How to Build a Pergola

How to Build a Pergola

You don’t really need a lot of experience to start building a pergola. Armed with the right tools, you can create a pergola and make your home more visually appealing.

Required Tools and Materials

Table saw with dado blades
Electric drill
3 inch heavy duty stainless steel wood screws
Carpenter’s level
Circular saw
2×4 lumber
2×6 lumber
4×4 lumber
Ready mix concrete

Step 1

Mark the areas where the support posts will be. Make a hole 12 inches in diameter and 18 inches deep. Put the gravel in the bottom. Compact it.

Step 2

Cut the 4x4s to a length of 18 inches. Put the post in the hole. Pour concrete in the hole. Ensure the post is plumb. Apply some braces to it. Do the same for the other support posts. Give it 24 hours to dry.

Step 3

For the pergola beams, cut four 2x6s to the required height. You can make decorative patterns using the jigsaw. Fasten the first beam using 3 screws on the support post. They should be six inches on the posts’ tops. Secure another 2×6 on the other side. Add two more posts.

Step 4

Slice the 2×6 crossbeams to the right length. These have to be opposite the beams’ orientation but with six inches on the ends. Make ornamental designs on the crossbeams’ ends. Use the dado blades to create a double notches. Make sure it can be set over the beams. Screw these on to continue building a pergola.

Step 5

Cut the 2×6 lumber to make the braces for the beam and support posts. Make 45 degree miter cuts on the end. Put the 2×6 brace in-between the beams. Set this on the support post. Secure the screws. Repeat this for the crossbeam sides.

Step 6

Make the pergola slats with the 2×4 wood. The length should be equal the 2×6 beams. Add the decorative marks on the end. Add the notches on the slats. Drill some openings at the slats. Secure these with screws on the crossbeams.

Step 7

The pergola is almost finished. You can stain or paint the pergola. Let the pergola dry.


If you want some sunshine, set the pergola slats so they run south and north at 45 degrees. It will also provide shade in the afternoon.

Before you start building a pergola, make sure that the weather is good. This will make the building process easier. You must wear a face mask when painting so the smell doesn’t get to you.