Looking for a pergola for your garden or patio but can’t get your budget to stretch far enough? This tutorial will take you step by step through how to build a DIY pergola easily and without spending too much. You can even match it to the rest of your garden furniture!

With the arrival of the good weather it’s important to have shade to protect you from too much sun (yes, even in the UK… 🙂 ) . Pergolas, arbors, or gazebos can be ideal, however, it can sometimes be difficult to find the one you want for the price that suits the size and style of your garden or patio.

To get the perfect pergola for your patio, why not make your own DIY pergola and match it to the rest of your outdoor furniture?

Tools and Materials

thehandymano mano mano DIY pergola tools needed

To make a DIY pergola such as the one in this tutorial, you will need the following tools and materials:

Cost, time and difficulty

To make your own wooden pergola for your patio or garden will cost you less than £150, which is a huge saving when compared to the price of a shop-bought one. If you need any of the tools and materials that have been used here, you can find some of them in this sample shopping basket.

However, this DIY project is easier than it looks at first sight, although, it does require a certain level of experience when it comes to carrying out DIY jobs. That’s why we’ve given this project a medium level of difficulty.

In addition, you will need a couple of days work to finish your pergola:

  • The first day is used to prepare the structure and treat the wood.
  • The second day is devoted to assembling the pergola. To do so, you will need to ask a few friends to help out.

You should also keep in mind that this project needs to be done in good weather, otherwise it will take much longer to set up.

thehandymano mano mano DIY pergola finished

How to make a wooden DIY pergola

Building a DIY pergola may seem like a complex project given its size. But, trust us, it’s a lot easier than it looks!

Step 1: Sand the wood

The first step is to sand the wooden posts and crossbeams with an orbital sander. This will produce a much more uniform surface and remove any imperfections. When sanding, it is recommended to sand with the grain (rather than against it).

On a side note, sanding helps to open the pores of the wood and so prepare it for the application of treatments that protect it from different weather conditions.

thehandymano mano mano DIY pergola sand wood

Step 2: Cut the crossbeams at an angle

Next, cut the ends of the crossbeams using the mitre saw or a handsaw and mitre box. In this specific case, the side beams have been cut to achieve a length of 2.2 metres. The rest of the crossbeams will keep their original 2.4m length.

In addition, to bring a rustic touch to the pergola, the edges have been bevelled. To do this, leave a margin of 3cm at the top of the beams and cut the rest at angle of 45º.

thehandymano mano mano DIY pergola cut wood

Step 3: Make the notches to insert the crossbeams

The next step is to make a couple of notches in each crossbeam to slot them onto the pergola’s side beams. The steps are as follows:

  1. Mark the notch in pencil, leaving a margin of 3cm from the top and 15cm from the side. To help, you can use a wooden template with the same width as the crossbeams.
  2. Use the jigsaw to cut the sides of the slot.
  3. With a chisel and hammer, tap on the top part of the notch until the surplus wood falls away.

thehandymano mano mano DIY pergola insert cross beams

Step 4: Treat and colour the wood

Next, you should apply protection and colour to the wood.

When applying the varnish, the following points should be taken into account:

  • You will need a minimum of two coats to allow the product to penetrate the wood fully and adequately protect it.
  • To achieve greater impregnability, it should be applied by brush.
  • You can choose between different colours and shades to match your terrace or deck, as varnish can be decorative as well as protective.

thehandymano mano mano DIY pergola treat and colour wood

Step 5: Attach the bases of the post

Once the varnish is dry, you will have to attach the galvanised post bases to one end of each post. These bases allow you to screw the posts to the floor of your terrace or deck, so that they are properly secured.

All you need to do is cap them on the end of the wooden posts using the rubber mallet, then screw them in with hexagonal-head coach screws.

thehandymano mano mano DIY pergola attach bases

Step 6: Assemble the DIY pergola on your terrace

This final step involves assembling the pergola. This will require the help of several people because, due to its size, the structure is difficult to move. The steps to follow are:

  1. Slot the crossbeams and the sides of the pergola together, leaving the same space between each crossbeam (in our case, 50cm).
  2. Drill the top to make it easier to insert the coach screws and prevent the wood from splitting when screwing in the screws.
  3. Turn the roof of the pergola over and screw the posts to the inner side of each corner.
  4. Turn it over again, with the help of friends or family (in our case we needed 4 people).
  5. Reposition the pergola in its end location and screw the post bases to the floor of your terrace, deck or patio.

thehandymano mano mano DIY pergola assemble

Et voila! You’ve gone and done it! As this is a huge project, we would love to see yoru take on it! Send us photos on social media @manomano.co.uk 😉

thehandymano mano mano DIY pergola finishedthehandymano mano mano DIY pergola finished drinking friends

This article was written by: Bricoydeco and translated. Mari Luz authors the blog ‘Bricoydeco’, she is a DIY fanatic, lover of recycling and customising furniture. Her passion is giving a second chance to turn once forgotten things into unique pieces!

Not ready to put your hammer down, yet? Check out our other DIY projects!

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