Jun 11 , 2020

How To Build Your Own Pergola Paradise

Create an escape in your backyard by building this beautiful pergola. The horizontal slats block the sun and harsh wind while keeping the space open enough for you to enjoy a breeze. It’s the perfect spot to enjoy your morning coffee or wind down after work.

The angled rafters nicely complement the ceiling slats and eliminate the need for bracing. This pergola may look big and complex, but only a few details separate it from a traditional pergola. Once the posts are placed, the rest is easy.

Planning and Building Tips

  • We built this pergola in Florida, where building codes are strict about hurricane-proofing. Really strict. We spent more than $3,000 on specialty hardware, engineered drawings and permits. Chances are, your local codes will allow you to skip some of these costly steps. You could downsize the beam to a double 2×8, opt for smaller 4×4 posts and use bolt-down post bases rather than bases that are set in the concrete. Check with your local building inspector.
  • This pergola was part of a project that included a new patio. If you already have a concrete patio, set the posts right on top. Again, check with your local inspector.
  • Only two posts are needed to hold up the beam. You can position the other three for less privacy or more, or eliminate them.
  • This pergola is built from treated lumber and cedar. Cedar drives up the cost substantially. Using treated slats and fascia will save you about $800.
  • The diagonal rafters are supported by 45-degree joist hangers. If your local building code requires hangers, note that you’ll need both left and right versions. If not, skip them and save $400.
  • We nailed the joist hangers to the ledger before installing rafters. This made installing the rafters a major hassle. It would be better to tack the rafters into place and then add the hangers.
  • The house we built the pergola onto had concrete walls. Attaching the ledger board required drilling into the concrete and $80 worth of wedge anchors, as well as extra labor.

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