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How To Build A Pergola Step By Step

The Classic Column Build

How to build a pergola step by step

This unique style pergola will provide shade to your patio or wood deck. It features classic columns which support a wooden lattice framework that dapples the light.

The columns are not that hard to build as you might think because you are not going to make them they are hollow-core and precast. Despite that, this is a complex pergola project, and it will take a couple of weekends.

Cut The Crossbeams At An Angle

Next, cut the ends of the crossbeams using the mitre saw or a handsaw and mitre box. In this specific case, the side beams have been cut to achieve a length of 2.2 metres. The rest of the crossbeams will keep their original 2.4m length.

In addition, to bring a rustic touch to the pergola, the edges have been bevelled. To do this, leave a margin of 3cm at the top of the beams and cut the rest at angle of 45º.

The Windsor Shade Shelter Idea

This freestanding pergola shade is made of redwood, and it will cover an area of 96 square feet , but you can customize it to your preference by adding additional louvers and most. But the rafters shouldnt span more than 6 feet.

If you want, you can build this pergola shelter next to your house to keep your home cooler in the summer.

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+ Pergola Plan Designs & Ideas

A pergola is a garden structure with a trelliswork roof that creates a shaded passageway, outdoor sitting space, or walkway.

They are built from vertical posts and frequently include an open lattice for trained vine plants. The word pergola originates from the Latin pergula which loosely refers to a projecting eave .

These decorative yard designs are frequently built from wood, though there are fiberglass, vinyl, aluminum and chlorinated polyvinyl chloride options available as well.

Their roofing grid can remain open are be covered with weather-resistant canvas or vinyl sheeting for enhanced outdoor protection. They can also be either freestanding or attach to the side of your house.

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The first step of the pergola project is to layout the posts. Use batter boards and string to layout the location of the posts. Apply the 3-4-5 rule to every corner and then measure the diagonals to make sure they are perfectly equal. You need to make adjustments until you get the desired result.

Anchoring the posts of the anchor

There are a few ways to secure the 6×6 posts into place. You can set the posts in concrete or you can use adjustable anchors and pour footings. Dig the holes 3 deep and about 12-13 in diameter. Compact a layer of gravel to the bottom of the holes and then fit the tube forms. Fit the posts, align them and plumb them with a spirit level. Fill the forms with concrete, while the posts are locked into place with temporarily braces. If you use anchors, you need to align and set them into concrete. Fit the posts after the concrete dries, using lag screw.

Smart tip: Read the local building codes, so you dig the holes at the appropriate depth.

Building the support beams

Use 2×8 lumber for the support beams. Make decorative cuts to both ends of the beams. You can use a large circular item so you can draw the curved lines. Get the job done with a jigsaw and then smooth the edges for a neat result.




Building the braces

Use 6×6 lumber for the braces. Use a saw to make 45 degree cuts at both ends of the pieces.

Fitting the braces

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The Backyard Shade Plan

You can use these step-by-step instructions provided by to build a backyard wood pergola. This one has 4 x 4 pressure-treated posts and evenly-spaced stringers perpendicular to the beams.

If you want, you can add decorative elements both to the joist beam and the stringers. Youll also need 3 lag bolts to attach the beams to the posts. Better looking than a standard white-vinyl, premade pergola, its an easy, rustic option.

The Backyard Roof Design

If you want a video walkthrough, this design comes with a helpful instructional video guide. The printable instructions cover how to build out this shady structure and even customize its dimensions for the best fit.

We found that the instructions were particularly helpful with the initial difficulty of installing vertical posts that are all the same height.

Indeed, the thorough design plans provided by Mother Earth News cover the installation of the pergola posts, how to make pyramid cuts, how to place the cross beams, shaping the lap joints, raising the roof boards, installing the lattice panels, and applying the finish.

They used peeled polls from foraged wood, though they remarked that this can be a little bit difficult because this found wood can be irregularly shaped.

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The Partial Shade Blueprint

Rona provides a template for this basic-style weekend project pergola, saying its ideal to shade a walkway, complement a backyard deck, or situate in a garden for the benefit of plants. You can even try hanging flower pots from it.

When it comes to constructing a freestanding pergola, they recommend you contact your local building office to see if you require a permit or not. As well, its recommended that if you are drilling posts, that you connect with local utility companies to ensure you wont be cutting into any important underground connections.

