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Real LeadWhat better way to spend a cool Valentine’s Day evening than with good food, scented candles and colourful cushions under a flower-laden pergola?

Although making the most of the great outdoors is not necessarily a Pakistani trait, recently, enterprising open air enthusiasts have been expanding their horizons from the traditional verandah to encompass pergolas, loggias and airy summerhouses in their lawns.

Pergolas can be crafted out of wood, bamboo, soaring lattice work, brick columns and arches or any other suitable construction material. The selection largely depends on two factors: your budget and whether you want a permanent or a temporary fixture.

Loggias, on the other hand, are not actual ‘houses’ but open walkways made of wood, bamboo or latticed metal, usually covered with climbing, creeping and trailing plants, and where you can place benches or lightweight, easily movable, seating.

The trick to keeping these airy outdoor places mosquito-free is simple: pergolas, summerhouses and loggias provide the perfect climbing frame for some gorgeous, often useful, plants: perfumed roses, clematis, jasmine, grapevines and passion fruit being prime examples. Although none of them have insect repellent properties, once established, they provide the perfect shade in which to cultivate attractive pots of mosquito-repellent species such as basil, lemon grass, lemon balm, rosemary and mint.

Meticulous planning and execution can thus create beautiful – and romantic – mosquito free spaces to enjoy the outdoors, irrespective of the time of day. And even better, these garden features increases property values by an estimated six to eight percent.

The prices of materials used to make pergolas and loggias are as follows:

Material                                             Cost (per square yard)

Bamboo                                             Rs 200-300

Brick                                                  Rs 400-500

Latticed metal                                   Rs 600-700

Wood                                                Rs 250-350

– B. Khan
Prices provided by Shahnawaz Khan.

First published in the Real Estate Section of the DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on February 8, 2015.