D.I.Guy: Pergola

This post is long overdue but apparently building Pergola was easier than uploading a video to a blog. So, in the first of what I plan to be a series of simple do-it-yourself projects, watch me build a backyard Pergola in just about 2 minutes (through the magic of time-lapse video). If I can do it, anyone can (and that’s the whole point of D.I.Guy).

(The plywood cutting in the middle was for something else –┬ápart of a future project post).

The finished product:


Looking to build your own? I started with some inspiration from the interwebs, Popular Mechanics has some good plans for instance but I simplified them more to my skill level. The footprint (post to post) of our pergola was 8′ X 10′ with 1′ “overhangs” on each side.

Material list:
I used Pressure treated pine (cheaper than Cedar but doesn’t smell as good)

  • Four 4X4X8’s
  • Four 2X8X12’s
  • Thirteen 2X6X10’s
  • Six 1X4X12’s
  • Eight 1/2″ x 8″ long galvanized bolts w/ washers and nuts (to hold the cross member/post sandwich across the long ends)
  • Box of coated deck screws
  • Bricks/Landscape Blocks (Optional. For around the posts – I used them instead of screwing the posts down into the patio.)
  • Beer (for hydration and reducing frustration)
  • Exposed crack (sorry for that view)

Tool List:

  • Miter Saw (for the angles on the ends of the cross beams, I made mine straight because I like it straight and because it was easier).
  • Reciprocating Saw (or circular saw) for cutting the notches the upper cross beams sit in. This was the worst part, I sawed a bunch of little straight cuts down to a marked depth and then chiseled them out into a notch. It worked but it wasn’t that great. And all the depths ended up being different because the wood wasn’t perfectly straight. So basically, go elsewhere for advice on this part.
  • Drill
  • Sander
  • Buddy (to hold up one of the assembled long ends while you screw the cross members in so the thing stands on its own)
  • Home Depot Truck to haul it all home. (This is some long-a$$ lumber and it sticks out the end of the truck. Note, things will bounce out if the roads in your city are sufficiently crappy – I speak from experience.)

The rest, you’ll figure out or find online, it’s more satisfying that way.

I plan to do this all over again at the new house we’re building – so if you have any ideas for a bigger better Pergola 2.0, send them my way. (I’m thinking a roof and a ceiling fan.)