Build a Pergola For a Deck or Patio

Add shade and style to your backyard with a garden pergola.

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The pergola is anchored with large planters that have been filled with concrete, soil and plants. Billowy curtains help add a tropical flair and more shade.

Materials and Tools:
nineteen 4x4 posts
2x6 posts
large planter pots
3/8”x3” lag screws
concrete chunks (for weighing down the planter pots)
joist hangers
nail gun and 3” nails
drill and 3” screws
cross beams


1. Drill one hole in the center of the bottom of each planter — this is where the lag screw will go to attach to the post. Drill multiple holes around the outer ring of the bottom of the planter to create drainage for the plants.

2. Drill a hole in the center of the bottom of each of the 4x4 posts for the lag screws.

3. Attach the planters to the posts using lag screws. We made eight planter-posts for our pergola.

4. Place the planter-posts in position — we placed ours six feet apart (any further may compromise the sturdiness of the structure). Fill the pots half way with concrete chunks.

5. Cut four of the 2”x6” the length between the posts, plus 8 inches. Cut two pieces of the 2x6 posts so they are as long as the space in between your posts plus 4 inches.

6. Connect three of the pieces together using joist hangers, sandwiching one of the shorter pieces between two longer pieces. Repeat with the second set of three pieces.

7. Connect the joist hangers about every 12 inches to the middle of each 2x6 post.

8. Using multiple hands, raise one set of the three connected posts up and nail them to the top front of the 4x4 posts. Make sure you line up the seams with the middle of the 4x4 posts.

9. Once they are all nailed in, go back and secure them with 3" screws.

10. At this time, add more dirt to the planter pots to weight them down even more.

11. Add another 2x6 beam to the outside edges of the pergola for more stability.

12. Place the additional 4x4 posts in the joist hangers you installed on your 2x6s, attaching them using 3" screws.

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