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Monday, May 6, 2013

How to Build a Perfect Pergola

If you assumed that building a pergola was restricted to those unique individuals with incomparable building skills, then think again. The truth is that even the most amateur renovator or DIYer can build a simple pergola. 
Here’s how...

Step 1. Choose your pergola placement

While this might sound pretty basic, the first thing you’ll need to do is choose where your pergola will be built. Depending on the size and location of your pergola, you may need to seek permission from your local council before you start building. Some pergolas require a building permit, so it’s best to check beforehand to avoid any fines. 

From here, you can measure out the length and width of your pergola and purchase the necessary equipment. A good recommendation for wood is F7 rougher headed treated pine. You’ll also need to pick up pre-mixed concrete, framing brackets, joist hangers, a spirit level and a carpenter’s square. It’s a good idea to wear gloves and eye protection as well. 

Step 2.  Mark the area 

Next, you’ll need to set down stakes and builders string line to mark the area. Define the exterior limits and then use builders string line on diagonally opposite corners to check for consistency in length and symmetry. 

Step 3. Set the posts

The next step will a long process, so be prepared for the wait. To begin with, you’ll need to dig four holes where the posts will be sitting. The hole depth should be 300mm and be 200 x 200mm square. 

Before you consider setting the posts, it’d be a good idea to stain or paint your posts, beams and rafters. This will help weather protect your wood and avoid unnecessary damage in the future.

There are a variety of ways you can set the posts into the hole, but a good guide is to use the pre-mixed concrete to fill one hole at a time. Fill the hole completely and then immediately after you can position the post into the cement and use string line to ensure it is the right height and not crooked. You can also attach temporary bracing to ensure the posts don’t slip or move.

You’ll need to wait about a week for the concrete and posts to set completely. Some sources say just 24-hours is needed for the concrete to set, so check with your supplier when you purchase the cement to avoid any unnecessary waiting.

Step 4. Fasten the beams

Once the posts are set, you can begin to attach the beams. The beams are the wooden panels that surround the pergola and attach to the posts. Most often, the beams are bolted to the inside of the posts for a more attractive and clean look.

Step 5. Attach the rafters

Next, it’s time to attach the rafters. Some builders recommend using treated pine in either 140x35mm or 140x45mm. You should place the rafters approximately 900mm apart, taking into consideration how you’re going to cover the pergola later. If you’ve chosen heavy covering, you’ll want to place the rafters closer together so the material doesn’t sag in between the rafters.

Using your spirit level and carpenter’s square, line up each rafter. You can attach the rafters using joist hangers and framing brackets.

Note: If your pergola is situated close to your home you may want to fit it to your home wall. This process should happen before the rafters are attached.

And voila – you have built a simple, yet effective pergola! You can now cover the roof with your choice of material (if any) and even add a pitched roof and ornamental design. 


Australian Outdoor Living is a leading home improvement business in Australia. With years of experience, they specialise in outdoor blinds, pergolas, artificial grass and swimming pools. Follow them on Facebook for latest news and monthly competitions.

19 Smart Readers SAID::

jheylo said...

that's nice, reminds me of the homes in PI where houses normally has this pergola, we call it balcon :D in my language. we can hangout there when the weather is pleasant

Mel Cole said...

that's so beautiful! wish we have one. perfect place to relax at home.

~Ms. Joy mH~ said...

I always find some houses here that own those at their own backyard but I didn't know they were called Pergola. Thanks for sharing some ideas on how to build one. That's a nice thing to know.

MikiHope said...

Somehow I don't think I could accomplish this in my lifetime--even if I did have a house with a backyard!! This does not sound all that easy to me-----I would probably end up cementing everything crooked!! and bolting things together--I could see an emergency room visit in my future!! I admire the fact that you are able to do this!!

Marie Forster said...

I like to relax here feel free stress. We called also balcony in PI. good for relaxing.

Mommy Liz said...

although I can't say that I will have the ability to build something, I am pretty sure that my husband will be able to build me one of those, he's my super handy man, I am just not sure if it will look as pretty as the one on the photo, hahaha!

Corinne Schmitt said...

Our neighbors built a beautiful pergola by themselves and it really didn't take very long. I would like to help someone with theirs before I tackled it on my own though, especially given how expensive the wood is!

Cyndie said...

I want to come hang out with you! This is BEUATIFUL

Kelli Avery said...

I would love to have on in my back yard!

becca said...

gorgeous must show this to hubby

Melinda Dunne said...

I wish I had room for a pergola. I would love to have one at my house.

Tamara @ Mommyland said...

This looks like something even I can do. We want to build something on the side of the house for dinners outside and this will be perfect thank you so much.

Jennifer Williams said...

That makes it sound easy.

nova hedges said...

Nice house, pretty cool tips, you reminded me of my bff who also do all the dyi on their house

Shannon Marie Baker said...

We have a pretty big porch that runs across our front and around half of one side. I just wish we owned it. I would screen it all in one day.

Healy Harpster said...

Thank's for the tips and ideas. Hubby is planning to build one this summer.

April M. said...

that is a beautiful. perfect hang out place for the family.

amiable amy said...

Pergola is nice for lounging and fresh air ... Back home, I have a rooftop :-) I can see the cars entering and exiting our village. It is my favorite place to hang out at night ... seeing all the stars.

Mommy Liz said...

This would be prefect during summer time, when there's a get together.

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A work-at-home-mom (WAHM) with  two  lovely kids and a loving husband.  Passionate in writing about  family, product reviews, and  other related articles.  A Mom, a Wife,  a Blogger/Writer, rolled into one.

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