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Build a Patio Pergola attached to the House

Build a patio pergola attached to the house to extend your living space to the yard. A DIY pergola creates a room outside for entertaining and gathering.

Build a patio pergola attached to the house to extend your living space to the yard. A DIY pergola creates a room outside for entertaining and gathering.

See how we built our patio pergola to help define the perfect gathering space for our family. We partnered with the Home Depot to turn our long side patio into a oasis on a budget.

A pergola attached to the house was the perfect solution to create an outdoor dining and kitchen area. Today’s post shares the DIY pergola build.

This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

Turn a boring side yard into an outdoor oasis. Build a patio pergola to create an outdoor entertaining space. Housefulofhandmade.com

We wanted to share our patio pergola project in September. We bought the wood, made the plans, then the rains came! Oh my goodness, it rained and it rained and it rained! I don’t ever remember that much rain in September.

The first month of fall is usually so nice. Not too hot, but still almost like summer. I think because I really wanted to build a big project outside, this year it decided to rain instead.

Learn how to build a patio attached to the house to create an outdoor dining and kitchen area. Housefulofhandmade.com

We managed to sneak in an evening of building and installed all the posts before it was too dark, but then when we had another day to build, it was raining again.

I am pretty sure our neighbors thought we were crazy. All we had were three half-painted posts coming out of our patio for weeks.

See how we turned our boring side yard into usable living space. This patio pergola is the perfect weekend project. Housefulofhandmade.com

Thankfully, the first day of October, the rain stopped. It was cold, but I would much rather build in the cold than the heat so we got to work.

With the help of my father-in-law, we were able to get almost the entire 20′ x 11′ patio pergola built in 6 hours of work. Then another day of finishing up and painting and the DIY pergola is done!

I am almost too excited to share it because I thought this day would never come.

Turn your boring yard into livable space with a DIY pergola. This patio pergola is perfect for enjoying the outdoors all year long. Housefulofhandmade.com

So why a pergola? Well, when we finally got our concrete patio poured this summer, I knew I wanted to create a gathering place.

We love to bring together our friends and family around a table. We actually purchased our home because it was the only one with a dining room big enough for the giant table I had already bought.

So creating an outdoor entertaining space was perfect.

Build a pergola on a budget! Learn how to use inexpensive wood but make it look amazing. Housefulofhandmade.com

Our bowling alley of a side yard seemed like the perfect place to create this big entertaining space. I could have just thrown a table and chairs into the space and called it done, but I wanted to create a room.

Sometimes, large spaces can be harder to decorate so defining the space, with something like a rug or pergola, makes it easier. A patio pergola was the perfect way to define the outdoor dining space on the long patio.

A patio pergola is the perfect way to define an outdoor space. See how we built a DIY pergola. Housefulofhandmade.com

At first I thought a pergola might be too expensive though. We would need a rather large one fit in everything we wanted in the space. But I was determined to find a way to fit it into our budget.

Thanks to the Home Depot we did it! Would you believe we built the entire pergola for around $700?

We used pressure treated lumber instead of expensive redwood or cedar. It will hold up to the elements, but costs much less.

Then because I want it too look expensive (even when it is not), we painted it with a soft white paint to match the house. And I absolutely love our budget pergola!

I love this pergola! A patio pergola is the perfect way to add a beautiful room to the outdoors. Housefulofhandmade.com

If you have ever wanted to build your own patio pergola, then this is the perfect post for you. We encountered a few challenges (besides the month of rain) and I am excited to share it all with you.

Building a pergola attached to the house is a big project, but totally worth it. Next we are going to cover the patio pergola so we can use it even if the rains come again.

Then it’s time to add all the elements to make the perfect outdoor entertaining space for our family.

Building a pergola attached to the house doesn't have to cost a lot. See how we built our patio pergola on a budget. Housefulofhandmade.com

To see the complete build of our 20′ x 11′ patio pergola, read below. Then don’t forget to come back as I will be sharing all the rest of the patio goodness with you too!

How to Build a Patio Pergola Attached to the House

Tools:

  • Circular saw
  • Jig saw
  • Drill
  • 4′ Level
  • Hammer
  • Measuring tape
  • Carpenter’s square
  • Optional: framing nail gun
    • You can use screws and a drill instead of the framing nailer, but it was super nice to have. We borrowed one from a friend to use so it didn’t cost us anything either.

Supplies:

We bought all our lumber and supplies at the Home Depot. It was so easy to order online and have everything ready so we just had to show up and load up the truck. 

  • Pressure treated lumber
    • 4×4 boards for the posts (we used 3 10′ boards)
    • 2×4 boards for the posts (we used 6 8′ boards)
    • 2×8 boards for the beams (we used 4 12′ boards)
    • 2×6 boards for the header attached to the house and blocking (we used 3 12′ boards)
    • 2×6 boards for the cross beams (we used 22 12′ boards)
  • Galvanized post bases
  • 4 1/4″ long 1/2″ wedge anchors (one for each post base)
  • 4″ long 1/2″ lag screws (we used 36 for our 20′ header)
  • 3″ construction screws
  • Framing nails
  • Paint
    • It took us 1 1/2 gallons to paint 2 coats on the patio pergola.

