Sweet Home Pergola – Build Your Own!


A Pergola in Minneapolis

Pergola, pergola, pergola – no, it’s not an exotic spice or the name of an Italian sailboat. A pergola is a type of outdoor structure as seen is the picture above. They are also called “arbors” or “arbours” if you’re into extra U’s, and, according to Wikipedia, they belong to the gazebo family.

Notice the quirks of the pergola: unless you allow crawling plants to occupy its reaches, it won’t shield you from the sun, and it certainly won’t keep you dry in the rain. So what’s the big idea? Well, a pergola helps define an outdoor space and, while not closing a space off, transforms and accentuates it, allowing you to turn a tired backyard into something new.

So, perhaps you’re thinking, “hmm, I could sure use one of these pergolas to liven up my very-boring backyard.” Where do you begin? Well, we’ve gathered our favorite list of pergola instruction collections for you to select the one that best suits your needs and abilities.

An Old Pergola

A Classic Pergola

Photo by Sean Wallis


On the fancier, more elaborate side, this HGTV article is probably more useful as an idea-generator or a “huh, could we do that?” kind of conversation starter than a how-to. Take a look and see if you aren’t inspired to transform your yard space in a surprising way.

Popular Mechanics

Now we get to some basics: this Popular Mechanics article breaks down the pergola into easy steps that result in something much like the photo at the top of this post.


This project at FamilyHandyman.com is similar to the article from Popular Mechanics, except it utilizes columns. It includes a blueprint and step-by-step instructions, along with a shopping list to make it easy for you to get your pergola on.

Pergola over Patio

A Patio Pergola

Photo by Greg’s Landscaping


This website hosts video instructions for building both a free-standing and patio pergola. Just to keep your options open.


And finally, here is a YouTube Video that takes you through the pergola-building process step-by-step. If nothing else, this should give you the confidence that yes, you too can build your very own pergola.

And whether you’re a do-it-yourselfer or a contractor, building a pergola takes some heavy lifting power. Forklifting power, to be precise. If you’re looking for a California forklift, contact Forklift Nation at (888) 329-5438.

Main Photo by Field Outdoor Spaces