How-to Build a Pergola
How-to Build a Pergola<< Back
Adding a pergola structure to your backyard not only grants extra shade but can add style & character to make your home unique. Pergolas are great for growing vines and hanging flower baskets, and you can dress it up with lights, ribbons or streamers for special occasions. Check out directions on how to build a pergola we found on DIY Network below. Before you get started, however, make sure you review the full list of the materials you’ll need to accomplish this project here. We recommend using cedar wood (available at Lowe’s) because it resists decay.
Choosing the Site
The first step is to determine the approximate area where you would like your pergola to be. As this project stands independent of the house, you can locate it near an entrance, on a deck, in the garden, or wherever suits best. You can also consider using wood chips or gravel as a floor or even pour a concrete slab underneath it. If you plan on having the pergola on a deck, first measure the projection of your eaves and keep the center of the posts nearest the house at least 7 inches away.
Installing the Post Supports and Posts
Once you’ve chosen the perfect location, secure the metal post-supports by measuring the position of where they should be located and hammer the supports into the ground. When hammering the posts, DIY Network recommends using a level so you can check that the post supports remain vertical. After the posts are upright, make sure the posts are facing exactly square on – meaning posts are vertical and even with each other – to ensure the structure is strong (click here for directions on how to do this).
Place the Rafters
After the posts are secure, place two parallel crossbeams on the top of two posts. To see how to do this correctly, click here. Once the two crossbeams are mounted, they’re ready to receive the four overhead rafters. Place each rafter above the two parallel crossbeams. You should position one rafter above the left posts and one above the right posts. Then, measure and mark the position of the two center rafters so they will be evenly spaced. Nail a wooden brace into each top corner between the post and beam. Once this is done, lightly sand rough edges and treat any cut ends of lumber with preservative like these ones from The Home Depot.
Tip: If installing your pergola in the ground, spray WD-40® Big Blast® on your hole diggers and shovel prior to digging the hole to allow the dirt to slide off easier.