Table of Contents
*This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.
9 Awesome Pergola Plans and How to Build Them
Looking for a way to make the best use of your beautiful backyard?
Why not take a look at some of our awesome pergola plans? It could be the next project you impress your friends and family with, and a great way to bring up the value of your home.
Why Are Pergola Plans Trending in DIY Today?
First of all, what’s a pergola? Closely related to gazebos and arbors, a pergola is a covered but wall-less structure that can create a comfortably-shaded space outdoors.
Usually, pergolas are free-standing, but sometimes homeowners choose to attach them to the side of their home. Doing so can provide additional support to the structure.
By choosing to install a pergola in your front or back yard, you can make the most out of your outdoor space throughout the year.
With the right pergola plans, you can create a configuration that your plants will love, too. Many homeowners decide to combine pergolas with planters or trellises that vines can climb up on.
A pergola feature straight construction lines, with a flat roof made up of material laid out in a lattice or parallel pattern.
The result is a revitalizing space that provides shade as well as filtered light – it’s a truly beautiful and functional way to decorate your yard.
It’s no wonder that homeowners today are falling in love with these do-it-yourself projects for their yards.
Many seek well-planned designs to complement the greenery with the striking geometry pergolas can provide.
Take a look at these awesome pergola plans carefully curated for you. We’re sure you’re going to find one – or two, or three – to fall in love with.
Easy-Peasy Pergola Plans for Your Yard or Garden
Aside from the beautiful, basic designs, we chose these plans because their authors claim they are some of the easiest plans to follow on the internet.
Read on and be sure to bookmark your favorites:
1. Basic 8-foot Square Pergola
This has got to be our favorite set of plans. They feature clear photos for nearly every step of the process, and Popular Mechanics claims you can even modify the plans to any configuration you want. They also provide a PDF file that gives you detailed technical illustrations to study.
2. Phil’s $500 Pergola
Phil’s finishing touch of a bottle opener on his design was the selling point for us. However, the $500 budget and two-day turn-around time also caught our eye, and his humorous writing style is the cherry on top! Phil says he looked online for inspiration before designing this pergola. We are very impressed!
3. Dreaming of a Pergola
Dreaming of building a pergola, love the look, but just don’t have the bandwidth or budget to make a full-blown pergola for your yard? What about a small pergola structure to place over your garage?
These plans show you how to distribute the work into one weekend, and that’s why we thought you’d like to take a look!
Pergola Plans That Incorporate Plants
Not all pergolas do, but the following pergola plans all have one thing in common: they bring plants into the design.
The best plants for complementing your new pergola are vines and other winding plants.
A few to look up and ask about at your local nursery include: honeysuckle, trumpet vine, bougainvillea, grapevine, and roses – believe it or not, they come in climbing varieties!
1. Build Your Own Planter Boxes for This Pergola’s Corner Posts
To offset a traditional design, these plans place a wooden planter box at each corner of the pergola.
The greenery in plants can provide an elegant contrast. To build this pergola, you’ll need a couple of helpers to make sure the construction of this 16- by 20-foot structure goes well.
The plans suggest setting aside a few weekends to get the job done. We suggest printing the diagrams and instructions and reading well before getting started.
2. Use Pre-Fabricated Planters as Post Bases for Your Pergola
In this project, you’ll use planters attached to your posts rather than wooden boxes to incorporate plants into the design.
After building this structure, you’d fill the large planters with concrete pieces, gravel, and potting soil to weigh down the bases and so you can plant your favorite vine or vines.
Once planted and growing, your plants can climb the height of your pergola, creating a stunning contrast between the straight lines of the wood and the organic.
Inspired by a lovely patio pergola by HGTV, we recommend attaching pre-fabricated planters to the corner posts using lag screws to create bases for your pergola but following the plans above.
You can choose to only set up the planters below the corner posts or incorporate them under every vertical post, like in the original.
3. Enjoy this Narrative on Building a Pergola with Potting Table
For Mother Earth News, plants are organisms we are meant to commune with and respect. Throughout this article on how to build a rustic pergola, the author explains the reasoning behind each decision.
It’s a detailed long-form article that’s best enjoyed while sipping a hot cup of coffee or tea on a relaxing afternoon.
We know you’ll get plenty of other ideas about how to integrate plants into your chosen design. The potting table and work bench in this plan is what intrigued us!
Pergola Plans for DIYers Looking for a Challenge
Feeling ambitious? The following plans require much more wood-working savvy than any of the rest in this guide:
1. Cooking Outdoors in Style: Pergola Over a Kitchen Island
These plans are truly for a wood-working master. They are the most detailed plans we were able to find and definitely not for a DIY beginner.
The upside is that the pergola and island are constructed separately, so you could essentially use these plans to build a smaller pergola meant for another use if you’re not quite ready to build a whole island!
2. Swing Under the Shade
Warning – these plans are not for the faint of DIY hearts.
3. Sit Under This Pottery-Barn-Inspired Pergola
What is the Best Material for Your New Pergola?
All of the plans in this article call for wood. However, do-it-yourself pergolas can be constructed from wood, fiberglass, vinyl, or a combination of any of those materials with other accent materials such as the pergola featuring planters in the pergola plans above.
Which one of the three types of materials is the best? The following is a breakdown of the pros and cons of each:
- Vinyl: Vinyl can make your pergola look formal, due to the solid color finishes available. They are also very easy to clean, as you can probably use your handy power washer to do the trick once a year.
- Vinyl projects are also the most affordable and easy to build, since they come in kits where the pieces are pre-measured and pre-cut. The downside to vinyl is that they are not the most durable or sturdy. We don’t recommend choosing this material if your winters are heavy with snowfall and ice.
- Wood: While wood is the most expensive among pergola materials, it will be the most durable and customizable of the three. You’ll be able to stain and paint the structure to meet your needs. Wood also allows you to create a free-standing structure or attach to your house if you so choose.
- Fiberglass: While this material is very sturdy and can withstand most types of weather and it is a low-maintenance material, constructing pergolas out of fiberglass limits your colors to white or off white.
- While this works well for elegant pergolas, the limiting colors can turn off homeowners looking for more rustic styles. In terms of costs, fiberglass comes in at second place.
So, which is the best material to build a pergola with? At the heart of DIY is the power to choose the way your projects will ultimately look and feel.
That’s why the number of wood varieties and stains available, as well as the durability the material affords to landscaping projects, mean our vote goes to wood.
We believe you’ll feel much more satisfied knowing you can choose exactly the color and design, as well as where to place the structure.
How do you know which variety to choose? Though hardwood is more durable than softwood, the former will be more difficult to manipulate than the latter.
That’s why we encourage you to choose one of the softwood varieties for your DIY project, since it will be easier to work with. Just make sure you learn how to choose treated lumber that’ll resist rotting.
We also encourage you to keep up the maintenance on your project by staining and treating the material on a yearly basis.
We hope you enjoy both building and utilizing your new DIY project!
Keywords: Pergola Plans
Featured image: https://pixabay.com/en/camping-veranda-garden-furniture-1008575/