M.a.D. Garden @Winstedt - How to Design & Construct a Bamboo Pergola


On 9 July 2023 at the M.a.D Garden @Winstedt, 15 M.a.D. people came together to construct a bamboo pergola from scratch.  Everything was done by human power and we used the bamboo available at the site, applying the permaculture principle to Use and Value Renewable Resources and Services.  It showed us what a group of resourceful people with a can-do attitude can achieve.

The pergola was designed by TCHS President Catherine Loke who briefed the M.a.D. team on 2 July 2023 with the help of a 1:20 scale model she made from the same bamboo that would eventually be used for the actual pergola.

The morning of 9 July 2023 started off bright and sunny.  One group started to clear the site, demolishing the existing pergola and clearing the small planters at the base in readiness for the new pergola.  Another group went to harvest and prepare the bamboo, removing unwanted stems and cutting the bamboo to the right lengths. 

As we started fabrication, the skies darkened and rain came pouring down.  So we took a break to enjoy Catherine's pesto made from mulberry leaf and basil harvested the day before, and Razak's homemade kombucha.

As the rain eased to a light drizzle, we continued with fabrication which involved laying the bamboo on the ground and tying them together with plastic cable ties to form the two structural side frames of the pergola.  The frames were lifted to a vertical position and carried to the site.  The joists and bracing were then tied in place to form a rigid structure. 

Apart from the construction aspect, this project demonstrated how a social economy already exists - other than the plastic cable ties we bought, no money was necessary in the entire process.  People of all ages, shapes and sizes came voluntarily, everyone pitched in and we all had a good time. 

A big shout out to the Construction Crew who enthusiastically pressed on in sunshine and rain:

Abdul Razak Salleh
Anil Changaroth (TCHS Committee Member and Charter President of the Rotary Club of Peace Builders Singapore)
Otilia Choi
Joel Lam
James Lee
Kim Lee
Lee Yen-Ling
Catherine Loke (TCHS President)
Mohd Nazzer Hamzah
Clarabelle Pun
Richard Tan
William Tay
Teo Wen Ping
Nuwan Thilanka
Zuhairah Asharih (Rotarian from the Rotary Club of Peace Builders Singapore)

[M.a.D. stands for Make a Difference]

See more photos here

Watch the video here

If you would like to be a M.a.D. gardener, register here


This M.a.D. Garden is jointly supported by



Written by Ar. Catherine Loke

on behalf of the
Resilience Working Group