When you’re thinking of building a pergola in your yard, it’s best to make sure that you understand the process before proceeding. You don’t want to start the project and then discover that it’s too much for you to handle.
This isn’t to say that building a pergola is too difficult for a dedicated individual to handle. You just don’t want to go into this situation without the necessary tools and knowledge.
How difficult is it to build a pergola? Is this something that an amateur can handle or should you hire a professional to get the job done?
Read on to learn about the process and how tough the job can be. This should help you to decide whether you want to build one yourself or if you’re going to look into hiring others to handle it for you.
Why Build a Pergola?
Building a pergola is something that you might wish to do for several reasons. Having a pergola on your property will give you a nice spot in your yard to sit down and enjoy yourself.
Many people use pergolas as seating areas and they can also provide you with a little bit of shade. Sometimes they’re placed in yards for purely aesthetic purposes, too.
You can grow plants on the pergolas so they will provide more shade. It’s common for people to let climbing plants grow on these structures.
They can be placed in many different spots including the middle of garden areas. So they’re potentially versatile structures that can add beauty to your yard.
Is Building a Pergola Tough?
Taking on the challenge of building a pergola might be too much for some people. However, this doesn’t mean that the job is overly hard.
Some pergola plans are going to be tougher than others. The most basic pergola designs are fairly simple to build.
Even so, if you don’t have any carpentry experience, this might feel like a tall order. Generally, you’ll feel a lot more comfortable building a pergola if you know how to build other things.
Have you built shelves or tables in the past? While building a pergola is different from building these things, such experiences will help you to approach building a pergola more confidently.
You want to have a basic understanding of carpentry and you must know how to follow designs to build things. Also, you’ll need the right tools to get the job done.
If you’re not comfortable with this, you might be better off hiring someone else to do the work. For someone with a little bit of carpentry experience, building a pergola isn’t overly tough, but it’ll be harder for those who are complete novices.
Do Pergolas Need Footings?
Yes, it’s common for pergolas to utilize footings of some sort. Pergolas don’t have a traditional base, and this means that they need to be secured in some fashion.
One of the most common ways to secure a pergola is to use post footings to anchor it. This is a simple way to keep the pergola sturdy and ensure that you can use it for a long time.
It’s also possible to use a concrete foundation, though. So there are ways to anchor the pergola that don’t involve using footings, but the idea is the same.
So the basic answer to this question is “yes.” You just need to know that the pergola needs to be attached to something so it can remain upright and sturdy.
If the pergola wasn’t anchored securely to the ground it wouldn’t be safe to use. Even pergolas that are attached to the sides of buildings will be anchored to the ground using footings.
Can You Use Deck Blocks for a Pergola?
Some people have used deck blocks for pergolas. So it can be done, but it’s not the recommended choice.
Most enthusiasts say that using concrete footings will be much better. When you’re securing the pergola to the ground, it’d be safer to use footings or anchor the structure to a concrete slab or foundation.
Using deck blocks can get the job done, but it’s seen as an inferior method. Even so, there are people who have used this method for small pergolas.
If you have extra deck blocks and you wish to do this, it might be fine to do so. Just make sure that you secure the pergola to the ground properly.
What Do You Need to Build a Pergola?
You’re going to need many different things to build a pergola. First, you must make sure that you have the necessary building materials.
Most people make pergolas out of wood. So you’ll buy wooden beams of various sizes.
A typical pergola design will require you to buy 4×4 beams, 2×4 beams, 2×6 beams, and 2×10 beams. It all depends on the design that you choose to follow.
You’ll need galvanized deck screws to secure the beams properly. Then you’ll need various tools to get the job done.
At the very least, you’ll need to own a hammer, shovel, spade, screwdriver, ladder, circular saw, and a drill. You might also need some other tools to get the job done depending on which pergola design you’re following.
Also, it’s worth noting that you might need a permit to build a pergola. It’s necessary to procure a permit when building a pergola in some areas when it’s big enough.
Look up the local laws no matter how big the pergola is planned to be. You want to make sure that you do things legally to avoid any consequences.
Where to Build a Pergola
Where you decide to put a pergola on your property is up to you. Assuming that you’re building the pergola legally, it’s up to you to decide where it goes.
Most people choose to place pergolas in areas of their yards where they want shade. You might put the pergola in a spot where you’ll be able to use it as a seating area.
It’s common for people to put pergolas in the middle of their gardens. You can sit underneath the pergola and enjoy gazing at your plants.
Some choose to build pergolas that are attached to garages, barns, or houses. There are free-standing pergolas as well as pergolas that are attached to structures.
There may be some legal restrictions on where the pergola can be to consider. For example, you might need to keep the pergola a certain distance away from a fence.
Can You Build a Pergola Next to a Fence?
Sometimes it’s necessary to keep pergolas a certain distance away from any fences on your property. It’s generally recommended to keep a pergola sixteen feet away from a fence.
There could be local laws to consider. You might have local property codes that will dictate that pergolas need to be a certain distance from property lines.
So it’s best to look up local laws to get the correct information. The laws will differ based on where you live and this means that you must look up specific information for your area.
Now you know that building a pergola can be a bit tough. It can be handled if you have the right tools and a little bit of experience, though.
If you’re new to building things, it might not be best to start by building a pergola. You’d likely have a better experience with a smaller DIY project.
You can always buy a pergola kit at a store and follow the instructions to install it. Or you can hire someone to build a bespoke pergola and place it on your property for you.
I have a bachelor’s degree in Computer Information Systems and over 10 years of experience working in IT. As a homeowner, I love working on projects around the house, and as a father, I love investigating various ways to keep my family safe (whether or not this involves tech). I’ve also played guitar for almost 20 years and love writing music, although it’s hard to find the time these days.