An attractive pergola is often attached to a house to provide decorative shade over a patio or deck area. While you can hire a contractor to build a pergola as an attachment to your house, you can save time and money by building the pergola on your own.
Purchase Your Materials
The first step of a build project is to get the supplies and materials together for your project. The materials and supplies needed to attach a pergola to your home include:
- Sand and gravel mixture
- 2×4 wood slats
- 2×2 support splats for the crossbeams
- 2×4 shade slats
- 2×8 ledger
- 2×10 support beams
- 4×4 or 6×6 posts measuring about eight to nine feet long
- Vinyl flushing
- Adjustable post anchors
- Tube forms
- Nails and screws with lengths of three, four and six inches
- Corner brackets
The best type of wood to use for this type of project is cedar, redwood or another type of hardy wood that will resist insect damage and weather damage.
Create a Perimeter
Before you can get started with the actual building process, you have to define the dimensions and size of your pergola. This is best done by using 2×4 wood slats as batter boards. These can be in laid in the corners of your dimensions, and string can be tied to them to create right angles. It can take time and effort to create perfect right angles. Because it is important that these angles are precise, you should not rush through this step. To double check your work, check to ensure the diagonal dimensions of your pergola perimeter are equal.
Anchor Your Post
Posts are typically placed at each outer corner of the pergola’s perimeter. At each corner, dig a three foot deep hold that is approximately 15 inches in diameter. Cover the bottom four inches of the holes with a gravel and sand mixture. Install tube forms into these holes, and use a spirit level to ensure they are horizontal. The tube forms should be filled with concrete, and they should be fitted with adjustable post anchors. Allow the concrete to set for approximately 48 hours. After the concrete is set, finish this step by plumbing the posts and locking them with braces and three inch screws.
Construct the Ledger
Plumb a ledger measuring 2×8 to the frame of the house using bolts as needed to secure it firmly. Care should be taken to ensure the top of the ledger is the same height as the top of the posts if a a flat top pergola is desired. If an inclined roof is desired, the ledger should be placed slightly elevated over the height of the posts. Then, attach 2×8 ledgers outward from the house at a 90 degree angle using corner brackets to the posts. To finish the construction of the ledger, add vinyl flushing to serve as a water drainage feature over the ledger.
Attach the Support Beams
Attach the support beams to the post using a level to ensure the beams are fully horizontal. Use C-clams and screws to secure the beams once they are level. Ensuring that the beams are secure is vital, as the beams will serve as the support for your pergola’s shade slats. A decorative cut can be made on the support beams with a jigsaw to create a more stylish look to your pergola.
Attach Crossbeams and Shade Slats
The best look with a pergola is to place the shade elements approximately every 15 inches across the support beam. However, this can be adjusted according to the amount of light or shade you want under your pergola. The cross beams should be placed between the vertical beams and anchored by screws. Then, you can place your 2×6 slats onto the shade elements and secure them with screws. These can be anchored by plumbing the crossbeams or by toenailing the beams to create a more decorative look. The ends of the support beams and shade slats may be sanded and puttied where needed, and the entire structure may be stained to give it a finished look.