Fit Trellis To Your Pergola

how to build a pergola step by step Simple pergola in to home

If youre fitting trellis panels to the side of the pergola, position the first by drilling pilot holes then nailing it on with galvanised nails. There should be a gap between the ground and the base of the trellis panel. Repeat for the other three panels.

Now you’ve learned how to build a pergola, you can add interest to it with our choice of the best climbing plants. Or if you’re a fan of roses, check out our edit of the best climbing roses for your space.;

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How To Build A Pergola Step By Step

you can use 2×8 and 6×6 lumber

  • Fixing the PostsThe first step is to dig six post holes in the ground, make three of the holes on each longer side to support the pergola. Each post hole should be 24 to 48 inches deep. Now place the 6 x 6 posts that should be between 12 and 14 feet long in each of the post holes and prop them up temporarily using 2 by 4 braces. Now fill all the post holes and tamp down the soil firmly. This pergola does not require concrete; instead use a long piece of wood to compact the soil around the posts.
  • Aligning the PostsNow align the height of the posts and cut away the excess wood. This is easier than digging holes of the same depths. This can be done by measuring one post at eight feet, cutting it and cutting the other posts to the same height. After that make pyramid cuts at the top of the posts since this makes the pergola look even sharper.
  • Fasten the Cross BeamsNow fasten the three 6 by 6 cross beams across to the posts. Next, you need to measure the distances between the outer faces of the posts and cut the three main cross beams to span them. When cutting these cross beams leave an additional 12 and a half inches for overhang and trim the ends in a pyramid shape. Place the crossbeams over the posts and mark the places where the post and crossbeam overlaps.
  • Apply a FinishThe next step is to apply a finish by staining the wood or painting it. Depending on your preferences you can also allow the wood weather naturally for a unique look.
  • How To Install Pergola Post Brackets

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    For many people, installing a wood post into a hole with post-formulated quick-set concrete is the way to go. However, we recommend installing steel brackets for pergola posts for a couple of reasons. First, you arent wasting multiple feet of your expensive pergola post lumber by shoving it 4-6 into the ground, which gives you better height options for your pergola overall and/or a less expensive project. Second, installing steel brackets makes the actual installation of the pergola posts a much smoother and more accurate project. We highly recommend this method, although if youre bent on the post-in-concrete method, you can check that out here where we talk about installing deck footings.

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    The Backyard Bliss Build

    The Handmade Home has a motto love where are you dwell and as part of their Backyard Bliss series provides instructions how to build a pergola. These handy homeowners decided to start their project in the winter so that it will be ready for the warmer weather in the spring and summer. They used southern pine and provide a thorough review of the different sizing considerations particularly because of their tricky backyard set up. As you can see in the image, two of the posts are planted in the lawn while the rear two are against the house on the cement foundation that had previously been laid.

    How Tall Should A Pergola Be

    How to build a pergola on a patio

    Your pergola can be as large or small as you would like, but your existing architecture will often determine the best size. You dont want a structure that towers over your home, or more importantly, neighbours fence. An ideal pergola will be in scale with your homes design to help it feel integrated, particularly if its against your house. In this case, the placement of your windows and roofline will let you know how high your pergola should sit. The way you plan to use the space also plays a role in determining the size. Youll want to ensure you have enough floor space for things like chairs and a table, big enough to accommodate your family or friends if you plan to entertain. The minimum height of a pergola is often no lower than 76. This will allow ample headroom. A standard pergola sits around the range of 8-10. A lower ceiling makes for more intimate gatherings, while a more extensive roof is better suited to match a larger house. If you plan to include lighting inside, youll want to have a little more height.

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    What Are The Steps For How To Build A Pergola

    Building a pergola is more straightforward than you may think. You can adapt these instructions to customise your build for something bigger or taller and vary the materials for your look, but these steps will give you the core basics for how to build a freestanding pergola.

  • Consult with your local council to ensure any regulations concerning backyard renovations are et, so you are not made to rip down your new pergola down the track.
  • Identify and mark out the area that the pergola will occupy.
  • Stain or paint any materials you are planning on using before you begin construction.
  • Dig four holes, one in each of the corners of your designated area roughly two feet deep and nine inches wide.
  • Put some gravel in the hole to absorb moisture.
  • Sit one of the beams in the hole, straight and upright.
  • Pour pre-mixed quick-dry concrete in the hole and allow it to dry, repeat this action for all four beams.
  • Cut the 2×10 beams and fasten them to the posts to create a roofing base.
  • Cut the smallest beams into rafters and attach them to the top beams.
  • These steps are the simple core requirements, from here, you can alter and decorate; however, you want. Using a shade cloth on the roof is an easy and cost-efficient way to create a little cover. Choose a dark-coloured fabric and add some fairy lights for effect.