Installing the Posts

We knew we were going to adding a pergola to our patio before we had the concrete poured. To give our pergola footings a strong grip, the concrete guys dug out where the posts were going to be so the concrete was deeper in those areas.

Then when we installed the post bases, the bolts used to hold them wouldn’t be longer than the cement was deep for a nice strong hold. This step is not necessary, but if you can, it doesn’t hurt.

Turn a boring side yard into an outdoor oasis. Build a patio pergola to create an outdoor entertaining space. Housefulofhandmade.com

To install the post bases, we drilled a 1/2″ hole in the concrete with a 6″ masonry bit. The hole was about 4 1/2″ deep.

Then we placed the base over the top and using a hammer, tapped in the wedge anchor. And we tightened it down with a wrench. Now we were ready for posts.

How to attach post bases to concrete for a patio pergola. Housefulofhandmade.com

I thought it would be easier to paint all the boards for the pergola before we built it, then I could just add the final coat once it was built.

Well, because of the rain, I only managed to get a few boards painted. So you will notice some boards are white, but most are not. No worries, we remedied that when the sun finally decided to shine again.

We attached the 4×4 posts to the post base. Then cut 2×4 boards to flank either side of the posts. These are for a bit more stabilization and to support the weight of the 2×8 beams to make installing them easier.

Before cutting the 2×4 post boards, we made sure the tops were level (most patios are not perfectly level). We used a level and a chalk line to get a level line at the top, then cut the boards to that length. A laser level would also work, but I don’t have one of those yet.

Create a patio oasis on a budget. A DIY pergola is the perfect way to define your patio space. Housefulofhandmade.com

We attached the 2x4s to the 4×4 posts, while ensuring the posts were plumb with a 4′ level. We used a couple boards to help hold the first posts plumb as we worked (once the first one was plumb and secure the rest were easy to keep in line).

Then we installed the 2×8 beam above them. But first, I cut a decorative edge to it with a jig saw (totally optional but makes everything so much prettier I think). These were secured with framing nails. We cut the beam so it broke over the center post.

Build a patio pergola on a budget. Lots of tips from Housefulofhandmade.com

Attaching the Header to the House

The first challenge we had was the siding. Our house is covered in vinyl siding, which has to be removed so the pergola header can be securely fastened to the house.

I thought removing siding would be hard, I was wrong. It is created so that it just clicks into itself. With a hammer and a flat head screwdriver for leverage, you can pop the vinyl siding off the house. 

Now, getting the siding back on may prove to be a challenge too. I’ll be sure to share that too.

How to build a pergola attached to the house with vinyl siding. Housefulofhandmade.com

We secured the 2×6 header to the house with 1/2″ lag screws. Making sure the header was attached to the studs. Our siding was laid over the wood paneling that was existing on the house so we had to find the studs under the paneling.

We removed a small section of the insulation to verify that we were indeed in a stud and measured from there, confirming that we had studs and not just paneling as we went. 

Predrill the holes for the bolts. Use 2 for each stud (typically every 16″ on center). We built our header long so we could square up the posts and then cut off the excess.

Installing the Cross Beams

Once the header was attached, it was time to add the pergola cross beams. Which is where the next challenge came into play.

Since we are planning on covering our patio pergola so we can enjoy it more, we have to be concerned with things like snow load and roof pitch. If we were leaving the pergola open, it would not have been an issue.

So we consulted the experts and determined that we needed to make our cross beams 12″ on center instead of 16″ and we used blocking between the beams at the header. The blocking also eliminated the need for hangers, bonus!

All our cross beams needed to be cut an an angle to give us the slope from the header to the outside of the patio pergola. Instead of hauling all the boards into the garage to use my miter saw, I used a carpenter’s square and a circular saw to cut the boards.

To draw the angle needed on the boards, you can angle the square so the board lines up to the degree mark on the side and draw a line. Super quick and easy! Then cut along this line with the saw and you are ready to install the cross beams.

Use a circular saw to cut the cross beams for quick installation. How to build a patio pergola. Housefulofhandmade.com

Before attaching the first cross beam though, we needed to ensure it was square, This turned out to be a challenge too. We tried using a framing square, a string, and so much more.

But what was it that finally helped us get a square pergola? The 6, 8, 10 rule.

If you remember back to your geometry days, a right angle triangle with 6″ on one side and 8″ on the other, will have a third side that is 10″. We used this method to determine our pergola was a 90 degree angle by measuring 6′ down one side (on the header beam), then 8′ down the first cross beam, then if you measure between these two marks, they should be 10′.

We adjusted the angle of our crossbeam until it was 10′ and presto, 90 degree angle!

Attaching the cross beams to the header. How to build a patio pergola. Housefulofhandmade.com

Now that one side was 90 degrees, we could work off that to the other side. So we secured the cross beam to the header by toe nailing nails in with a framing nailer.

Then we attached a 3 1/2″ block (the width of the 2×4 post it would be attached to on the other side of the pergola) of 2×6 to the header right next to the cross beam.

