation.  While he was unable to reach a solution, he did take the time to research and recommend another business that might be able to help us.  That kind of customer service will make us more likely to call on Hertzler & George if other issues arise.  Thanks, Brian!


Five Stars All Around

We hired H&G to help us re-do our landscaping after a different local landscaping company did a sub par job with plant selections and installations. That company also was very hard to deal with. H&G stepped right up with Jennifer creating a new planting scheme comprising of native plants with some we had never seen before and which we love! She is extremely knowledgeable and pleasant to work with – a true landscaping charm! Jon did the installations and also did a fantastic job. He was very meticulous on planting and finishing the job neatly with mulch. Unlike that other company’s installer, Jon left us extremely happy with the job done. Customer service on the phone – pleasant, patient and helpful. The only, and ever so minor aspect of their work, is they don’t offer a guarantee on the plants or install. I suppose that’s becoming industry standard. However, now looking over all the plantings with a bit of time passing, I am confident that there won’t need to be any replacements. Watering is of course the key element. Thank you H&G, the country cottage landscaping we’ve wanted is now ours – FIVE STARS!

Chris Dombrowski
Ford's Colony | Homeowner

True professionals

Had these guys build a surface-grade patio in May 2023. They looked at the project, sent me a proposed scope of work and contract via email, took a deposit of 1/2 the total via bank transfer. They set a date weeks later to start the job. They showed up on time, worked professionally and cleaned up at the end of the day. Whole job took 3 days, and they even replaced all the patio furniture on the last day. The final product was precisely what I asked for, done in a high-quality, workmanlike way.

H&G are not the cheapest guys out there, but for the extra money you get a professional product, professionally executed, on time, on budget. Honestly: I don’t think it gets any better than that.


Ken Blakely

Beyond Satisfied

We had an ugly uneven weedy patio and a driveway that needed reshaping and gravel. The transformation is stunning. Your representative Brian was patient and helpful in designing repairs to our satisfaction and your work crew was exceptional. Edwardo the work site foreman was extremely knowledgeable and professional and created a beautiful patio. His crew was superior.

Tim & Cynthia Porter

Joe Hertzler goes the extra mile

Hertzler and George were contracted to perform some landscaping for a seller of mine to get the home ready to show. They had just finished an extensive re-landscaping of the next door neighbors entire yard. I was very impressed by their attention to detail and their desire to satisfy their client. Joe Hertzler goes the extra mile to achieve complete client satisfaction. They provide a complete mix of landscaping design services and maintenance of existing landscaping

Tim Parker
Liz Moore Real Estate