DIY: How to Build a Pergola

Tags: , , ,


build a pergola

Summer is the best season to spend as much time in your backyard as possible. If you are looking for any ideas on how to create a beautiful space in your backyard for parties with friends and family or just a nice place for remote work during the pandemic, here’s the best decision for you: just build a pergola! It will not only provide you with shade and a cool place from the sun but will also boost the entire beauty of your backyard. We recommend you three ideas on how to build a great pergola using quite simple material and supplies. Use our guides as a basis for your creativity and adjust them in the best way possible to make your backyard the most comfortable to you.

A simple pergola consists of four parts fastened into a square or rectangle: posts, crossbeams, rafters, and lattice.

How to build a pergola

Start building your pergola:

  1. Making a subassembly. First cut four posts, four crossbeams, and rafters. Fasten one crossbeam to two posts, driving a 4-inch decking screw through the beam into each post. It’s important that the top of the beam is equidistant from the top of each post.
    Raise the subassembly and put the posts into the holes. For additional support and stability secure crossbraces alternately to the inside and outside to the posts. The crossbraces are temporary. To hold the subassembly in place you have to drive the stakes into the ground in front of the posts in the same distance from each. Plumb each post and fasten the braces to the stakes. Repeat on the opposite subassembly.
  2. Leveling of the crossbeams. Put a rafter upright on the crossbeams of the two subassemblies. Using a level check the position of the rafter. In case it’s not level, loosen the bracing of the crossbeam to the post and adjust the rafter to the level. Attach the crossbeams back to the post using decking screws and repeat the leveling process on the other post. After finishing that, secure the remaining two crossbeams to the outside to the posts of your subassemblies.
    Cut the posts following the top of the crossbeams. Use a reciprocating saw.
  3. Fasten the rafters upright to the crossbeams. You will need eight screws for each rafter. Drive the screws at an angle through the rafters face into the top center of each crossbeam.
  4. Put the slats on the top of the rafters and attach them with a pair of 3-inch decking screws at both ends of each slat.
  5. The lattice frame. Cut the horizontal pieces for the frame, measuring them to fit between the posts. Next, cut the vertical pieces. Fasten them to make a frame and, using the level and 1⅝-inch decking screws, secure the frame to the posts.
  6. Build the flower box and the bench and attach them to the posts. Finish step – stain the pergola with two coats of semitransparent stain.

Slat Wood Pergola

Another way to make a nice cozy pergola, which could protect you from the sun and serve as a lovely private space, is to use a slat wood. The advantage of the slats is that you can cover the entire pergola with them (leaving the space for entrance, of course), which will create a good shade, but you still will have the sense of being completely outside with plenty of bright light and breezes.
First, you have to build a support for your future pergola from two posts and a top beam in order to mount the pergola beams. Also, you can use your fence as a support, too. In this guide, you will find out how to make a pergola and extension of your house, so that you need to use less materials for support.

simple pergola

Step one: Choose the place where you would like to mount your pergola and prepare your supplies. You will need some metal hangers, deck screws, 2×6 treated lumber, lattice strips, tape measure, power drill, chop saw, nail gun or hammer and nails.

Step two: Fasten the metal hangers to the support of your pergola. Next, mount the rest of the hangers on your house in the level of the support posts. Don’t forget to measure the distance between the hangers. You don’t want to end up with boards that are too long or too short. Use the style of the hanger which fits what you’re mounting them on. If your house is made of brick, use a hammer drill for drilling the screws.

Step three: You can leave the slats with their natural wooden look, but we recommend you to stain all the wooden parts of your pergola for better endurance and protection from any moisture, which could damage your pergola quite soon. Better to do that before mounting the pieces into the pergola. Also, it might look prettier if the color of your pergola matches the color of your house or fence.

Step four: Now you will need the help of a friend or another person because you finally have to secure the beams to the hangers using screws.

Step five: Nail the strips above the beams. You can use dowels to make sure your strips will be evenly spaced. The most convenient way to get nailing the strips done is to use a nail gun – just a hammer and nails will take you much more effort.

Pergola Around a Fire Pit

This option is the best one for those who like to spend weekends partying with friends in a backyard around the fire, enjoying s’mores and having unforgettable moments under the starry sky. Though, this project might require more effort, tools, and money to spare.

  • Choose the area where you would like to establish your pergola and mark the center of it (that is where the fire pit is gonna be).
  • Mark the points for the posts of the main assembly of the pergola. They should be equidistant to the center point. Make eight marks.
  • Following the marks dig holes for the posts using an auger. 3 feet deep will be enough.
  • Place the posts in the holes, level them, and set them using concrete mix.
  • Check if the posts are level (use a rotary laser level) and cut them if necessary (so they all would be level).
  • Install the fire pit with the stone blocks in the center mark.
  • Secure the top beams to the anchor posts.
  • Cover the beams with the top plates and secure them with 4” deck screws, and also place screws through the top plate into the beam about every 10″.
  • Install swings to each pergola section. Live one section for entrance and another one for bar area or outdoor screen.
  • Place the chairs around the fire pit.
  • Stain the pergola.

When you finished your pergola, whatever guide you’ve chosen, you can put some nice furniture there and add some decorations to make it as unique as you want. Enjoy spending an amazing time in your beautiful pergola!

