Make Shade: Canopies, Pergolas, Gazebos and More | HGTV

Make your Own Pergola

Constructing A Pergola / November 23, 2020

Pergolas are ideally suited for linking different parts of the garden, providing secluded areas and creating summer shade. Their open aspect makes them particularly suitable for adding interest to smaller gardens, where more solid shapes, such as walls or fences, would make the limited space feel cluttered.

Wood - this is the most common material used for pergolas. The most popular type used in the UK is softwood that has been pressure treated with a suitable preservative. Hardwood has natural durability and doesn't require pressure treatment.

Brick/stone - generally more expensive than using wood, but will take more weight. If the outside of your house has exposed brick or stone, choose the same type of material for the pergola's uprights. Wooden cross members can then be attached to the uprights to form the 'roof'.

Metal - metal pergola frames are available from specialist manufacturers. They come in kits that can be bolted together and designs can be made to measure.

Time needed

2 half-days for a simple pergola, with 2 days break for concrete setting

You will need

  • wooden posts, 85mm x 85mm x 3m (3.3in x 3.3in x 9.8ft)
  • wooden cross members, 33mm x 33mm x 1.8m (1.3in x 1.3in x 5.9ft)
  • wooden beams, 45mm x 95mm x 3m (1.7in x 3.7in x 9.8ft)
  • bolts to support the frame
  • stainless steel screws, countersunk
  • ballast and cement


  • Select the site for your pergola carefully. Think about the function and take time to view the site from each overlooking window of the house before deciding on the final position. Pergola's are particularly effective at joining two different parts of the garden; for example, the vegetable plot and the lawn. Or perhaps you want to create a shady seating area or to frame a walkway with climbers?
  • Clear all the vegetation in the location of the pergola or, if being sited on a patio, remove the paving where the uprights will be. Level the site if the ground is uneven.
  • Measure the area of ground where the pergola is to be situated. Identify where the posts will be and mark their exact positions.
  • Ensure these are arranged so they're square with each another. As a general rule, a pergola should be supported by posts every 1.8m (6ft). This distance should be reduced if it will support heavy loads.