Build Your Own Pergola

If you are thinking of giving your garden a facelift, then the romantic charm of a pergola might be exactly what you need. This simple architectural structure, of Italian origin, is one of the easiest ways to awaken a dull garden. Building such a seemingly complex structure might appear to be difficult, but you would be surprised to find out how easy it is. There is absolutely no reason to buy an expensive, ready-made pergola. All you need is a little time, a touch of patience and this helpful 8-step guide…

What Is the Point of a Pergola?

People often question the purpose of a garden structure that doesn’t provide significant protection from the wind or sunlight. The reality is that such a utilitarian line of questioning overlooks the artistry of a pergola. Like a sculpture or a garden gnome, it serves to aesthetically enhance the appeal of a garden. The artistic root of a pergola gives the carpenter the opportunity to exercise creativity and design something beautiful.

Materials Required

  • 4” x 4” wooden posts (pressure treated)

    Photo by Paul J. Thompson

  • 2” x 6” wooden boards (pressure treated)
  • 2” x 10” wooden boards (pressure treated)
  • Jiffy hangers
  • Lag bolts
  • Screws
  • Quick-dry cement

Tools Required

  • Hammer
  • MultiMaster or jigsaw
  • Drill
  • Measuring tape
  • Level
  • Post-hole digger

Step 1: Select the Site

This first step might seem redundant, but it is in fact the most essential part of the whole procedure. Selecting the site will give you the dimensions that will determine the design of your pergola. You should measure the space that you want to use for the structure and ensure that you record everything perfectly.

Step 2: Design the Structure

Pergolas are artistic structures, and this means that the carpenter has a broad scope for creativity. The design of a pergola will generally depend on the site that has been chosen and the creative inclination of the designer. The following design is for a free-standing pergola, but the method can also be modified and used for one that is attached to the home.

Step 3: Mark Points for the Posts

Next, you need to mark the four points where the posts of the structure will enter the ground. As always, ensure that your measurements are perfect and then use the post-hole digger to dig a hole for each post. You should then insert the 4” x 4” posts into the holes. Secure the posts with some quick-dry cement, which should then be given 24 hours to set.

Step 4: Cut the Joist Beams

The 4” x 10” boards should be cut into joist beams. Here, you can exercise your creativity by cutting a creative curve into the wood with your Tool-NET MultiMaster. Building a pergola is one of the opportunities that carpenters have to be artistic – so don’t be afraid to try something interesting.

Step 5: Attach the Joist Beams

Once you have cut and designed the joist beams, you should clamp them in place and drill holes through the beams and posts. Use the lag bolts to attach the beams to the post. Ensure that the beams and posts are perpendicular, because a lopsided pergola looks terrible.

Step 6: Cut Stringers

Next, you will be required to cut stringers from the 2” x 6” boards. Your design will ultimately determine their appearance and how they are attached to the structure. When cutting the boards into the stringers, you can exercise your creative energy and do something a little more decorative.

Step 7: Attach the Stringers

The stringers should span and overhang the beams and posts. When attaching, ensure that every stringer is equally spaced. If the stringers are unequally spaced, the entire structure will look poorly designed. Once you are comfortable with the positioning of a stringer, it can be secured with a jiffy hanger.

Step 8: Finishing Touches

Once your pergola is complete, admire it from a distance. If you notice any lopsidedness, be sure to correct it immediately. It is a good idea to put a coat of varnish on to the wood to ensure that it is resistant to the elements.

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