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.
DIY-2393091_dseq113_3_final11

DIY-2393091_dseq113_3_final11

Materials and Tools:

gravel
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
level
shovel
wheelbarrow
socket set
screwdriver
drill
hammer
spade
post hole digger
ladder
jigsaw

DIY-2393095_dseq113_3_posts01

DIY-2393095_dseq113_3_posts01

Steps:

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.

DIY-2393087_dseq113_3_carriagebolt04

DIY-2393087_dseq113_3_carriagebolt04

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.

DIY-2393094_dseq113_3_overhang06

DIY-2393094_dseq113_3_overhang06

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.

Design Tips for Beautiful Pergolas

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Pergola With Natural Charm 01:21

Watch a pergola being built with a tree growing right through the center.
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