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How To Build A Pergola On Your Backyard Patio

Creating themes to build your garden around can add excitement and grandeur to your backyard. A popular theme to use in backyards is an Italian Renaissance-type garden. A traditional part of an Italian Renaissance garden is having a pergola to sit under to enjoy coffee in the morning and wine at night. Here is how you can build a pergola on your backyard patio.

You Will Need:

  • Hammer Drill
  • Jigsaw
  • Circular Saw
  • Table Saw
  • Saw Horses
  • Measuring Tape
  • Pencil
  • File
  • Concrete Screws
  • Steel Post-Base Anchors
  • 2x10x10 Lengths of Wood
  • 4x4 Wood Posts
  • Level
  • Wood Clamps

Install Posts

You need to install post supports on the patio pad to stabilize the foundation of the pergola. You can use steel post-base anchors. The anchors are screwed into the concrete or brick patio pad.

Mark on the pad where you want to posts to go. For example, if you want to build an eight square foot pergola, you'll want to place the anchors eight feet away from each other in a square pattern on the pad.

Drill a hole in the pad where the concrete screws will be placed. Place the steel post-base anchors so the holes of the anchor line up with the holes you drilled into the pad. Sink concrete screws through each hole in the anchor and pad.

Place the bottom part of each post into an anchor, and nail the sides of the anchor to the post.

Adding Beams

You want to start with the support beams. Measure the spot where you want to put the beam on the posts and mark the spot with a pencil. Have someone help you lift the beam and secure it in position with a wood clamp. Use heavy-duty wood screws to secure each end of the beam into the posts. 

Place another support beam on the inside of the post. Use a level to make sure the inside beam is level with the outside beam. You can round the ends of the beams for architectural purposes by using a jigsaw.

Repeat this process on the opposite side of the pergola.

Adding Crossbeams

You want to cut grooves at the end of the crossbeams so the ends will slide over the support beams. This is easy to do if you have a table saw, but you can cut the groove with a circular saw if you don't have a table saw.

If you are using a circular saw, place the crossbeam into a sawhorse with a clamp and face the narrow edge of the crossbeam facing up. Mark where you want to cut the slots. Set your circular saw to the depth you want the blade to cut, and make several slices in the space you've marked with your pencil. Use your hammer to chip out the cut sections and smooth the groove down with a file until all slots are at an equal depth.

Place the crossbeams on top of the support beams, slide them down into place, and secure them into position with wood screws.

Install Top Bracing

Cut a couple of pieces of 2x10 about two feet long – make sure each end is angled so it will sit flush against the post and support beams. Screw the bracing in place with wood screws.

Add Slats

Curve the end of the slats for decorative purposes with your jigsaw. Place marks on the top of the crossbeams and support beams with your pencil where you want to install the slats. The slats are typically narrower pieces of wood than the 2x10s you used for the beams and crossbeams (2x6s fit in nicely with the 2x10s).

Cut slots in the slats where they will slide over the support beams and cross beams – make sure each slot is at the same depth to keep the slat level once it is installed.

Slide the slats over the beams and screw them in place.

To finish the job, you should either stain or waterproof the wood to protect it against the elements.

For more information, contact a company like Rocky Mountain Fence & Deck.