Co-branding Airtasker OneflareCo-branding Airtasker Oneflare
Hero image

Find a local builder

    How to build a pergola

    Learn how you can build one yourself with our simple guide

    Alex | Oneflare

    A DIY backyard project can be very satisfying to complete. It takes skills to build a modern pergola, which may be something you feel comfortable doing yourself. With cheap pergola kits available, even a novice builder has the ability to put together the outdoor structure. Keep reading this guide for a range of pergola ideas and how you can DIY one.

    What is a pergola?

    A pergola is an outdoor structure consisting of beams that support an open or closed roof. It’s open on all sides and can be freestanding, attached to a house, or come with a deck or patio. It offers protection from the sun, enhances the look of a property, and serves as a dedicated space outside for entertaining family and friends. There are many pergola ideas to choose from.

    Different pergola styles

    There are three main pergola styles to consider. They are freestanding, attached, with a deck or patio. Each has a different look and list of advantages. To better understand what makes each stand apart from another, we’ve listed a few of their key features below. When wanting to learn how to build a pergola, you must be clear on the type of structure you’d prefer to have built.

    An attached pergola / Source: DRP Constructions & Carpentry


    Freestanding pergola kits are for homeowners that want a pergola separate from their house. Choosing this kit style allows you to place the structure anywhere on your property that you see fit. It’s among the most accessible types of pergolas to build because it doesn’t require additional materials to attach it to another structure. It’s a structure that can be in the garden or another area of the yard where it gets a lot of use.


    A structure of this nature is similar to a freestanding pergola in appearance. It is, however, an extension of the house. It can be entered from indoors and provides a unique experience sitting outdoors. You can paint timber pergola designs to match the exterior of the home and enhance its curb appeal.

    With a deck or patio

    A pergola built in this style is outstanding in appearance and function. It comes with a deck or patio perfect for grilling, container gardening, and drying off after swimming in the pool. The pergola is a welcome retreat on the hottest days and remains a place to sit around a firepit during the year’s colder evenings.

    Tools and materials needed to DIY a pergola

    If you’re considering building a pergola, you’re going to need specific tools and materials to be successful. To help you get organised, we’ve created lists for your reference. You’ll want to make sure that you have everything on hand before beginning the project to not experience interruptions along the way.


    Easy pergola builds require some tools. You’re able to find them at your local hardware store if you don’t already have them in your toolbox. A saw and drill are necessary. So are bolts and other fasteners that allow you to join the boards together.

    • Saw
    • Drill
    • Measuring tape
    • Hammar 
    • Shovel


    You’re going to need the beams for the posts, sides and roof of the pergola. It is your choice what type of wood you choose. A standard pergola consists of four posts, four header boards, crossing boards, and stringer boards. It is easiest to have these pre-cut to ensure they are the right lengths that match.

    You will also require galvanised screws and pre-mixed quick-dry concrete.

    Contact local builders

    How to build a free standing pergola

    Building a free standing pergola takes time but is well worth investing time put into the task. It’s a straightforward process consisting of several steps, which are listed here for you to follow. If you’re planning on doing it yourself, you’ll want to be mentally and physically prepared to complete the project. You’ll need to devote time and money to complete the easy DIY pergola.

    1. Clear the designated area: You’ll need to have a level place to build the pergola. It should be free of rocks, tree branches, and organic debris.
    2. Dig post holes: You can rent a post hole digger. It saves you time and energy by making fast work of the job. Ensure the holes are big enough so that the posts will be secure.
    3. Set the posts in place: You’ll need to put the posts in the holes. They form the supporting structure of the pergola. After you have put the poles in place, pour in the pre-mixed quick-dry concrete.
    4. Attach the beams and rafters: The top of your structure will provide you relief from the elements. Secure the beams and rafters to each other with the screws.
    5. Secure beams and rafters to the posts: Use screws to secure the beams and rafters to the posts that have been set in place.
    6. Paint: You can paint an easy DIY pergola kit to your liking. It can match the house in colour or compliment different elements of it because there is no one best way to paint a pergola.

    Once the paint has dried, you can introduce the outdoor structure to your family and friends by hosting an outdoor get-together. You can also spend time working on your garden or catching up with friends while soaking up the sun. The use you get from the pergola is well worth the money spent building it.

    How to build a pergola attached to the house

    If building a freestanding pergola sounds too complicated, you can build the pergola as an extension of your home. Due to the simplicity of pergola design, you’ll only need a few more materials to give it extra stability. Cheap pergola kits vary in quality. If you decide to go this route, you’ll find the following instructions helpful in attaching it to the house.

    Using one side of the house as part of the structure, you’ll need fewer support beams. You’ll need first to cut the lumber. Next, drill holes before marking hanger holes. Finally, cut out the notches and secure the joints. Once these steps are complete, you can paint the wood and let it dry.

    A pergola over a pool / Source: Reds Landscaping

    Additional tips on building a pergola

    Building a pergola can be a great addition to your outdoor living space. Here are some tips to help you out when building your own pergola:

    • When planning your pergola, keep in mind that a continuous span is ideal, as it creates a cleaner and more finished look.
    • Pergola battens are an essential part of the construction. Choose a type of wood that is sturdy, attractive, and weather-resistant to ensure long-lasting outdoor beauty.
    • When securing your pergola battens, consider using stainless steel screws or hooks, as this will give you the most durable and long-lasting solution.
    • Consider installing shade cloth or outdoor curtains for additional privacy and shade on hot summer days.

    By following these building tips, you can create a beautiful and functional outdoor space that will provide shade and style for years to come. Ensure you have the right tools and materials, and always consult with a local contractor or building code for additional support.

    How to hire a builder

    Hiring a qualified builder is among the most important decisions you will make if you don’t choose to DIY a pergola. There are qualifications and skills that a professional should possess before being allowed to work on your property. To help you discover what to look for in a builder, we’ve highlighted some of the most important considerations to make when searching for a capable company to assist you with your project.

    Licencing and qualifications

    Making sure that the builder you hire is licenced and qualified is imperative. Some states and territories require it. The requirements vary, but the professional must prove that they can build pergolas that are structurally sound. Find out how much it will cost to hire a builder in our cost guide.

    Facebook LikeTwitter

    How much will your job cost?

    The Oneflare Cost Guide Centre is your one-stop shop to help you set your budget; from smaller tasks to larger projects.