A pergola is a great way to add an interesting dimension to a porch, walkway or garden. Pergolas make wonderful climbing support for wisteria, roses or other climbing vines and plants. Pergolas also add some shade to an otherwise sunny area and make great coverings for decks.
- Skill level:
Choose a pergola plan. Pergola plans come in three basic designs: free standing, attached or free standing next to a structure.
Dig post holes for the number of posts your design needs. If you choose free standing it will be at least four posts and some designs require six. For an attached pergola you'll need at least two or three holes depending on the size of your patio or deck. Make sure you dig your post hole below the frost line or to whatever specifications required by your city or municipality.
Set your posts by filling the holes with quick dry concrete. You can mix the concrete directly in the hole buy pouring dry mix into the hole and then adding water. Once your mix is the right consistency, set the poles into the wet concrete.
Attach the top rails of the pergola once your concrete is set. If you're building an attached pergola, use metal wall brackets for easy installation. Attach the wall brackets, insert the lumber into the bracket and secure with wood screws. The finished frame should look like a big box.
Use standard ceiling joists for support underneath the four posts and for each length beam across the pergola.
Cut the ends of each beam at an angle with a few inches of overhang before placing them on top of the pergola.
Choose the number of beams for the top of your pergola depending on how much coverage you like. Add lattice work on top of the beams for an even more cozy look.
Tips and warnings
- Paint or stain your pergola for extra weather protection.
- Choose pressure treated lumber for the most weather resistant pergola.