How to Build a Pergola Arbor

flowers growing through a pergola
  • 8-12 hours
  • Beginner
  • 450-800
What You'll Need
Measuring tape
Carpenter's square
Adjustable spanner
Drill bit
String line

Building a pergola arbor for the garden or patio can be a fun and exciting task to do. Here is some guidance to get you started.

Step 1 - Find the Right Lumber

The lumber you are using for this project will need to be made especially for outdoors so it can stand up to the elements like rain and snow. Be sure it has already been coated and sealed so it is protected. Also, pick the place you want to set up your pergola arbor so you can measure out the right size and cut the lumber before you begin.

Step 2 - Plan It Out

Making a plan before you begin is a great way to get it all done easily without any mistakes. The best way to do this is to lay everything out before you start building to make sure it will fit into the space you want it to and that everything goes together properly.

Step 3 - Cut

pergola with table underneath

Begin with a saw and cut out eight pieces of lumber each two feet long. At the end of each of the stakes, you will want to make sure they are pointy so you can dig into and hammer them into the ground to secure them. You want to make a rectangle of four of the stakes on one end and then about two feet away, you can make another rectangle the same size with the other four pieces you cut. Then cut out the boards and nail them to the edges to make a border around the rectangle.

Step 4 - String, Dig, and Fill

Then from left to right on each rectangle run a string that is taut in the center. Use the strings as guidelines to dig four holes in the center. Make sure they are even from each other and in the shape of a rectangle base. In a wheelbarrow, mix together concrete so it is easy to pour and has a cake batter-like consistency.

Fill each of the holes with the cement and allow it to dry for a little bit and harden slightly. Then place poles into them about eight to 10 feet tall. These are the poles that will support your top. Be sure to check for plumb and level so the pole is even when it dries and hardens.

Step 5 - Cover the Pergola

Once everything has dried, you can wait a few days to cover it. You can usually find covers online or in stores which are canvas or another great material that can withstand the elements. Attach the cover of your choice to the top of the pergola. Typically you can find hooks that can be drilled in to attach the cover to.