This article is ideal for do-it-yourselfers who want to learn how to build a pergola and attach it to their home. The project is a complex one, but handy homeowners can rely on the following guide for detailed steps. Outdoor rooms are a great way to enjoy your property during warm weather, and pergolas can be customized to your yard and your family’s needs. There are a wide range of different designs, but this tutorial covers the basics so that you can apply them on your project.

Laying Out The Pergola
One of the most crucial elements is accurately laying out the pergola. The carpenter’s old saying, “Measure twice—cut once,” is a good thing to keep in mind. Having a friend makes the project easier because one person can hold the lumber while it is fastened. In addition, taking accurate measurements usually requires two people.

Material Choices
Attached pergolas are ideal because they are incredibly affordable, improve the value of your home, and last for years with minimal maintenance. The material that is used has a big impact on the cost and durability of a project, and lumber should be rated for exterior use. Pressure treated lumber is one of the most affordable choices and is made from regular wood that has been specially treated to resist decay and insect damage. Some types of wood are known for their natural rot resistance, and cedar, teak, mahogany and redwood are ideal for your pergola. Because these materials cost a little more than pressure treated lumber, it is up to you and your budget to decide which product to use. Checking lumber for quality is essential because some boards are naturally crooked. Ideally, lumber should be inspected at the hardware store. Sighting down the length of a board allows you to pick the straightest wood.

Pergola Material List
-Eight 9-feet-long posts: 4×4 or 6×6
-3-inch, 4-inch and 6-inch-long galvanized wood screws or nails
-Cement tube forms
-Post anchors
-2×10 joists
-2×8 ledgers
-2×2 slats
-2×4 or 2×6 rafters
-Cement, gravel and sand

Customizing Your Pergola
Choosing the design is the first step, and the length and width are two of the most crucial dimensions. After you decide the finished size of your pergola, the layout can begin. At each corner, a batter board is used to mark where the posts go. A 4×4 or 6×6 post supports each of the four corners, and longer spans should have a post in the middle as well.

Setting The Corner Posts
Once you have laid out the rough outline, the posts should be set. Digging the post holes 3-feet deep and 15-inches in diameter ensures that there is plenty of support and helps your pergola last for years. In the bottom of the hole, a few inches of gravel provides a firm footing, and the hole should be filled with cement tube forms and filled with cement. Allow 48 hours for the cement to cure, and brace the posts.

Building The Frame
After the cement has cured, the 2×8 ledger boards are fastened to the posts with bolts. Where the ledger attaches to the home, installing cap flashing prevents water damage. Setting the ledger board against the home is an ideal starting point, and leveling the 2×8 is essential. After the ledger board is attached to the home, the other sides can be framed in at the same height and attached to the 4×4 or 6×6 posts. Between the four sides of your pergola, you can install joists or shade boards. The spacing on your boards is up to you and allows you to create a shady or sunny outdoor room. For the best appearance, the shade boards should be installed at regular intervals.

After your pergola is finished, gaps in the wood should be filled with putty, and the lumber is protected with a quality stain.