How to Anchor a Pergola to the Ground

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Pergolas are beautiful garden structures that add character to your property. The design and work to build a pergola is generally simpler than building a deck. Anchoring a pergola is basically the process of creating the foundation of the pergola's posts so that these posts can be erected permanently. Depending on the surface you want to build a pergola on, the installation hardware and materials will vary. You can also apply these instructions to an arbor.

Things You'll Need

  • Posts (4 x 4, 6 x 6, for example)
  • Post mount hardware
  • Concrete (for in ground installation)
  • Hammer drill with bit for masonry
  • Level
  • Socket or ratchet wrench
  • Marking chalk

Anchoring Pergola On Concrete

  • Measure the exact location you will mount the posts on a level concrete slab or concrete footings. Mark the center location of a post. The typical backyard pergola will have four legs. Larger pergolas can have more than four posts. Take measurements with a tape measure and be perfect as possible to avoid making too many adjustments to your pergola design plans.

  • Drill a hole for the sleeve anchor bolt. Use the hammer drill that is best for creating a hole in concrete. The sleeve anchor bolt allows the post mount in place. Once the bolt is inserted into the hole in the concrete, the tightening of the bolt with a nut will expand the sleeve to secure the bolt virtually permanently.

  • Place the metal post mount on the concrete and line up the hole on the mount with the hole on the concrete. Insert the sleeve bolt through the mount. Tighten the nut on the bolt with a wrench until the bolt and the mount are secured in place on the concrete.

  • Place the post on top of the post mounts. Nail the post into the mounts. Some posts mounts have big holes for using carriage bolts to attach the post to the mount.

  • Level and stabilize the posts until you have put the rest of the pergola together. Use a level to keep the posts straight vertically. Attach 2 x 4 studs and nails to the posts to hold the legs up. Repeat the process for the remaining posts. Insert any posts sleeves, hollow columns, or any decorative covers that slide in the posts before making the rest of the pergola.

Anchoring Pergola Into The Ground

  • Mark on the ground the location where you will install the posts for your pergola. Use marking chalk or spray paint.

  • Dig a hole for adding a post into the ground. Obtain guidance from the local government engineer to determine the depth of the hole so that you will be in compliance with the local building codes.

  • Add the post and insert quick drying concrete into the hole. Some concrete mixes only require you to put in the mix and add water later.

  • Brace the posts to keep them perfectly level. Do not build any further until the concrete is dry.

Anchoring Pergola Into Wood Deck

  • Determine if your deck can support the weight of the pergola. Some pergola designs can be very heavy. Consult a local engineer if you are not sure if the deck is strong enough. You could end up with a collapsed deck.

  • Locate the positions on the existing deck where the posts will be attached. Use a bright crayon or marker. Make sure that the posts are located next to a joist or beam.

  • Cut a hole in the deck where the posts will mount to the frame.

  • Obtain a short scrap post to mark holes where the frame and the post meet. This will allow you to pre-drill the real post. Drill a hole into the frame first. Line up the post with the hole in the frame. Mark where you want a hole that goes right through the post. The carriage bolt must go through the frame and through the post.

  • Attach the post with the carriage bolt and make the post level. Tighten the bolt with a washer and nut.

Tips & Warnings

  • Make sure you have the proper local government permissions to build a structure. The government can force you to destroy what you've built if they find out that you did the project without any approvals.

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References

  • Photo Credit pergola image by titi78430 from Fotolia.com
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