How to Attach a Pergola to the House

Thinking it might be time to spruce up the yard, provide some shade for the summer months, or create an elegant setting to grow vines like wisteria? Then a garden pergola could be the answer. Pergolas and their architectural cousins the arbor and loggia are ancient buidling forms that serve both functional and aesthetic purpose. Whether you're designing and building a garden pergola from scratch or from a kit, attaching it to the structure of your home is its own moderately easy task that will at times require another pair of hands.

Things You'll Need

  • Level
  • Tape measure
  • Safety glasses
  • Jig saw
  • Cordless drill and bits
  • Socket wrench
  • Marker/pencil
  • 1 by 6 or 8-inch durable wood
  • Lag bolts (length as needed for span)
  • Metal brackets
  • Mallet

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Measure and cut your lumber of choice to form a ledger board matching the width of the pergola. The length of your legder board should match the outer edge beam of the pergola. Level at desired height and mark the edges of the legder onto building.

Drill pilot holes at regular intervals. In the case of a wood framed house and siding (or stucco), use a ledger board and lag bolts to secure it to the existing house. If you have a brick home exterior, you'll need drill sleeve anchors to put into the brick or stone and secure the ledger board.

If hanging pergola rafters off of the ledger board with metal joist hangers, mark hanger holes onto ledge with a pencil and toe-nail or screw into place. If you don't want metal showing from underneath the pergola, use the notch method below.

Using a jig saw cut out a notch the width of each rafter along the topside of your ledger board. Make a notch for each rafter at your desired interval. Slot each rafter in the notch and secure by toe-nailing each rafter to the ledger board.

Once the pergola is attached to the house, make sure to secure each joint in the pergola well, both to maintain its structural integrity in inclement weather as well as to support the weight of any vines or plant material that you grow onto the pergola or any fixtures you hang.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use your level! The grid-like and strong horizontal lines of a pergola will easily show anything out of plumb.
  • Getting the ledger board mounted onto the house is really a two-person job so plan to have an extra pair of hands ready for at least that part of the project.
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