There are few things as tasteful as a pergola in a homeowner’s backyard- while they provide benefits of offering shade and shelter, they also are an attractive addition to any property. Nothing says eloquence quite like a nicely built pergola guiding you to a gazebo, covering your patio or protecting the plants in your garden.

If you aren’t exactly familiar with what a pergola is, you probably have seen one before. Most people just aren’t able to match one to its name.

The name of this feature derives from the Latin word pergula, which is a direct translation to English meaning ‘projecting eave’.

A pergola is a feature typically seen in outdoor gardens or backyards, acting as a walkway or a sort of roof. The structure is essentially crossbeams being held up by normal beams. It is not uncommon for these cross-beams to have vines weaving in and out of them for appearance, especially if they are surrounded by plants. Sometimes the actual pergola may be constructed with the sole purpose of allowing plants a base to grow around.

If you are a fan of gardening then there is no doubt you have come across these wooden tunnels leading you in and throughout a garden. Make no mistake, there is a reason so many gardeners choose to utilize pergola’s in their garden space- they know exactly how it adds to the beauty of their expanse.

While they are sometimes a passageway leading to another area, pergolas most often act as protection. Although commonly found in gardens, the modern application for this structure is backyard decks and patios.

A pergola brings an extra sense of calmness and luxury to wherever they are placed. If you’ve been entertained by a host who happens to have a gazebo then you have probably walked through a pergola, in this case, one that guides you directly to your destination. If you have experienced this, then you are likely aware of the added experience the pergola provides you subconsciously.

Pergolas are cheap to either buy or make yourself, and the end result you get is an elevated backyard or garden property. Most opt for purchasing these structures at furniture stores for a few hundred dollars, however, if you can stay away from this, you will be even more fulfilled by your pergola if you make it yourself.

Pergola’s can be built in many ways, including fiberglass, vinyl, and aluminum, however wood remains the most popular material by far. One of the gifts of a pergola is that they seem to blend in with the natural surroundings that they are most commonly placed within as if they have sprung out of the ground- this sense is enhanced since these structures tend to have plants and growths throughout the crossbeams. Wood pergolas are also lighter, allowing the ease of transportation from a store or within a limited space.

For fans of woodworking, a pergola is an excellent project to take on no matter your skill level. While there are plenty of intensely intricate designs you have the freedom of applying to your pergolas, it is also possible to create much less complicated ones.

If you have the desire to take on the project of building a wooden pergola, look no further. We’ve decided to scour the internet looking for some of the best plans for construction for your benefit.

For those of you less experienced in the woodworking world, we suggest choosing either beginner or intermediate plans, which are much easier to make but will still create amazing looking pergolas. If you are advanced in the craft, feel free to give the more advanced plans a try- it will take much more timee, but the end result will surely be stunning.

 

Basic Backyard Pergola

 

This plan can be found here.

 

Skill Level: Beginner

Materials and Tools Needed:

(for exact material and tools, please refer to the original article)

  • gravel
  • lag bolts
  • Wooden posts and boards
  • galvanized deck screws
  • circular saw
  • level
  • shovel
  • wheelbarrow
  • socket set
  • screwdriver
  • drill
  • hammer
  • spade
  • post hole digger
  • ladder
  • jigsaw

Estimated Duration: a day.

 

For the woodworker who wants to build a basic pergola that will upgrade your backyard deck experience without requiring expert level skills, this is a great project to try. At its simplest, a pergola is meant to provide shelter without completely blocking out your immediate surroundings, which is exactly what this plan will help you to build.

This step-by-step, no-nonsense guide from HGTV will teach you to construct a pergola that will be sturdy and will stand the test of time. If you’re thinking about hiring someone to do this project for you, think again! You do not need to be a professional in order to build a backyard pergola that your family and friends will appreciate.

For woodworkers who want are ready to build something bigger that is not overly complex, we cannot recommend this plan enough. All it takes is a bit of dedication and confidence to tackle something as large as a pergola- it will impress, but won’t be too backbreaking to make the time spent building not worth it.

If you are hoping to build a basic wooden pergola but with some added features and have a bit more woodworking experience than the average person, we recommend taking a look at the next plan we feature in this article.

 

Backyard Pergola with Louvred Panels

 

This plan can be found here.

 

Skill Level: Intermediate

Materials and Tools Needed:

(for exact material and tools, please refer to the original article)

  • pry bar
  • reciprocating saw
  • safety glasses
  • hammer
  • circular saw
  • miter saw
  • drill
  • spade bit
  • tape measure
  • level
  • lag bolts with washers
  • socket wrench
  • jigsaw
  • ladders
  • cedar posts
  • cedar lumber
  • screwdriver bit
  • galvanized screws
  • louvered deck covering kit
  • carpenter’s square
  • ladder

 

Estimated Duration: A few days.

