A pergola is an open structure made with wooden posts and the roof made of trussed beams. A pergola is a simple outdoor garden that forms a shaded walkway or relaxing spot supported with wooden pillars. This guide will show you how to build an outdoor pergola.

A pergola outside your home can give it a really great appeal. Your potted plants can stay beneath it. You can add some creativity to your backyard that will look welcoming and attractive to you and your guests at all times.

Pergolas are basically made with vertical beams and roof beams. Building a pergola is rather simple. Prepare the space in your yard and give it very strong foundation posts, after which you add the roof. Let’s follow the steps to see how pergolas are made.

Step One: Measure out Your Space

You may need to inform your local building authority to get permission and make the construction. Sometimes, just informing them will do but if you are in a town where you need to get a permit, be sure to do so.

Get a utility company to help with the digging. Trying to dig the holes yourself may cause damage to pipes or power lines underground. Find out if there are wires that run underground before the digging commences.

Next, take out the measurement of your pergola. Measure 8 feet by 8 feet and mark each corner of the square with spray paint or chalk. Your measurement may be larger or smaller, but you will need to adjust the sizes of your poles to fit with your measurement.

After that, you dig a hole at each measured corner. Make each hole about 8 inches deep, so your posts can be well held in place. Make sure that all the holes have the same depth. If your pergola will be on your courtyard, then you should fix metal post anchors instead of making holes in the ground.

Then you put a little amount of gravel in the holes, so the poles will have something to rest on. Having them directly on the ground can cause the wood to be affected over a long time by termites or wetness in the ground.

Make sure that all the holes have a similar quantity of gravel, so the poles can all be at the same level.

Step Two: Setting Your Foundation

Your posts should be about 10 feet long and 8 inches thick. Pressure-treated pine is one popular option you can choose for your posts. You will also find pines economical and affordable. Place the first post in one of the holes and make sure that it is well set and rests flat on the gravel. Make sure that it is firmly held to the ground.

Placing a level vertically against the post will help you know if the post is a slant to an angle, so you can readjust it. The bubble in your level should be in the middle. If the bubble tilts more to one side, then your post will need some readjusting.

You can use smaller boards to wedge or brace your post to the ground. Use nails to hold the brace in place. With the brace, you can be sure that your post is well held in place.

With your first post firmly set in place, you can move on to set up the other posts. Follow each of the steps used in setting up the first post to set up the others too. Once you are through with setting them up, each post will be vertically aligned to the other posts. The posts in place will form the foundation for your pergola.

To hold your posts firmly in place, get some cement into a wheelbarrow or bucket, and add some water to it. Stir it to get it well mixed and give a thick mixture, then you pour into each hole of your posts to close it up.

Pour it in until it is close to the brim of the hole. If you fill the hole completely, it may overflow and make the set up look messy. Stirring it with a stick will help you remove the air bubbles and also aerate it. You should let it hold for at least 24 hours to get a firm foundation for the posts of your pergola.

With your posts firmly held in place, you can now remove the braces from them. Once the concrete is well dried, it should be very difficult to shake the posts.

Step Three: Setting the Roof of Your Pergola

Mark 2 feet downwards from the top of your post and mark an “X” on the side that points towards the next post and then another “X” on the opposite side of the posts. Make the markings on the same sides of all the four posts.

Run nails into the points where you made the marks. Use four inches nails and hammer them only halfway into the posts. The nails are to hold the cross beams that will run horizontally across the pergola. Drive the nails only halfway into all the marked points of the posts.

The size of your beams should be 2 by 10 feet. Place the beams on top of the nails and make sure that they are all at the same level. Each post will have two beams that are on the opposite side of it. Nail the beams or screw them firmly into place. You can then remove the nails that you placed in the marked points.

Next, you set the rafters on the cross beams. The rafters and the cross beams should be of the same size. The rafters should be arranged to be perpendicular to the cross beams.

Each rafter should have a space of one foot from the next. You will need at least eight rafters. You can use more rafters if you want them closer together. Fix a nail firmly into each end of every rafter and let the nail driven into the cross beams.

Lastly, you get about 8 slats which you will fix on top of the rafters. The slats may just be 1 by 2 inches wood and should be eight feet long which is the same length as the rafters. Now, your pergola is finished.


Constructing a pergola is a great idea because it will make your structure more attractive. It does not take much to build as it is made of wooden posts and rafters. Following the instructions above will help you construct a strong and attractive pergola.

I hope, you enjoy reading these articles and if you have any questions and/or something you can share about these articles, please leave your comments below and I’ll be happy to get back to you. Thank you so much.

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