Build your own Simple Cedar Pergola. Plans available for download in PDF Format.
See the How to Video.
For this blog post I’d like to go back and revisit a pergola I built a few years ago.
This build was prior to the launch of this YouTube channel but the construction and assembly of this structure is fairly straightforward so I’ll use some animation to show you how it was done.
Build a Pergola
The Sketchup Model
It’s made from rough sawn Western Red Cedar. And it’s located in the sunny, side yard of this residential house. Space was limited but the open design of a pergola lends itself well to this. This ended up being a great place to build a pergola.
Each post sits on a round concrete pier that’s spaced 8′ 6″ inches on center. The overall height of the pergola is also 8 foot 6 with a head clearance of 7′ 3″. The concrete footings are poured below the frostline.
The posts are 6x6 and attached to galvanized saddles.
Four beams are bolted to the posts and run North to South. Ten rafters sit snuggly over these beams. They are grouped in pairs running East to West. Eight corner braces are attached either to a post and a rafter or to a post and a beam.Topping the structure are five louvers. These are also notched so they sit down on the rafters.
To lay out the location of the footings I’ll use batter boards. I pound stakes into the ground and attach ledgers.
I used a laser level to set all the tops of the batter boards on the same level plane.
Mason string weighted with bricks is strung across the boards on 8 foot 6 spacing. The strings are squared to each other by marking a point 3 feet and 4 feet from the intersection with a sharpie. Then adjusting the strings so these marks are 5 feet apart diagonally.
Another way to check for square is to measure diagonally intersection to string intersection and adjust until the distance is equal.
This is the same way I laid out the footings for my Garden Pavilion.
When everything is squared, a plumb bob is suspended at this intersection to mark the center of the hole. The hole is dug and a Sonotube is dropped in. The batter boards and strings are used to set a consistent height for all the tubes. I secured these cardboard tubes with additional stakes holding the tops 3″ above the lawn.
I dug below the frost line and opened up the hole at the bottom to create a wider foot (or base) for the column.
I mixed up a few bags of concrete in my wheelbarrow and filled each form. I set a 6x6 post saddle into the concrete before it set up.
Tools needed to build a pergola
Some simple tools are all that’s needed to build a pergola for this first part. A circular saw, a handsaw, a large speed square, plus layout and marking tools