In an effort to maximize space home owners are venturing outdoors and creating additional living areas in their backyards. A pergola is a simple way to define additional living space and create a point of interest.
Traditionally, pergolas were square or rectangular garden features constructed of wood beams and used to guard grapevines from the sweltering sun. Today, they are still the same shape and construction, but provide an extra living area that can be used for outdoor entertaining.
Building a basic pergola is simple and there are several kits and plans available. However, based on your level of experience, you can modify and customize a pergola to fit your personal style and needs. To get started, follow these easy steps on how to build a pergola for your backyard.
- Define your space. Pergolas can be mounted to a concrete slab or supported by sinking the supporting timbers into the ground. Measure the area to determine the length you will need for the cross timbers. When selecting the area, make sure the area is level to avoid an uneven look.
- Select your wood. Cedar is the best choice due to its ability to withstand the elements. Based on your personal style you can let it age naturally or stain and seal it to maintain the desired look.
- Construct your basic structure. Either mount or sink your framing posts. 4×4’s work well, but you can also use larger size posts or stylized columns. Around the top create a frame that boxes in the top of the posts. Next, evenly space and secure 2×4’s across the top of the box frame. Make sure they sit with the narrow edge facing up. To create additional appeal you can cut the ends of the timbers into a curved or angled pattern.
- Pergolas are traditionally completely open, but once your pergola is complete you can add trellises, climbing vines, or screens to help protect you from the elements. Another option is to fasten plexi glass to the top of the pergola before you attach the cross timbers. This will allow light to come in, but protect you from the elements.
Now that you know the basics on how to build a pergola for your backyard you can create an additional living space you will enjoy for years to come.