How to Build a Wood Pergola

Pergolas provide some much needed shade from the summer sun. Learn how to build a pergola with these step-by-step instructions.


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Materials and Tools:

lag bolts
4" x 4" pressure-treated posts
2" x 4" pressure-treated boards
2" x 6" pressure-treated boards
2" x 10" pressure-treated boards
galvanized deck screws
circular saw
socket set
post hole digger



1. Select the site for the pergola and mark the placement of the four posts. Use a post-hole digger or two-person auger to dig holes to a depth of 24" and width of 9". Add a few inches of gravel to the bottom of the holes for drainage. Insert 4" x 4" posts in holes. Ensure the posts are level and plumb. Attach temporary 2" x 4" bracing to hold in place. Mix fast-drying cement according to the manufacturer's directions and pour into holes. Let cure for 24 hours.


2. Cut joist beams from 2" x 10" boards to span the pergola posts. To create a decorative look on the end of the joist beams, draw a straight or curved design on the wood and cut along the line with a jigsaw. Temporarily clamp in place while holes are drilled through the beams and posts. Attach the beams to the posts using 3" lag bolts.


3. Cut the stringers from 2" x 6" boards to span and overhang the joist beams. To create a decorative look on the end of the stringers, draw a straight or curved design on the wood and cut along the line with a jigsaw. Evenly space the stringers perpendicular to the beams and toenail in place using 3" galvanized deck screws.

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