Being able to build your own pergola saves you money. It is also a great way to add elegance and comfort.
Before you build your own pergola, check with your local zoning department to determine if you need any permits before you start**
To build your own pergola, you need to set the posts:
4" x 4" posts are suitable for a 12' or small pergola
Using a post-hole digger to dig a hole 2 feet deep and 9" wide and place the posts in hole, making sure they are level and set a plumb line on both sides of post. If there not level, the pergola will be slanted.
Attach a 2" x 4" that is angled from each pergola post to ground to ensure they hold as you pour the cement. Pour fast drying cement into each hole and let it set for at least 24 hours. Make sure you follow the directions exactly as you mix it. Take your time and wear appropriate safety tools.
Even though you can build your own pergola, this part may require 2 people:-)
Use 4 2" x 10" boards to connect the posts together. Each post will have two boards secured to it. Using a leveler, make sure they are even and level.
Then, apply clamps to secure each board to post. Attach beams to post using 3" galvanized lag bolts
The last step is attaching the rafters or stringers. If you want them thicker, use 2" x 8" or use the standard 2" x 6".
Make sure all boards will hang at least a foot or so beyond the beams. Install them, keeping the same amount of space between each. Aim between 15" to 24" inches apart. Attach to beam with 3" galvanized deck screws.
Congratulations, you did it! Now, invite some people over and throw a party and tell them you built your own pergola! It is sure to impress anyone. Be careful though, they may want to hire you!