    Profile The Ends Of The Rafters And Crossbeams

    Profile the ends of the rafters and crossbeams. Then measure 25mm down from the top and 75mm in from the outer edge. Draw a line between these points with a pencil and extend it square down the adjacent faces of the timber. Then saw off the marked wedge – or if you prefer, you could design a decorative profile of your own.

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    Install Wood Plugs In The Pergola Columns

    Cut 5-1/2 in. round treated wood plugs to fit the inside of your columns. Glue and screw together a pair for each column top, then glue the plugs flush into the top of each column. Secure the plugs to the columns with 2-in. deck screws.

    Note: Drive a screw into the top of each plug to use as a handle to position the plug.

    Cut And Install The Top Cap

    Pergola step by step

    The last step to complete the pergola framing is to cut and install the top plate that caps the beams. These plates are mitered so that they meet evenly in the corners over each post.

  • Measure, cut and place your plates using the same marking process as the beams, overlapping the joint at the pie-shaped triangle wedge of the post to create your exact fit angle.
  • Secure the top plates with 4 deck screws, and also place screws through the top plate into the beam about every 10.
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    The Kitchen Island Plan

    Another unique option, this outdoor kitchen pergola provides a shaded area as well as a work island for food preparation and serving.

    The countertop includes a sink as well as drawers and cabinets- the countertop can accommodate a miniature refrigerator as well as an icemaker. Built from resilient cedar this outdoor cooking station is a unique build and perfect for backyard barbecues and parties.

    The downloadable blueprints run to 14 pages and provide comprehensive instructions regarding the tools and materials that you need, a cutting list and articulate assembly directions.

    Ron Hazletons website is a home-improvement resource that provides instructions for creating a freestanding, hurricane-resistant pergola that can be tucked away in the corner of your yard.

    He recommends designing it with enough interior spaciousness that you can accommodate garden furniture and perhaps even a hot tub. His instructions will walk you through assessing for electric, water and gas lines prior to inserting posts into the ground.

    As well, a video guide walks you through aligning the back corner stake, tying markers down to figure out post positions, marking post holes, digging the post holes with a post hole digger, pouring in the dry concrete mix, attaching temporary supports, installing the carriage bolts, and finally attaching the cross beams with hurricane-grade clips.

    Setting The Corner Post For The Pergola

    Dig the four holes for the corner posts. These will need to be a minimum of three feet deep. The corner posts will be 4 by 4s so your holes will need to be at least 10 inches in diameter. The corner posts must extend 8 feet 6 inches above ground level, so be certain your material is long enough to allow this height once the post is secured in the ground. If the post is too tall, it can be trimmed after being set in place.

    Set the 4 by 4 in the hole and pour in dry concrete. Use a level to make certain the post is level in all directions, then tap the post with a hammer to allow the cement to settle before pouring in two gallons of water. Allow the concrete to dry before continuing. Mount two 2 by 10 boards on each side of the post. The top of the 2 by 10 must extend above the post by the height of a 2 by 8. This will create a slot to insert your sandwich beam. Repeat this process on all four posts.

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    Line Up And Mark The Pergola Rafters

    Lay a rafter in position, jutting 200mm from the edges of the outer posts. Then mark the outline of the post tops on the rafter. As the timbers may not be identical, it’s a good idea to number each upright and the rafter in pencil so you can match them up again. Repeat this process with the other side of the pergola.

    • If you’re including a pergola as part of a new garden design be sure to read our feature.

    The Popular Mechanics Build

    Wood PDF Plans Step By Step Plans To Build A Pergola How ...

    Popular Mechanics provide step-by-step instructions for this cedar pergola, even including 3-D animation and what they describe as master-level blueprints.

    Discussing the particular appeal of these garden structures, they say that though the open roof doesnt protect from rain and the wind, and not even hot afternoon sun, the fact that it lacks a roof and walls decoratively embellishes an outdoor area rather than detract from it.

    It is an exceptionally unique architectural construction that when done right can truly embellish the look and feel of a garden- and this is why they were so popular in Italian Renaissance gardens where they often functioned as covered walkways or grape arbors.

    This particular option will fit into an 8 ft.²-though they say you can modify it to take up more or less space. Popular Mechanics walks you through how to install the posts, attach the support beams, add the cross beams, fit the top slats, and cap the posts.

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