How to Build a Pergola

Updated February 21, 2017

You can easily build your own pergola that will provide you with a beautiful and functional addition to your backyard or other area of your choice. All that is required for this job is some woodworking skills, a set of good plans and some woodworking tools. Follow these steps to build your pergola in a weekend with a little help.

Establish a design and find a location for your pergola.

Decide what materials you want to use to build your pergola.

Purchase materials for your pergola project.

Dig post holes 18 inches below post grade.

Set post in concrete and let set for 24 hours. Find out at what level is your frost line. Cement must be below frost line to prevent movement of your posts.

Build edge band and ceiling support framing.

Plum all the framing before installing the ceiling joist, beams and rafters.

Install ceiling joist, beams and rafters.

Go back and screw all boards.

Lag bolt ceiling support to posts.

Stain and seal your newly built pergola.


Sealing is very important to provide protection from the elements. Check and re-check that frame is plum and square. Before building you need to check with building permit authorities to see if you need to apply for a permit. Designs and plans for pergolas can be purchased on the Internet on various sites.

Things You'll Need

  • Cement
  • Lumber
  • Nail gun
  • Drill
  • Stain meant for outdoors
  • 3" screws
  • Square
  • Measuring tape
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