By Bland Design
For this project, I wanted to build a pergola from scratch in my garden. It is a great way to transform your patio area without it costing the earth or having to demolish anything. A pergola kit and a lick of paint can honestly work wonders! I’ve broken down what I did in this easy step-by-step guide so that you too can have the garden space you always dreamed of!
What you’ll need:
- Pergola kit
- Drill (with a hammer drill setting)
- Masonry drill bits
- Wood drill bits
- Tape measure
- Spirit Level
- Step ladder
- Wood stain (optional)
- Wood paint (optional)
- Painting tools (optional)
- Some helping hands
Build a pergola from scratch
Step 1: Define your dimensions
Step 2: Assemble your pergola from scratch
Assembling the pergola was actually a pretty quick and easy process following the instructions as the pieces all slot together, an important step to make your life easier is pre-drilling the holes for the screws. This is basically slotting two of the pieces together and using a wood drill bit (slimmer than the screw) to drill a pilot hole, so that the screw can be drilled in more easily and prevent splitting the wood. The first pieces to put together are the four outer legs and the perimeter of the ‘roof’. Luckily, the legs are chunky enough that they stood up on their own, so with two of us we could hold each leg and slot in the roof pieces, although a third person would probably have made it a bit smoother.
Step 3: Level it out
Before fixing the cross beams on top and tightening all of the screws it’s time to get the spirit level out, just to make sure all of the legs straight (check both sides for leaning) and also the top of the frame. At this point I found out that my patio wasn’t level (great) so I used some spare tiles I had in the shed under the front legs to correct it. Once everything was level I went ahead and finished the assembly following the instructions.
Step 4: Anchors away!
Now it’s time to anchor the pergola to the ground, depending on what surface you’ve built it on, you have a few options:
- Wooden decking: you can simply screw it down using the right-angle brackets provided in the kit.
- Soft ground: I’m no expert but concrete footings with a metal fixing plate seems to be the best option.
- Paving/concrete: here you can still screw the legs down, but will also need to drill holes into the paving or concrete for added support. To do so, use the hammer setting on your drill with a masonry drill bit, which is really loud and takes some time, but just take it slowly. Use plugs to securely fasten the screws to the concrete.
Step 5: Paint your pergola
If you want to you can paint the pergola like I did, I didn’t necessarily need to as the wood is already treated. Painting actually took longer than building the pergola itself, as I painted it once it had been assembled. To speed things up, I recommend painting the pieces before assembly while they’re all lying flat.
Step 6: Customise the finishing touches
Style to your hearts content! I got an awesome swing chair from ManoMano, along with an outdoor rug, festoon lights and some metal occasional tables. Then simply sit back and bask in your achievement!