How to Build a Wooden Patio Cover

Updated July 20, 2017

If you are looking to make your outdoor patio a little more intimate, consider installing a wooden patio cover. The patio cover will allow your outdoor space to seem a bit more enclosed and give it the feeling of an outdoor room. One way to accomplish this is by installing a pergola. A pergola has four posts that are installed at each corner of the existing patio. These posts will then hold up beams and roof slats to create an open-style roof. The roof cover will provide some shade, but still allow for sunlight to shine through.

Place a wooden stake in the ground at each corner of the patio--this example is for a 6 by 6 foot patio cover. Connect each of these wooden stakes with twine. Then use a tape measure to make sure that the placements of the stakes are even lengths on each side.

Remove the stakes one at a time and dig a 2-foot deep hole. Place one of the posts in each of the holes and fill with 6 inches of gravel. Make sure that each post is standing upright.

Mix concrete and pour into each of the holes. Pour until the wet concrete reaches the soil line. Smooth out the concrete with a trowel and allow it to dry for 24 hours.

Climb a ladder to the top of one of the posts. At the top of the post, measure down 7.25 inches. Mark this spot with a pencil. Do this on the left and right side of each post.

Take one of the 8-foot long beams and place it right below the marked spot on the post. You will need to climb a ladder and have an assistant on another ladder hold the other end of the beam in place. Let each end of the beam hang over the side of the posts by one foot.

Drill two holes through the beam and into the post. Secure the beam to the post with a carriage bolt. Repeat this step on the other post where your assistant is holding the opposite end of the beam.

Install another beam on the opposite side where you installed the first beam. Place the beam under the marked line, drill two holes through each end and secure with carriage beams. Two of the posts should now be sandwiched between two beams.

Repeat steps 5 and 6 on the opposite posts. If you added the two beams to the left side, add two more beams to the righ side. Again, make sure each beam hangs over the edge of the posts by one foot. Once this step is completed, the left and right side posts will be sandwiched between two beams running parallel to each other.

Install four crossbeams. The crossbeams will run perpendicular to the main beams. At the front of the pergola, climb a ladder and place one of the crossbeams above the pencilled line you created in step 4. Allow one foot of overhang on each side.

Drill two holes through the crossbeam and into the front of the post. Do this on both ends of the first crossbeam. Now add another crossbeam directly behind the first. Drill two holes on each side and add the carriage bolts. Once the front of the pergola has two crossbeams above the main beams, add two more crossbeams to the back of the pergola.

The end result will look like a square being held up by four posts.

Connect the front and back crossbeams by adding roof slats. The roof slats will run from the front of the pergola to the back of the pergola. Nail them at an angle through the crossbeams. Allow the slats to hang over the side of the pergola by one foot. Add as many slats as you like but make sure they are spaced evenly. More slats means more shade.


When purchasing wood for the patio cover, consider using a softwood such as cedar. Softwoods are easier to cut and work with. Cedar also has natural properties that repel most insects. With this in mind, you won't need to worry about bugs nesting or feasting on the wood.


Wear safety equipment when working with the various tools. You may want to wear gloves when working with the wood beams and posts. Also, wear safety goggles when using the drill and when hammering in nails.

Things You'll Need

  • Wood stakes
  • Twine
  • Shovel
  • Gravel
  • Concrete mix
  • Trowel
  • 4 wood posts, 4x4, 10-foot long
  • 8 wood beams, 2x8, 8-foot long
  • Ladder
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Nails
  • Drill
  • Carriage bolts
  • 8-foot long wood joists (2 by 6 inches)
  • Assistant
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About the Author

James J. Siegel is a journalist with over ten years of experience. He graduated from Bowling Green State University and works as an editor for a trade magazine. His freelance work has appeared in San Francisco Apartment Magazine and