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How to Build a Freestanding Pergola

Get tips on how to build a freestanding pergola in your backyard. This project is a great way to add some shade and create an outdoor living space.

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A pergola is a garden feature forming a shaded walkway, passageway, or sitting area of vertical posts or pillars that usually support cross-beams and a sturdy open lattice, often upon which woody vines are trained. The origin of the word is the Latin word pergula, referring to a projecting eave.

As a type of gazebo, it may also be an extension of a building or serve as an independent structure in a garden. They are different from arbors in that they are more like small huts and usually have four sides supported by columns. Arbors are more arched and often have only three sides with one side open for entry.

freestanding pergola kits

Building a pergola can be a simple to challenging building project depending on what plan you pick so make sure you know your skill level before starting. All the pergola plans below called for different skill levels. Some are easy and basic while others require advanced carpentry skills. Review all the plans carefully before beginning your project so you know which plan is right for your skill level and materials costs.


To build a freestanding pergola, you’ll need the following materials:

-4x4x8 pressure-treated posts
-2x6x12 pressure-treated lumber
-1/2″ x 6″ x 6′ cedar boards
-1×4 cedar boards
-1/2″ Lag bolts and washers
-3″ deck screws
-Construction adhesive


Building a pergola can be a simple to challenging task depending on the design you choose. For this project you will need the following tools:
-Tape Measure
-Post Hole Digger
-Concrete Mix
-Water Hose
-(2) 6x6x10 Treated Posts
-(4) 4x4x8 Treated Posts
-(6) 2x4x8 Treated Boards
-(1) 2x6x8 Treated Board
-(12) 1/2” x 6” x 8’ Cedar Boards
Trim Boards (optional)


If you’re looking to add some shade to your yard or outdoor living space, a pergola is a great way to do it! A pergola is a free-standing structure that provides shade and can be used in a variety of ways in your outdoor space. You can use it as a covered patio, build it around a pool, use it as an outdoor kitchen, or build it as a garden feature. No matter how you use it, a pergola is a great addition to any yard.

Building a pergola can be a big project, but if you’re up for the challenge, it’s definitely doable! This guide will walk you through the steps of building a freestanding pergola so you can add some shade and style to your outdoor space.

1. Choose your location. When choosing a location for your pergola, make sure to pick a spot that gets plenty of sun and has good drainage. You’ll also want to make sure there are no overhead power lines or tree branches that could get in the way of your structure.

2. Mark out the area. Once you’ve chosen the perfect spot for your pergola, use string and stakes to mark out the area where your pergola will go. This will help you get an accurate sense of the size and scope of your project.

3. Choose your materials. When it comes to materials, you have several options for your pergola. You can use pressure-treated lumber, cedar, redwood, aluminum, or steel. If you’re looking for an easy-to-maintain option, aluminum or steel are good choices since they won’t rot or crack like wood can over time.

4. Build the foundation. The foundation of your pergola needs to be extremely sturdy since it will be holding up the weight of the structure and whatever else you put on top of it (e.g., seating, plants, etc.). We recommend using poured concrete footings with 4×4 post bases for extra stability.

5.’Build the posts.’Once the foundation is set, it’s time to start building the posts that will support your pergola’s roof’. For freestanding structures’6×6 posts are typically used’while 4×4 posts are sufficient for attached structures’. If using wood’be sure to treatment before installing them in order to protect them from weathering and pests’. setting them in concrete is also recommended for added stability’. Aluminum and steel posts can be either bolted into place or set in concrete depending on your preference’.

6.’Install the rafters.’The next step is to install the rafters that will support your pergola’s roof’. For wood structures’2×8 rafters are commonly used’. If using steel or aluminum’I-beams or other structural support beams can be used instead’. Once again’if using wood’be sure to treatment before installing them’. It’s also important to make sure all rafters are level before moving on to the next step’.

7.’Add crossbeams.’Crossbeams help provide additional support for your pergola’s roof and can also serve as decorative features’. For wood structures’2x4s or 2x6s are typically used for span across shorter distances while 4x4s can be used for spans up 8 feet or more”. Aluminum and steel beams can also be used depending on what look you’re going for”. Once all crossbeams are installed’you’re ready to add roofing material”. 8.”Install roofing material.’The type of roofing material you choose will depend on several factors such as local weather conditions”. climate ‘. what look you want”. Asphalt shingles ‘. metal panels ‘. thatched reed ‘. nylon nylon netting ‘. Mylar film ‘. tempered glass ‘. polycarbonate panels are all popular choices’.”””. 9.”Finish up.’Once all rafters are in place and roofing material has been installed”. It’s time secure any loose ends by adding trim pieces around edges”and attaching any decorative features such as plant hangers”or lighting fixtures”.


After you have cut all of your lumber to size, it is time to assemble your pergola. Begin by nailing the four corner posts into place. Make sure that the posts are level with each other and plumb before moving on.

Once the corner posts are in place, cut the beams to length and attach them between the posts using large bolts or nails. Be sure that the beams are level with each other and perpendicular to the posts before attaching them.

Next, attach the rafters to the beams. Cut the rafters to length and then nail or bolt them into place, making sure that they are level with each other.

Finally, add any trim or braces that you desire to give your pergola a finished look. Once everything is in place, sit back and enjoy your new outdoor space!

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