 No more nights spent eating and drinking inside! If you already have a deck in your backyard and want to make the experience even better, then pay close attention to this one.

HGTV also offers a great guide on their website on how to build a pergola intended for any patio or deck space you have at your house. As you can see from the picture, this is exclusively meant as a simple cover from the sunshine on those bright sunny days- this plan is not complex and opts for functionality over appearance.

While this is a basic pergola plan, what separates this plan from the others is that the completed structure has the benefit of louvered roof panels, which is what makes this an excellent addition for a deck. Whether it’s rain or sunshine you want to protect you and your guests from, building this pergola will enhance your outdoor dining experience at home immensely.

It’s also important to note that if you are following the exact building plan HGTV provides, you will need the help of a friend, so this is not the best blueprint for a solo job. Building a pergola is a large project so definitely try and make some fun out of it! Spread it out over a weekend or two, and once it’s finished you can reap the benefits by enjoying a nice refreshment under your brand new sun-proof pergola.

If you’re looking to build a rudimentary structure that will not only be a fulfilling woodworking project but result in a useful feature for your backyard patio, this building plan is a great one to follow.

 

Lattice Wooden Pergola

 

This plan can be found here.

 

Skill Level: Advanced

Materials and Tools Needed:

(for exact material and tools, please refer to the original article)

  • deck lumber
  • fasteners
  • hangers
  • hammer
  • saw
  • level
  • carpenter’s square
  • shovel/trowel
  • cement
  • Chalk line
  • tape measure
  • drill/drill bits
  • wrench
  • marking pencils

Estimated Duration: A few days.

 

This one is a bit harder to follow and less of a step by step guide, but if you want to build a beautiful looking pergola that will catch the eye of any and all guests visiting your backyard, give this one a try. Be aware that the woodworker who chooses to follow this plan must be prepared to put in the effort and detail that this blueprint requires of you.

Many wooden pergolas feature a design known as lattice, which is the kind of wood pattern most people attribute to flimsily built fences. While they usually serve the purpose of holding a fence together, this pattern works for pergolas since it allows fresh air to pass through but also protects those beneath it from most precipitation. If you like to entertain, be sure to take a look at this pergola building plan.

Make sure to skip over the portion of this particular guide that instructs you on building a deck unless, of course, you do not already have a deck and want to kill two birds with one stone.

The finished result you will have if you follow this pergola plan is a visually appealing structure that will serve as a roof for your outdoor deck space while still allowing you to feel apart of the surrounding nature.

 

Large Backyard Pergola

 

This plan can be found here.

 

Skill Level: Advanced

Materials and Tools Needed:

(for exact material and tools, please refer to the original article)

  • stiles
  • rails
  • timber
  • drill
  • table saw/miter saw/circular saw
  • cedar
  • metal connectors
  • router bits
  • anchor blocks
  • screws
  • polyurethane construction adhesive
  • glue
  • chisel

Estimated Duration: 4-5 days.

 

If you’re an experienced woodworker and are ready to embark on a project that will yield an impressive structure and also define your backyard space, look no further.

This wooden pergola plan is intense but the finished product is worth it. The result from following this guide is a massive pergola that looks fit for a king- it is big enough to fit a small gathering of people or protect any type of large area from the weather above.

Speaking of weather, an additional element that this plan touches on is the option of a retractable canopy. If you have the woodworking chops to pull it off, this is a great touch – if you happen to have company over outside and it starts raining, there’s no need to spoil the fun. Just use the simple pulley system to close the roof and continue the night unfazed.

This pergola is the perfect option if you happen to have a lot of space to cover. If your deck or patio is especially large, then it’s going to require a pergola of this size. Because of the depth of this project, it will take much more time and effort then some of the previous plans we included in this article. It will help a lot if you have a worker or two to help you, especially ones who have some experience with woodworking.

This guide is not nearly as thorough as the earlier ones we mentioned, so only attempt this one if you are capable. A pergola is a big project which means any success is a big success, but unfortunately can also mean a big failure. When dealing with a building project as large as this one, make sure to take the necessary precautions in order to ensure everyone’s safety.

If you are a talented woodworker ready to embark on a building project that will produce a proper backyard monument, then make the commitment and give this plan a try.

 

Final Words

 

Pergola’s are an awesome addition to any homeowner’s backyard, no matter the exact use they are intended for. Whether it is meant to be a barrier against the weather or you just simply want to take on a new woodworking project, spending a weekend building your pergola be time well spent.

If you are ready to try your hand at building a pergola, check out the plans we featured in this article to get you started!