Perfect Pergola

Dress up your patio and shade your family gatherings at the same time.

What You Need:

This pergola uses foam-filled aluminum framing.
  • Stud finder
  • Pencil
  • Circular saw or power miter saw (with carbide-tooth blade)
  • 2x4s for temporary braces
  • Tape measure
  • Combination square
  • Level
  • Electric or cordless drill
  • Chalk line
  • Two 4x4s for support posts (A)
  • One 4x8 for header (B)
  • Four 2x6s for post fasciae (C)
  • Six 2x6s for roof rafters (D)
  • Fourteen 2x2s for roof slats (E)
  • Six galvanized joist hangers (or aluminum receiver channel)
  • 3-inch deck or sheet metal screws
  • Two post anchor brackets
  • Masonry fasteners

Note: The pergola shown was built with foam-filled aluminum framing. Though higher in cost, it is lighter and easier to handle, and has a longer life than wood. The finish is powder-coated for easy care. You can use cedar, redwood, or pressure-treated lumber, but apply the finish before final assembly. The lengths of all components will depend on your site.


Estimated project cost: $1,500

1. Download the free pattern for this project (Downloading requires Adobe Acrobat software.)

Pergola pattern

Download Adobe Acrobat

2. Using a stud finder and pencil, locate and mark the location of the wall studs where the pergola will meet the house. Mark the location of the outermost studs on the concrete slab, then position the post anchor brackets in relation to the studs. Attach the brackets to the concrete using masonry fasteners. With a circular saw or miter saw, cut the 4x4 support posts (A) to desired length and install them in the brackets, using 2x4 temporary braces to hold them plumb.

3. Measure the distance between the posts (outside to outside) near the top end and add sufficient length for the 4x8 header (B) to overhang at both ends as shown in the illustration on the materials page. Cut the header to length, and lift it into place on top of the support posts (A).

4. Measure from the bottom of a support post to the top of the header, and cut the post fasciae (C) to length accordingly. Fasten the fascia pieces to the posts and the header with 3-inch deck or sheet metal screws.

5. With a level combination square, and pencil, mark a level line on the side of the house the same height as the top of the header (B). Using the stud locations marked earlier, fasten the joist hangers in place with 3-inch deck or sheet metal screws to the lower edge of each rafter meets the level line.

6. Temporarily install the 2x6 rafters (D) in the hangers and square to the header. Carefully mark the outmost rafters to length, then snap a chalk line between those points to mark the remaining rafters to length. Label or number the rafters, cut them to length, then screw them in place at the hangers and to the header.

7. Cut 2x2 roof slats (E) to length and mount the first one parallel to and 2 1/2 inches from the side of the house with 3-inch screws. Using 2-1/2-inch-wide spacers, install the remaining roof slats parallel to the first one.


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