This was attached to the header and the cross beam. Then the second cross beam was attached to the side of the block and toe nailed into the header. Again we used our framing nailer to make quick work of this.

Building a pergola attached to the house. How to attach cross beams to the header. Housefulofhandmade.com

Before getting crazy attaching cross beams all the way down, we took a minute to attach these first to cross beams to the posts and beam on the other side of the pergola. We double checked that the posts were plumb both ways before attaching the boards.

Now it was a matter of attaching cross beams all the way down with 10 1/2″ blocks of 2×6 between them to keep the beams 12″ on center. Because we had 3 hands, I was in charge of cutting the angle on the top of the cross beams and the blocking.

My husband was in charge of lifting the heavy boards up over the beams, and my father-in-law nailed them in. It was crazy how fast this went once all the checking and double checking was done!

Add blocking to the cross beams and header for extra stabilization. Housefulofhandmade.com

We did have to take a break and double check plumb again when we moved past the center post. This helped us ensure the back post was all plumb too. Then we went to work and finished things up quickly!

Build a DIY pergola in a weekend. See the step by step tutorial at Housefulofhandmade.com

Once all the cross beams were attached to the header, we needed to attach the cross beams to the beams above the posts. Making sure the cross beams were 12″ on center over the beam, we attached them by toe nailing with the framing nailer on either side of each beam.

We needed to clean up the back of the cross beams so they were all straight at the end of the pergola. We pulled a chalk line over the top of the cross beams at the length we wanted them past the posts.

Then used the square to draw a line to cut. My father-in-law climbed on top of the pergola and quickly cut all the ends off the cross beams.

Cut the ends of the pergola so they are even. Housefulofhandmade.com

Lastly, we needed to add the second beam on the backside of the posts. Because the cross beams were at an angle, we needed to cut off the top of these beams. I didn’t want the decorated sides to be affected so I cut a notch on the top of this 2×8 beam just were the cross beams would lay but left the 12″ overhang on the edge of the beam the full height.

Cut the beam to fit under the angled boards. How to build a patio pergola attached to the house. Housefulofhandmade.com

We had to bang these beams into place, but it gave us a nice tight fit. The cross beams are now supported over two beams between the posts. Then we toe nailed the cross beams to the second beam too.

If I did it again, I would remember to add the second beam before adding all the cross beams, but hindsight is always 20/20 right?

Then my husband and I set to painting the patio pergola. It took us about 6 hours to paint 2 coats of Behr Ultra Plus in Sentimental Beige over the entire thing. But I love that the pergola now matches the house and fence. It looks like it has always been a part of it!

Learn how to build a DIY patio pergola on a budget. A step by step tutorial from Housefulofhandmade.com

I still need to add a bit more blocking before adding our pergola roof. Just to give it even more stability in case of a crazy snow storm. But for now I am ready to just enjoy our hard work. Unfortunately I don’t get to just enjoy it for long because winter will be here before we know it.

I love our new patio pergola! It is the perfect way to define our outdoor dining space. Housefulofhandmade.com

Have you ever taken on a big project like this? It is totally worth it! And if you have good weather, this DIY pergola could easily be built in a weekend. Butter family will be able to enjoy it every day now.

And make sure to check out the rest of our DIY remodel projects for budget friendly remodeling ideas.

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Lulu

Wednesday 14th of April 2021

Hi Looks awesome! Did you need a permit? If so, do you have a plan? Thanks!

Lefteris Koumis

Monday 5th of April 2021

Hi. Great project. When you attached the 2x4 to the 4x4 post, you don't worry about the rot at the bottom of 2x4 when it comes in contact with the water? The span on your pergola is 10'. Did you notice any sagging between the posts? Thanks.

Julian Doan

Monday 12th of October 2020

Hi Kati, Love your pagola and it's a great detailed tutorial. Could you add details on how you create spaces on the 2×6 header to mount the cross beam and how do nail the cross beams to the header? That would really help. Thanks,

Kati

Tuesday 27th of October 2020

We used blocking in between the cross beams and header. So first we added the blocking, then we nailed the cross beam to the blocking and then into the header with a toe-nail (driving the nail in at an angle). Then we added the next block and attached the next cross beam to it. And continued that way all the way to the end.

Christopher McHenry

Sunday 13th of September 2020

Hi. We are thinking of building a patio pergola similar to what you did. You mentioned in one of your replies that there is a tutorial page, but I cannot find the button for this. I'd love to get more details on the project so that we can better plan ours out. Thank you!

Kati

Friday 2nd of October 2020

I combined the tutorial on this page so you no longer have to look for the second page. It's all above.

Rob

Wednesday 15th of July 2020

This is the best do it yourself tutorial I’ve seen. Pérgola looks great! Thanks for posting. Was it difficult reinstalling the siding? And did you need to purchase anything else to finish it?

Kati

Tuesday 28th of July 2020

I was worried about reinstalling the siding but it clicks together so easily. Make sure to add the trim around the header board to finish off the edges and keep out the water.

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