How to Build a Pergola

Turn your backyard into an oasis and provide much-needed shade with this stylish outdoor structure.

October 07, 2019
DIY Outdoor Pergola

DIY Outdoor Pergola

Hardscapes 100 DIY Pergola

Photo by: Shain Rievley

Shain Rievley

Supplies Needed

  • (6) 6 x 6 x 10 exterior posts
  • (5) 4 x 6 x 12 treated boards
  • (4) 2 x 6 x 16 treated boards
  • 2 x 4 x 8 boards for support
  • 4 x 4 blocks
  • (24) 3” x 3/8 lag bolts
  • 3/8” socket bit
  • drill
  • (30) 3/8 washers
  • (12) bags of fast-setting concrete
  • wheelbarrow
  • garden hoe
  • (6) 6 x 6 post anchor
  • (6) ½” x 4 ¼” wedge concrete anchors
  • 1/2" masonry drill bit
  • post level
  • (3) 3” exterior decking screws
  • skill saw
  • chisel
  • hammer
  • orbital sander
  • outdoor plant hooks (optional)

Dig Holes for the Posts

For best results, start with a level site that has good drainage and measure out the dimensions to make sure it can accommodate the pergola. Once the site is ready to go, it's time to dig holes for the footers. All footers should be to local codes, which is usually below the frost line. Dig three holes in the first row, eight feet apart. The second row will be set up the same way, 10 feet in front of the first.

DIY Outdoor Pergola: Dig Post Holes

DIY Outdoor Pergola: Dig Post Holes

WTG1300 DIY Privacy Fence

Photo by: Shain Rievley

Shain Rievley

Pour Concrete Footers

Using a wheelbarrow and garden hoe, mix the concrete according to instructions on the bag (Image 1). This method allows you to keep concrete consistency the same for each footer. Next, pour all six footers and allow to fully dry (Images 2 & 3). Rinse the wheelbarrow and hoe immediately after using to keep remnants from permanently setting.

Prepare Posts

Use a skill saw to etch out 6-inch-deep cuts, two inches in at the top of the 6x6 posts (Images 1 & 2). This will allow the 2x6 boards to rest on either side of the posts once upright. Use a hammer and chisel to free the separated pieces (Image 3). Use an orbital sander to create a clean, smooth ledge (Image 4). Next, flip the post and repeat on the opposite side (Image 5).

Attach Posts to Concrete Footers

Drill a hole in the center of each concrete footer with a 1/2-inch masonry bit (Image 1). Secure post anchors to each footer by inserting a concrete anchor in the middle of the anchor mechanism (Image 2). Next, place the posts into the post anchors (Image 3). Use a post level to ensure that they're level, and then secure in place with decking screws and lag bolts on each side (Images 4 & 5).

Add 2x6 Beams

Stabilize the posts by attaching 2x4's to adjacent sides of the post to hold in place for the next step (Image 1). Next, grab a friend to help place the 2x6x16 beams on the notches at the top of the posts (Image 2). Hold in place with screws temporarily, then permanently secure the beams at each post with two lag bolts (Image 3). Repeat with another 2x6 on the opposite side of the post (Image 4). Then, repeat this process on the second row of posts (Image 5).

Build Rafters

Add 4x6x12 rafters by placing them, evenly spaced, on top of the structure — they will have a 12-inch overhang (Image 1). Add 4x4 blocks between support beams to secure the rafters that don’t line up with the posts (Images 2 & 3). Drill three-inch screws in at an angle to secure all rafters into the beams (Image 4). Optionally, add hooks and hangers to dress up your new pergola with plants and lanterns, creating a welcoming outdoor space (Image 5).

Next Up

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.

How to Make Marbled Terra Cotta Pots

Try out this quick and easy technique to make chic, marbled planters — and much more!

Kitschy-Cool: How to Craft a Faux Boxwood Flamingo

Add a tropical twist to your front porch or back patio with this crafty flamingo topiary that needs no maintenance to keep its playful good looks.

How to Make a Wood Photo Transfer

Transfer a wedding photo onto wood to make the perfect anniversary gift.

How to Add a Colorful, Geometric Pattern to a Basic Outdoor Rug

Give a drab gray rug the color treatment with paint samples and tape. With a few colors or a lot of colors, this pattern offers infinite ways to add a punch to your patio.

How to Paint Mod Black and White Dots on a Basic Rug

For the modern patio, take a basic outdoor rug and give it your personal spin with simple painted dots. Choose any colors that complement your other outdoor decor.

How to Get Permanent Marker Off Wood

Learn how to remove unwanted markings from your floors or furniture without damaging the underlying finish.

How to Create a Mixed Media Collage

Sheila Wilson creates a mixed media collage.

How to Make Your Own Picture-Perfect Photo Ledge

Don’t break the bank with a store-bought shelf, DIY a custom photo ledge you’ll be proud to display in your space.

Add a Recessed Planter to an Outdoor Table

Create a spring display of greenery by integrating a planter into a wooden outdoor table.

On TV

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.