9 Best Guides to Build Pergola with New Plans and Designs

January 18, 2015

wooden garden pergola

Pergolas are wonderful and practical additions to any garden or backyard. There are many versions with various functions you can choose from.

When you want to build a beautiful structure, many people recommend a pergola because the design is rather simplistic and easy for even the lazy DIY woodworker. If you’re not really the DIY type, you could always take a design idea and get a professional service to build and install your pergola, you could potentially want to look into refinance mortgage options to see if you could save money, while having some extra if you’re thinking you want to remodel a few areas of your home.

Exterior lighting is also a must if you’re going to be spending time using your pergola in the evening. If you’ve got some extra money to spare, then why not consider some smart lighting? You can operate the lighting remotely and even set a brightness to suit your mood. Crestron are one of the world’s leading home automation system providers and these guys are obviously Crestron specialists if you’re tempted to see some examples of an automation system in action.

Check out end of this article to see video with 1500 unique & beautiful designs!

Guides you will find in this post:

  1. Free standing model by Ron Hazelton
  2. Instructions by Handmade Home
  3. Vineyard version by Real Cedar
  4. Version over a deck by DIY Network
  5. Pergola instructions by Lowe´s
  6. Weatherly version by Ana White
  7. Do it yourself scheme by DIY Garden Plans
  8. Beautiful design by Canadian Home Workshop
  9. Simple wood model by Garden Structure

Thankfully, there are designs and plans readily available that will allow you to construct yours with ease – and a lot of time and patience.

List of Best Free Pergola Plans with Instructions

1. How to Build a Free Standing Model by Ron Hazelton (Free)

ron hazelton plan on pergola

A simplistic and beautiful pergola. While the finished product is not stained or painted, the concept will allow you to start from the foundation up to make a beautiful construction you can love for years to come. Ron makes this an easy process and shows you how to go from start to finish in just 10 easy steps.

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Each step is accompanied by a video so you can see the process for yourself. Ron even tells you how to check for gas or electrical lines before digging the hole for your first post. This is perfect for the first-time builder.

Keep in mind: You will need a helping hand with this project, or two ideally, when placing the beams on the top of the structure.

2. How to Build a Pergola by the Handmade Home (Free)

pergola by The Handmade Home
The Handmade Home shows you effective way to build a beautiful model and one that is sure to be a great addition to any backyard. What this plan shows you is step-by-step way to a 10 feet high pergola that you and your family will enjoy for years to come.

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What we really like about this project is:

  • A very neat listing of all the supplies you will need.
  • Easy to follow steps.
  • Most of the project can be done alone.

Keep in mind: The finished product is beautiful and will really get your creative juices flowing.

3. Instructions to Vineyard Version by Real Cedar (Free)

vineyard pergola from Real Cedar

Real Cedar provides an amazing plan that provides a three roof design that is stunning. You can follow the plans here. We really love the final design of these, but they are not as easy to follow as our previous two choices.

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Here are 3 main reasons why:

  • The steps are short and to the point.
  • There are no accompanying videos.
  • This is more of a blueprint than a tutorial.

If you are a handyman with experience, these schemes are simply amazing and you will be able to follow them. For the first-timer, this may be a little out of your comfort zone.

4. How to Build a Pergola Over a Deck by DIY Network (Free)

instructions for pergola from DIY Network

This is a moderate project that will require you to have some previous experience with building. This pergola will go over your deck which is amazing, but you will need a lot of help when attaching it to your home like in the instructions.

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This is more of a concept to be followed by an experienced handyman as the instructions are very short in length. If you have help and don’t mind spending hours building your pergola, this is a nice addition to any home that has a deck.

Keep in mind: The writers even add in the average cost of this product, $2,500 – $5,000, so you know what you are up against.

5. Build a Pergola by Lowe´s (Free)

image of Lowe´s pergola

Lowe’s is a home improvement store where you will not only find all the supplies you need for a job, you will also find great deals. Lowe’s also provides a massive plan for an awesome pergola that is very easy to follow.

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We really like this plan because:

  • It includes all the materials you need with links of where to buy them.
    The plan breaks everything down into sections, including: Laying out the site, setting the posts, setting the rafters or installing brace brackets.

The best part is that everything is broken down to the utmost simplicity so you will be able to effectively setup your construction in four parts.

Keep in mind: There are even images to follow so you can fully understand how to get started.

6. Weatherly Pergola by Ana White (Free)

pergola design by Ana White

Ana White is one heck of a builder, and she shows you how to really construct model of your dreams. Ana lists all the tools and supplies you need to get started and then dives right into the project so you can see what is going on.

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This model is 10 – 12 feet high and includes one thing that the others don’t: a beautiful post design!

Keep in mind: The entire project is broken down into easy-to-follow sections, and there is even a PDF version that you can print and follow.

7. DIY Instructions: Pergola Project by DIY Garden Plans (Free)

picture of DIY Garden Plans

Scheme for a 10 x 10 version. The DIY Garden Plans are easy to follow and will provide you with alternatives at the end to make your version customized to your preference.

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The one tricky thing is that you can easily miss the plan pages at the bottom of the page and think that there are really no instructions included.

Please note: These instructions span 5 pages and you will not need to buy the guide at the bottom of the page.

8. Beautiful Pergola Design by Canadian Home Workshop (Free)

practical pergola design by Canadian Home Workshop

This is one of our favorite designs that is nicely laid out for you. The best part is that this is a more sophisticated version that creates a triangle roof that is stunning.

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These plans are the most thorough on our list and include:

  • Tabs for summary, instructions & schemes.
  • A great instruction set that tells you every step to follow to completion.
  • The plan page is perfect and what we like most about these.

Keep in mind: This gives you a visual cue of what you will be building and really helps the project move along smoothly.

9. 11 Stylish Wood Pergola Schemes by Garden Structure ($15.99 – $21.99)

beautiful 11 pergola designs

Garden Structure provides the last plans on our list. These were free, but they are now premium. However, this does not mean they are not worth every penny.

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Garden Structure includes 11 beautiful schemes that you can follow to construct a variety of different models:

  • Double post design
  • Arched walkway with benches
  • Pergola with trelliswork
  • For wedding & events
  • Adaptable version
  • For houses & homes

  • Long & narrow model
  • Construction with deck
  • Arts & crafts
  • Pro version for weddings & events
  • Grand design

Keep in mind: From long pergolas meant for parks, to arched versions and more, this site has everything you need to get started with your building project.

3 Best Sources of Innovative Pergola Designs

Sometimes, you will have the basic idea of your project down so that you can proceed with making your own creation. After all, it is much more invigorating if you can make something that is not the standard design.

The following 3 sources will provide you with a source of innovation:

  • Design Rulz – The ultimate resource. You will find over 40 unique design here that will leave you inspired and really get your creative juices flowing.
  • HGTV – Great design tips everyone should read. These tips include what you can do or include in your design to make it more appealing. There are 16 tips, along with pictures, available here that will help you transform a bland pergola into one that is inviting and beautiful.
  • Atlanta Decking – Beautiful designs created by a professional company. This is a source of inspiration that demonstrates just how amazing this construction can be when designed by a professional. Check it out here!

So, what are you waiting for? It is time to begin the planning process and turn your backyard into an oasis with the help of a beautiful pergola that you built from scratch!