After laying pavers to create an outdoor sitting and dining area adjacent to our kitchen sliding door, it quickly became apparent that a shade structure would be necessary in order for our family to fully enjoy our expanded living space. The full-sun area overlooks the yard, swing set and nearby barn, but the midday summer sun’s blazing heat often drives us from this planned place of respite.
To diminish the strength of the sun’s rays and add a touch of rustic elegance to our newly crafted area, we researched ideas and designs for pergolas, aka arbors with open roofs consisting of cross rafters or latticework supported on posts, usually with climbing vines. As DIYers by nature and upbringing, we were determined to design and build a pergola that fit in with the scenery and functioned as well as it looked. With personal touches, such as curved corner supports and cutouts on the cross-board ends, we designed a pergola that can be open to the stars or shaded with a retractable cloth canopy.
- 4 4x4s in 10-foot lengths
- quick-setting concrete
- 5 2x6s in 166½-inch lengths
- 4 2x6s in 39-inch lengths
- 4 2x6s in 32-inch lengths
- 10 2x6s in 154-inch lengths
- 4 2x6s in 14-foot lengths
- 8 7-inch bolts, washers and nuts
- 50 6-inch anchor screws
- 120 3-inch anchor screws
- posthole digger or shovel
- circular/table saw
- drill with wood bit and screw bits
- channel clamp (optional)
- reciprocating saw
Step 1: Dig footers.
Use posthole diggers or a shovel to dig the four holes 2 feet deep.
Step 2: Set corner posts.
|Pour concrete mix in hole, add water and stir, using a stir stick to compact the mixture as you go. Let set until concrete hardens. (Follow the directions for your concrete mix.)|
Step 3: Precut 2×6 boards.
Make 45-degree cuts on each end of the 39-inch and 32-inch boards. Create a decorative curve on the long side of each board using a yardstick as your guide: Start 4 inches from one end and stop 12 inches from the other end, peaking at 1 inch from the outside edge. (Have an extra set of hands for bending and holding the yardstick while you mark the line.)
Step 4: Notch cross boards.
Cut four 1-inch-deep and 2-inch-wide notches in the 154-inch cross boards with a dabo blade on a table saw. Start the first notch 11 inches from the end of the board, making the second notch 4 inches from the first. Repeat at the other end of board.
Multiple passes with the blade will make it easy to knock out the notched sections. Measure and cut the third notch 29 inches from the second notch, and the fourth notch 4 inches from the third. Continue alternating space between notches—29 inches and 4 inches—for the remaining six notches.
Step 5: Install support boards.
Step 6: Attach first row of cross boards.
Secure these boards with counter-sunken bolts, too. Measure 29 inches and secure third board with a 6-inch screw through the top, then another board 4 inches from third. Continue installing posts at 29 inches and 4 inches, ending with the last two boards sandwiched on each side of the opposite posts.
Step 7: Mount top row of cross boards.
Drill 6-inch screws through the top. Install remaining boards 27½ inches from each other, ending with the final board at 11 inches from the opposite side of the pergola.
Step 8: Install corner supports.
Mount the 39-inch boards to the post and inner edge of the outside board of the second layer of runners.
Step 9: Trim posts.
Step 10: Enjoy.