Date: 01.07.2020

Home Improvement Podcasts

  • Jan 13, 2022

    Itch-Free Insulation | Super Commercial Stoves for Kitchens | How to De-Tox Your Mattress | Ep #2170

  • Jan 11, 2022

    #423: PRO TALK With Builder Jason Kehrer

  • Jan 10, 2022

    Winter Bird Attraction | New Year New Studio Space | Sink Odors | Ep #2169

  • Jan 9, 2022

    Winter Safety Tips

  • Jan 7, 2022

    The Declutter Challenge - Part One - Self Awareness

  • Jan 7, 2022

    #422: First-Time Remodeling, Insulating a Brick Foundation, and Mysterious Leaks

  • Jan 6, 2022

    Beware Falling Icicles | Picking the Right Paint | Easy Furniture Fixes | Ep #2168

  • Jan 5, 2022

    Fix It 101 | Happy New Year (2022)

  • Jan 4, 2022

    #421: PRO TALK With Carpenter Matthew Millham

  • Jan 4, 2022

    How to be 10% better in 2022

  • Jan 3, 2022

    4 Home Buying Question | Kitchen Floor Remodel | Holiday Decoration Hacks | Ep #2167

  • Jan 2, 2022

    Setting Up a Home Office

  • Dec 31, 2021

    #420: Soundproofing, Cold Chimneys, and Dealing With Increased Building Costs

  • Dec 30, 2021

    Supercharging Wood Stoves for Max Heat | Cleaning Stone Countertops | Keep Kids Safe from Falling Furniture | Ep #2166

  • Dec 28, 2021

    #419: PRO TALK with Building Trades Instructor Matt Blomquist

  • Dec 27, 2021

    Upcycled Furniture | Renters Insurance | Door Stick Quick Fix | Ep #2165

  • Dec 26, 2021

    Caulk Guns

  • Dec 24, 2021

    #418: Future-Proofing Homes, Tile Subflooring, and Going Without Wall Sheathing

  • Dec 23, 2021

    Green Improvements That Pay Off Big | How to Make Your Fireplaces Deliver More Heat | Best Filters for Dust-Free Indoor Air | Ep #2164

  • Dec 21, 2021

    #417: PRO TALK With Restoration Specialist Bob Kelly

  • Dec 20, 2021

    Consumer Reports App Helps Manage Home Like a Pro | 5 Things You Can Make Sparkle with Vinegar | Simple Holiday Home Fixes | Ep #2163

  • Dec 19, 2021


  • Dec 17, 2021

    #416: Video Doorbells, Engineered Siding, and What it Costs to Build Your Own House

  • Dec 16, 2021

    5 Ways to Save on Décor in the New Year | Making Chimneys Safe for Santa | Quick Tips for Cleaning Tile | Ep #2162

  • Dec 15, 2021

    Fix It 101 | Holiday Fire Safety

  • Dec 14, 2021

    #415: PRO TALK With Builder Justin Zeller

  • Dec 13, 2021

    Holiday Toy Organization | CO2 Gas Poisoning | Basement Energy Usage | Ep #2161

  • Dec 12, 2021

    Cork Flooring

  • Dec 10, 2021

    It‘s time for a Clutter-Free Christmas!

  • Dec 10, 2021

    #414: Insulating Band Joists, Saving Salvaged Material, and Fixing Wet Masonry

  • Dec 8, 2021

    Fix It 101 | Holiday Fix-up

  • Dec 7, 2021

    #413: PRO TALK With Deck Builder Max Hegedus

  • Dec 5, 2021

    Low VOC Paint

  • Dec 3, 2021

    #412: Rotted Walls, Saving Energy, and Let-In Bracing

  • Dec 1, 2021

    How you can have LESS STRESS this Holiday Season

  • Nov 30, 2021

    #411: PRO TALK With Electrician David Shapiro

  • Nov 30, 2021

    Book 15

  • Nov 29, 2021

    Keep Craft Alive Podcast: Ep.9, Brian Ciciora, Sam Harris, and Mike Lee of Truewerk

  • Nov 28, 2021

    Cordless Outdoor Power Equipment

  • Nov 26, 2021

    #410: The Best of the Fine Homebuilding Podcast, Volume 2

  • Nov 23, 2021

    #409: PRO TALK With Passive House Trainer Mariana Pickering

  • Nov 21, 2021

    Prevent Plumbing Problems During the Holidays

  • Nov 19, 2021

    #408: Wrinkly Metal Roofs, Job-Site Jointers, and Basement Finishing

  • Nov 17, 2021

    Fix It 101 | Return On Investment

  • Nov 16, 2021

    #407: PRO TALK With Builder Mason Lord

  • Nov 14, 2021

    Air Fryers

  • Nov 12, 2021

    #406: Changing to a Career in Construction, Building Your Own Addition, and Mixing Mortar for Stone

  • Nov 10, 2021

    Fix It 101 | Shedlife

  • Nov 9, 2021

    #405: PRO TALK With Electrical Operations Supervisor John Williamson

  • Nov 8, 2021

    Are you stuck in the ALL or NOTHING cycle? Tough Love Podcast

  • Nov 3, 2021

    Fix It 101 | False Chimney

  • Nov 2, 2021

    You Gotta Show Up and Shake It

  • Oct 27, 2021

    Fix It 101 | Turn On Your Furnace

  • Oct 20, 2021

    Fix It 101 | Chimney Smoke

  • Oct 19, 2021

    Easily Shift your Mindset and Transform your Life

  • Oct 13, 2021

    Fix It 101 | Window Glaze

  • Oct 6, 2021

    Fix It 101 | Talking Gutters

  • Oct 4, 2021

    Say Good-bye to your Clutter! Declutter Bootcamp starts now

  • Aug 29, 2021

    Simple Ways to Fall in Love with your Home

  • Aug 3, 2021

    I'm in a funk - -Let's get motivated together!


Popular Tags