How to Build Wood Pergolas

Save

Building a wooden pergola adds an artistic flair to any garden. A pergola is a covered structure that usually stretches across a garden path. Pergolas also are called arbors or overhead garden structures. With the right tools, some lumber, and a little building experience, you can build a beautiful pergola for your own home landscape design. Using a kit or plan makes it easy to get started building your pergola right away.

Things You'll Need

  • Pergola kit including:
  • 4-inch by 4-inch lumber for the posts
  • 6-inch by 2-inch lumber for the rails and rafters
  • Wood screws and bolts
  • Power drill
  • Pencil
  • Saw
  • Hammer
  • Shovel
  • Concrete
  • Wood preservative
  • Stakes
  • Construction string
  • Level
  • Tape measure
  • Sturdy ladder, about 6 feet tall
  • At least two helpers
  • Decide where you want to install your pergola posts, according to the guidelines in your pergola kit. Allow headroom of 7.5 to 8 feet so you can walk underneath when there is hanging plant growth.

  • Use the stakes to mark holes, 1 foot in diameter, where the posts for your pergola will stand. Typically, pergola posts stand 3 feet across from each other for the width of the pergola, and 6 feet apart from each other for the length of the pergola. Dig the holes 2 feet deep.

  • Put the posts in the holes. Use a level to make sure they are standing completely upright. Have a helper hold the post level while you fill the hole with wet cement. It should be wet enough to bond but crumbly in texture, like homemade cookie dough. Leave a few inches at the top.

  • Use a stake to pack the concrete down in the hole, while your helper continues to hold the post level. When the cement is packed, it should be level and about 3 inches from the top of the hole. Repeat these steps for each post. (If the pergola will touch a building, bolt the posts to the building for additional support.)

  • Wait a day or two for the concrete to set in the holes.

  • Bolt the long side pieces of the pergola to the posts. (Use a ladder to get a good angle at the top of the posts.) Larger pergolas will have a set of rafters which go across the pergola to lend support between posts. Place the rafter piece over the post and use a pencil to mark where you need to cut it to fit over the post. Use a saw to cut the notch and set the rafter in place. Some pergola kits will already have notches cut in the rafter pieces for an easy fit. From the top, secure the rafter to the side piece with screws.

  • Check all bolts and screws to makes sure the structure is secure.

  • Apply an outdoor wood protecting finish to the structure and allow it to dry.

Tips & Warnings

  • Installation methods may vary among pergola kits. Consult your pergola kit instructions or pergola design for model-specific information about installing your pergola.
  • Follow all safety instructions and make sure your ladder is always placed on level and secure ground, away from holes.

References

  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
Promoted By Zergnet

Comments

You May Also Like

  • How to Make a Wooden Bracket for a Pergola Beam

    Pergolas are a wonderful way to add garden-style functionality and appearance to any home. For further decorative appeal, decorative wooden support brackets,...

  • How to Build a Pergola on a Deck

    Once you've added a deck to your home, you may find it's too hot and sunny to enjoy in midsummer. You can...

  • How to Make a Pergola

    A pergola is a popular addition to a home. Many homeowners would like to have one in their backyard, but feel the...

  • How to Understand the Parts of a Pergola

    A pergola is a simple outdoor structure similar to an arbor. While an arbor typically is a freestanding structure set in a...

  • How to Stain Pergola

    A pergola is an open-air covering for a patio or other outdoor area, with four support columns and a series of beams...

  • How to Build a Rustic Wood Pergola

    A rustic pergola can bring visual appeal to a garden while still being functional. Use a pergola to grow vine plants such...

  • How to Build a Pergola With a Swing

    A pergola not only makes a nice framework for an attractive ivy-covered bower, it makes a great place to hang a porch...

  • Aluminum Pergolas vs. Wood Pergolas

    Pergolas provide a focal point in your backyard that instantly defines your outdoor space while also providing shade and protection from the...

  • Pergola Wood Types

    Pergolas are outdoor structures intended to provide shade and cover walkways, patios or sitting areas. They are typically constructed to hold an...

  • Outdoor Wedding Decorating Ideas for a Pergola

    If you're planning an outdoor wedding, a pergola can add sophistication and grace to an otherwise ordinary natural setting. A well-made wooden...

  • The Best Vines for a Wood Pergola

    A wood pergola is a skeletal structure built of support posts spaced apart to form the sides and hold up crossbeams that...

Related Searches

Check It Out

22 DIY Ways to Update Your Home on a Small Budget

M
Is DIY in your DNA? Become part of our maker community.
Submit Your Work!