How to Build a Pergola

A pergola is a unique structure that gives the feeling of being inside a house when one is actually outside (at the backyard or lawn). Most people build pergolas to add beauty to their landscape.

A pergola is composed of four posts covered by a cross beam roof, which usually stands about eight feet tall. Most people prefer to use cedar wood in building pergolas, because it has high resistance to rotting and other harsh natural elements. The wood can be stained, painted or left as is, depending on your taste and preferences.

Securing the Pergola

The four posts can be secured by attaching them to concrete pads with steel-based anchors or by mounting them inside the earth. If you choose the latter, you should bury the posts at least 12 feet deep into the ground for maximum support.

It is very important to secure the base of the pergola. If the anchoring loosens, the pergola may fall apart or become skewed as time passes.

Steps to Build a Pergola

  1. Layout the position of the posts and make marks where the screws should be placed.
  2. Use nails to attach the anchors to the wood. Make sure that the posts stay plumb.
  3. Cut out four 2×6 support beams and use a template to draw curved notches at the ends.
  4. Use a jigsaw to cut the curved notches properly.
  5. Use a clamp to hold the beams in place, making sure that they are the same level and the posts are also plumb.
  6. Secure each end using 4 pieces of 3” #10 screws.
  7. Cut and trim the post pieces to your desired length and width.
  8. Secure the post with galvanized nails.
  9. Use 2×6 stocks for the braces.
  10. Cut five pieces of 2×4 wood to fit the top slats.
  11. Hammer in galvanized nails to secure the caps.

The pergola can be used as a center piece to a big or wide lawn or as a place for outdoor meals, gatherings, and activities.