How to build a pergola

shutterstock_278317925In addition to being a simple building project a pergola can be an elegant addition to your garden or patio to help you enjoy those lazy summer afternoons. Pergolas are designed to provide shade and filtered sunlight and are ideal for growing climbing plants as the beams and rafters provide a natural support.

What you will need:

  • Gravel
  • Lag bolts
  • 4″ x 4″ pressure-treated posts
  • 2″ x 4″ pressure-treated boards
  • 2″ x 6″ pressure-treated boards
  • 2″ x 9″ pressure-treated boards
  • Galvanized deck screws

First, choose the site for your pergola and mark the placement of the four posts. Using a post-hole digger or auger, dig holes of 24 inches deep and 9 inches in width. Add a few inches of gravel to the bottom of each hole – this will help with drainage.

Next, insert the 4” x 4” posts into the holes, making sure they are level and plumb. Hold them in place using temporary 2” x 4” bracing. Mix fast-drying cement, according to the manufacturer’s instructions and pour into the holes before letting it set for 24 hours.

While the cement is setting, cut joist beams from 2” x 9”  boards to span the pergola posts. If you want to create a decorative look on the end of the joist beams, draw a design on to the wood and cut along it with a jigsaw. With the boards clamped in place, drill holes through the beams and posts and secure using 3” lag bolts.

Next, cut the stringers from 2” x 6” boards to span and overhang the joist beams. As with the joist beams, to add decoration cut in a design with a jigsaw. Evenly space the stringers perpendicular to the beams and secure using 3” galvanised deck screws.

 Finally, plant and train a climbing plant such as Honeysuckle or Clematis around the pergola to create a floral, shady garden feature.


Timber and Building Merchants

George Hill is a leading independent timber merchant and building supplies provider in the North West, with branches in Oldham, Manchester, Bolton and Blackburn. Founded in 1919 we’re family run, and have been for 98 years.

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