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Click here to get your free guide to pergola's

This is a great project to carry out at home with instant results achievable over a weekend.

There are many reasons of building a pergola in your garden. In its simplest form it provides a focal point. However it can provide an effective soft screen from the neighbours, additional shelter for a walkway or it can frame a view to another feature with the garden.

The simplest method of construction is often from wood. However they can be make from wrought iron steel, bricks and willow to mention just a few materials. It is possible to purchase pre make ones and erect it your self, but it is often easier to create your own so you can tailor it to the space you have available.

Over the years the GardenAdvice team have developed a method to build such structures easily and quickly.

To start with you need to use treated sawn timber from a builders merchant. It is possible to use fencing post you can buy however it is often best to use this type of timber as it is better treated and will last longer.

The first stage is to make out a rough design on the ground to check that it is going to be large enough to be able to walk through or place a seat inside it. We have found that sand is the best method for marking out, as it is easy to change and remove after you have finished. Normally the pergolas we build have are formed of a goalpost and cross bar type arrangement as seen in the photo. This method of construction allows use to build the pergola side ways on for a seating area or for a walkway enables us to create flowing curves and bends over a path. When building the main posts we normally use 100mm square timber to give the pergola a substantial feel. Because even treated wood will quickly rot in damp soil we always use metal spikes to set the pergola in the ground. This also has the added advantage of making the instillation a lot easier.

Once you have marked the area out and worked out the postholes you can then dig them out and remove the soil. Next we hammer the metal spikes into the ground and set them all to the same level using a straight piece of wood and a spirit level.

With the post positions worked out we then start work on the top of the pergola which is normally made from 50mm X100mm sawn treated timber. Although the top can be placed directly on to the post it is a good idea to cut a slot in the post so that the top forms a solid joint to add stability to the structure

With the posts prepared the next operation is to install the posts and the cross bars this is best carried out with two or three people, the reason for this that it can be tricky to level up the posts and the cross bar with only two people. A tip we have learned is to make the cross bar joints close fitting so that we can adjust the position of the top bar by tapping with a small hammer. Once you are happy with the position of the main sections you can add some concrete around the metal spikes to add additional stability.

Finally you can add the top at this stage you can experiment a little to find out the right look for the structure, with regards to how heavy or solid it looks. Once you are happy the whole pergola is best screwed together as this will help prevent it from twisting in the future.

Tips for building a pergola

The dimensions for the finished pergola should allow for any plant should as wisteria or rose. Most plants on a pergola will extend at least 80mm and on average about 130mm. So when designing your pergola allow an additional 80mm for path widths and 130mm for the height. The ideal clear headroom is about 2.2 to the under side of the cross bar.




 

 

Mark out the area to be chopped

 

Saw along the lines

chip out any extra wood

slot the top piece on and screw together

 

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