This project details the plans for building a pergola, a basic overhead structure for your deck.
This structure may look complicated, but taken step-by-step it is easy to build. The most difficult part is working above your head, so have a pair of stable stepladders on hand and enlist a reliable helper.
Because only one row of posts is used in this design, the pergola can be no wider than 6 feet. For more shade install at least two rows of posts with beams. Use 2x6s for beams and rafters that span up to 8 feet, and 2x8s for beams or rafters with spans of up to 11 feet.
The detailing of the pergola can be changed easily to suit your taste. Choose a simple or ornate design for the ends of the beams and rafters. Position the top pieces closer for more shade, farther apart for less shade.
Working with a helper, most of a day to build a three-tiered overhead with a lattice panel
Tape measure, hammer, drill, circular saw, post level, carpenter's level, layout square, ratchet and socket wrench, sandpaper
Measuring and cutting boards, checking posts for plumb, fastening while working on a ladder
Notch the decking so that posts can go tight up against the outside joist
4x4 posts, 2x6 rafters, 2x8 beams, 1x2 for top pieces; lattice, 2x4 and 2x2 frame for lattice; hurricane ties; 1-1/2-inch, 3-inch screws
Cut two 2x8 beams to the same length. Hold them together with their crowns facing up, and lay out on their tops for rafters that are evenly spaced. To hold the rafters, install hurricane ties on one beam where they will be least visible. Attach the beams to the posts with 3-inch deck screws.
Center each rafter on the beams, using the overhang mark made in Step 2. Attach each rafter with a hurricane tie on one beam and by toe-fastening screws into the other beam. Cut 2x2 top pieces to length. Mark for a 6-inch overhang at each end. Attach the top pieces to the rafters with 3-inch screws or nails. Sand any rough edges with medium-grit sandpaper.