Creating a gorgeous pergola for your yard does not have to be difficult, and you can handle some or all of this project in order to keep expenses down and ensure that you get the finished results that you are hoping for. This task may be advanced but it can be a DIY project if you are willing to put in the time and effort. Some steps may be contracted out if you are not comfortable doing them or you lack confidence in your abilities, but many individuals may be able to do everything without any professional help with the right research, tools, and supplies.

(Project Post is based on this picture gallery. Thanks for the inspiration!)

Before you start…

…you will need some tools and supplies, and it is a good idea to purchase and gather everything before you start so that you get exceptional results and a minimum of problems during the building process. You will need the following:


  • Post hole digger
  • Shovel
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Trowel
  • Concrete stamps
  • Jigsaw
  • Chop saw
  • Hammer


  • Gravel
  • 12′ X 6” X 6” treated posts
  • Rebar
  • Concrete mix
  • Wood for concrete forms
  • Concrete paint
  • Sealant for the finished pour
  • Nails or screws for fastening
  • 2X2′ lumber for slats
  • 2X6′ lumber for the roof structure
  • 2X10′ lumber for the roof structure
  • Wood sealant

Choose the right place

The first step is to choose the right location for the pergola. Once this is done you will need to determine the size that you want. Once this has been determined and marked out your will need to build the forms in order to pour the concrete. This involves using lumber and a hammer and nails to form a rough outline of the design that you have in mind. This can be round, oval, or another shape if you prefer. The form must be securely attached to the ground because of the weight that the liquid concrete will have, and they should be reinforced by vertical strips that are placed into the ground for additional support.

It's important to take enough time, choosing the right spot. Pergolas are hard to move.

It’s important to take enough time, choosing the right spot. Pergolas are hard to move.

Once you have the wooden perimeter forms in place you will need to place the posts, and then create the inner structure using rebar. Use the post hole digger to dig the appropriate number of holes, and make sure that they are evenly spaced to provide plenty of support for the roof later on. Place gravel into the bottom of each hole to provide drainage, and then set a post in each prepared hole. Fill in the remaining space with the dirt that was originally moved, making sure to pack it in snugly so there are no empty spaces or air bubbles.

It’s rebar time!

Now it is time to place the rebar that will add strength to the concrete once it is poured. Place the metal rod material in an even square design so that each section is roughly identical. Make sure that the rebar extends all the way to the wooden form. Now it is time to use the wheelbarrow and the concrete mix. Make up the concrete in the wheelbarrow, closely following the instructions on the bag and adding water until the desired consistency is created.


Pour the concrete slurry over the rebar inside of the wooden forms, going slowly so that it spreads without capturing large air bubbles. Continue until the concrete reaches the top of the forms and all of the rebar is completely covered. Use a trowel to smooth out the surface and tap out any air bubbles that may have formed during the pouring process. Allow the concrete to set and thoroughly dry, and this may be a few hours or a few days depending on the size, consistency, and the amount of humidity in the air.

Once the finished floor is fully cured then the form material can be removed, and the edges sanded to a smooth surface. The floor surface may also be lightly sanded to remove any rough spots. Coloring is applied next, and there are many different options and design choices that you can use. You could choose to go with a single shade or you may choose graduations instead. Once the paint has been applied you will need to allow it to dry completely.

Make your project unique!

Next you will use the concrete stamping plates to stamp the desired designs into the concrete surface. This can be bricks, other patterns, or anything that you find attractive. Place the plates in the desired positions and place pressure on them to form the shapes that you have chosen. You may choose to create a special centerpiece for the pergola, and this can be a star or another distinct design. Always start the stamping process in the center of the floor and work outwards.

The joys of DIY: Making your project unique!

The joys of DIY: Making your project unique!

Don’t forget to seal the deal…

The next step is applying the sealant finish and allowing this to dry. Once this is done then you will have a complete floor and the posts for the upper part of the structure in place. Use a jigsaw and the lumber for the structure of the pergola roof next. Cut any desired designs at the ends of the lumber and then place them so that they form a support system at the top of the posts. Place half of the lumber in one direction and half in the other, making sure to leave the center space open and fastening the boards with nails or screws.

The roof

Doesn't that look beautiful ?

Doesn’t that look beautiful ?

Lastly, it is time to create the lattice for the roof. Taper the ends of the 2X2′ boards and then place them in a criss cross pattern that covers the entire open space of the roof. Fasten these securely with nails or screws. Seal all of the boards completely so that they will repel moisture and will not rot. The final step is to place some plants which grow quickly so that these will twine through the lattice and create a natural roof over time. The finished results can be exquisite, and the pergola will become more lush as the years go by. You do not have to be a building expert in order to create a fantastic pergola that you will love using.

This post at popularmechanics gets more into roof construction. You can find some pretty nice, detailed pictures there!