How to Build a Modern Pergola

There’s nothing quite like a beautiful, modern pergola to add value to your home’s exterior. When that pergola is a streamlined, two-toned piece of functional art, that’s all the more valuable. In this article, we will point you to the articles that walk you, step-by-step, through the process of building a pergola that will look gorgeous and function wonderfully for your backyard living. There are a variety of methods for doing this, so be sure to browse through all the steps (and even correlating how to build a deck articles) to see if one way matches better what you have in mind.

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How to Install Pergola Post Brackets

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For many people, installing a wood post into a hole with post-formulated quick-set concrete is the way to go. However, we recommend installing steel brackets for pergola posts for a couple of reasons. First, you aren’t “wasting” multiple feet of your expensive pergola post lumber by shoving it 4’-6’ into the ground, which gives you better height options for your pergola overall and/or a less expensive project. Second, installing steel brackets makes the actual installation of the pergola posts a much smoother and more accurate project. We highly recommend this method, although if you’re bent on the post-in-concrete method, you can check that out here where we talk about installing deck footings.

How to Stain and Seal a Pergola

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While this step might seem to be out of order, placed here before the actual installation of your pergola posts, it fits in perfectly here. And this is why: Staining a pergola isn’t easy when the pergola is already built. You’re suspended on a ladder, up high, trying to reach all four sides of each board, jamming your arm or face into whatever fresh stain you’ve just done as you move onto the next board. It’s possible, but it’s a pain. Much MUCH easier is this method: stain (and, if you’ve chosen the correct stain, you’ll be sealing in this step as well) all lumber prior to building the pergola. You’ll need to touch-up at the very end, of course, but not a ton.

How to Install Pergola Posts

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Pergola posts are most commonly 4×4 beams, but in this article, we show you how to install 6×6 pergola posts. Depending on the size and height of your pergola, the proportions of 6×6 posts will likely look more substantial and pleasing than the smaller 4x4s. Either way, this article takes you step by step through this process, which, happily, is pretty straightforward.

How to Wall-Mount a Pergola Frame

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In some backyards (often smaller backyards), the place that makes the most sense for a pergola is adjacent to the house itself. If your backyard is on the smaller end to begin with, you likely don’t want to take up more real estate with pergola posts if you can help it. In this instance, we recommend mounting one side of your pergola frame to the exterior house wall itself. This allows you to use the existing house wall as part of your pergola, without having to dig post holes right next to the house and cut in on the actual footprint of your pergola.

How to Build a Pergola Frame

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Once your pergola posts are installed (and/or your wall-mounted pergola frame is in place), it’s time to build your elevated pergola frame. This includes a solid perimeter of doubled-up 2x6s, although each 2×6 board is placed individually so the support is multi-directional. The outer frame boards are attached to the wall-mounted frame and/or the pergola posts (with mitered corners where possible), while the inner frame boards are attached to the outer frame as well as the inside corners of everything (90-degree angles only).

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How to Install Pergola Rafters

While the pergola posts and frame are all vital to the pergola’s existence, it is the rafters (slats) that really make the pergola what it is. And when those rafters provide the pergola with a modern two-tone aesthetic, even better. This tutorial shows a straightforward and cost-effective method for hanging your 2×6 pergola rafters, with the end result being a sleek, seamless look. This is the step where, really, it all comes together.

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How to Install Pergola Post Caps

With your pergola, for all intents and purposes, complete, it’s easy to move on without putting this finishing touch on the pergola posts. But, weather and harsh sunlight being what it is, the tops of your pergola posts are bound to show signs of damage in a relatively short amount of time without capping off the tops. Installing caps on your pergola posts is so easy, you can literally do it in minutes – including the sawing off of excess pergola post height. It’s worth it, completely.

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We hope you find this reference article for how to build a modern two-tone pergola useful. Enjoy your construction project! It will be worth it in the end.

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