by Ralph Swan
For centuries, pergolas have created fascinating blends of open and enclosed spaces to form shaded walkways, passageways, or sitting areas with vertical posts supporting cross beams and a sturdy open lattice. Today, with the selection of comfortable outdoor furniture and decorative items, you can take this classic structure to a whole new level. Add drapery, lighting, and a heater to create a space for entertaining and enjoying the great outdoors.
A free-standing pergola design, like my project featured here, provides a sitting area that allows for a breeze and light sun, while offering protection from direct sunlight. My idea for this pergola project was to create a flexible space that furniture could easily transform from a dining area to a lounge. What You’ll Need Materials
Tools Getting started
- Krylon® Temporary Chalk 1747-002
- 6 x 6 x 10’ (4) Sienna Pressure Treated
- 2 x 6 x 12’ (14) Sienna Pressure Treated
- 2 x 6 x 16’ (24) Sienna Pressure Treated
- 4 x 4 x 10’ (2) Sienna Pressure Treated
- #8 x 3” (2000 pk.) brown socket deck screws 2183-295
- 1/2” x 6” lag bolts (16) 2163-383
- 1/2” galvanized flat washer (16) 2190-240
- Thompson’s® WaterSeal® Deck Brightener Wash 1874-270
- Thompson’s® WaterSeal® Wood protector Waterproofer Plus - desert brown 1886-646
- Thompson’s® WaterSeal® Wood protector Waterproofer Plus – clear 1886-640
To begin, you need to visually establish how big the pergola should be for your space. Use a rope or Krylon® Temporary Chalk to mark out the perimeter, then place your furniture to determine if the area will meet your needs. Position the supports and allow for the overhang of the top to accurately envision the size of the project. Then take the time to create a custom plan and make a material list by modifying the detailed drawings used for this project. Check the list of recommended tools and always keep your blades sharp for easy cutting.
With the material list in hand, visit your local Home Hardware Building Centre where you can choose from cedar, traditional pressure treated lumber, or my choice, Sienna Brown pressure treated, which was delivered to the build site. Build preparation
The project would involve working mostly overhead if I started the build on top of the supports. Instead, I temporarily assembled the top structure using screws on the ground first. I cut and fit all upper joists together, then numbered the parts and disassembled. Before final assembly, I cleaned all the lumber with Thompson’s® WaterSeal® Deck Wash to remove mil glaze, applied a coat of Thompson’s® WaterSeal® Wood Protector Waterproofer Plus Desert Brown to all exposed end cuts, and Thompson’s® WaterSeal® Wood Protector Waterproofer Plus Clear to all surfaces to protect from water and UV damage. Final Assembly
I called on my build partner for assistance to carry and fit the structure to the top of the supports and secure it in place.
I hope you enjoy building this project and making the space your own.
That’s the finish
Ralph Swan is a wood care expert from Minwax and a frequent contributor to Home at Home magazine.