This step by step article is about diy pergola plans. We show you how to make a pergola in your backyard, as to increase the value of your property and to create a nice area for leisure. If you like to spend your time in your backyard, or you just want to improve the look of your backyard, this simple project is the perfect choice. Just follow our instructions, choose the material with great care and measure twice before making the cuts, if you want to obtain a professional result.
There are cases in which the constructions requires several building permits, therefore we recommend you to visit your local building department, to get all the needed information about your project. Afterwards, keeping in mind the most important legal considerations, you should choose the right plans for your needs, tastes and budget. Next, buy the lumber from your diy store, making sure it’s designed for outdoor use (cedar, redwood or pressure-treated) and in perfect condition.
In order to build a patio pergola, you need the following:
- 4×4 or 6x6ong wooden posts - 8-9′ long (4 pieces)
- tube forms
- cement, sand, gravel
- adjustable post anchors (4 pieces)
- 2×6 support beams (12 – 12 1/2′ long)
- 2×6 shade elements (12 – 12 1/2′ long)
- 2×4 slats (130” long)
- 7” carriage screws – to secure the support beams
- 6” wood screws – to fasten the crossbeams
- 3” wood screws – to fasten the slats
- posthole digger
- power mixer
- circular saw, jigsaw
- drill machinery, wood drill bits
- hammer, spirit level, carpentry pencil, tape measure
- safety gloves, glasses
- lay out the pergola with batter boards and string
- plumb the posts with braces, before setting them into the anchors
- drill pilot holes in the wooden elements, before inserting the screws
- one weekends, two workers
Diy Pergola plans
The first step of this project is about laying out the pergola on the selected location. Therefore, we recommend you to place eight batter boards (made from 2x4s), as in the image and use string to outline the contour of your pergola.
Smart tip: Measure the diagonals of the rectangle, to ensure the corners are right angled and adjust the string if necessary. In addition, you could use the 3-4-5 rule for every corner.
After you have set out the diy pergola, you should build the concrete footings. That is why, you should dig four holes 15” in diameter (3′ deep – at least 6” under the frost line). Next, you have pour a 4” layer of gravel and compact it thoroughly.
Install tube forms in the holes, making sure they are perfectly level one with another (use a straight edge and a spirit level). Mix a small quantity of concrete and fill the forms.
Don’ forget to install the adjustable post anchors in concrete, before it dries out. Leave the concrete to dry out at least 48 hours, before installing the wooden posts.
Build the posts from 4×4 or 6×6 lumber, plumb them with a spirit level and lock them into place with two braces. Afterwards, insert several lag bolts through the anchors into the posts. Last but not least, remove the braces and install the beams.
On the other hand, if you don’t want to use metal anchors, you could secure them directly in the concrete. In this manner, the posts would be rigid, but they could rot due to the increased moisture in the ground.
Smart tip: Square off the bottom of the posts before setting them in the anchors, in order to seat properly. Moreover, using adjustable anchors would ease the alignment process.
After you have installed the four posts into position, you should build the support beams and secure them into place. Therefore, we recommend you to use 2×6 or 2×8 lumber to build the support beams, according to your needs and tastes.
As you can see in the image, these components should overhang about 10-15” on both sides of the pergola. Use a spirit level to align them properly, before inserting the carriage bolts.
In order to secure the support beams into place, you have to align and lock them into position with several C-clamps. Next, drill several pilot holes through the beams and trough the post. Next, drive in the carriage bolts and tighten the nuts.
Smart tip: If you want to obtain an unique pergola design, you should cut the ends of the beams in a decorative manner. Use a jigsaw to cut out a circular shape.
How to make a pergola
Continue your project by installing the crossbeams. Therefore, build them from 2×6 lumber, in the same manner described above. Select the wood carefully, making sure the beams are perfectly straight and in perfect condition.
The distance between the crossbeams influences the amount of light that gets trough your pergola. In our case, the shade elements are placed every 12”, but you should adjust them.
In order to secure the shade elements into position, you should cut 2 notches at both ends, as in the image. After you have built the crossbeams, you should drill two pilot holes, just trough the notches.
Next, you have to insert several 6” screws trough the pilot holes in the support beams, at both ends. Make sure you align the shade elements perfectly, before inserting the screws, otherwise your pergola won’t have a neat look.
Building the shade elements is a straight-forward process, if you use the right diy plans for the job. Just select the lumber with great care, measure the beams with great attention and good judgement, if you want to obtain a professional result at a reasonable price.
Smart tip: Mark the notches on the beam and make multiple cuts with a circular saw. Afterwards, clean the recess with a chiesel.
After you have placed the crossbeams in a professional manner, you should get the job done by installing the 2×4 slats. The slats have a dual purpose; on one hand they add a dramatic look to your pergola, while on the other hand they keep the crossbeams equally spaced and increase the rigidity of the structure.
Drill pilot holes through the 2×4 slats and lock them into position with 3” screws. Place the slats every 2-3′, or adjust the distance according to your needs.
As you can see in the image, installing the 2×4 slats is an easy procedure, if you follow our step by step instructions. Just cut out the notches in the slats and install them into position with several screws, at both ends.
Use a tape measure to place the wooden slats equally spaced. This aspect is essential, otherwise the patio pergola won’t have a neat and symmetrical look.
After you have assembled all the components together, you should sand them with medium grit sandpaper and apply several coats of varnish, to protect the pergola against wood decay and water damage.
Smart tip: Fill the gaps and cracks in the components with wood putty, before sanding the surface. Place a nice table with several chairs under the pergola and enjoy your new garden project with your family and friends.
Thank you for reading our article about how to make a pergola diy plans, and we recommend you to check out the rest of our projects. Don’t forget to share our projects with your friends, by using the social media widget.