A pergola is a garden structure with a trelliswork roof that creates a shaded passageway, outdoor sitting space, or walkway.
They are built from vertical posts and frequently includes an open lattice for trained vine plants.
The word pergola originates from the Latin “pergula” which loosely refers to a “projecting eave” (Source).
These decorative yard designs are frequently built from wood, though there are fiberglass, vinyl, aluminum and chlorinated polyvinyl chloride (CPVC) options available as well.
Their roofing grid can remain open are be covered with weather-resistant canvas or vinyl sheeting for enhanced outdoor protection. They can also be either freestanding or attach to the side of your house.
Pergolas are often confused with arbors. The difference between a pergola and an arbor is that arbors are generally simpler, smaller structures, generally with curved arches and are almost always freestanding.
Regardless, we’ve compiled a list of the 61 best pergola design plans below. Scroll through and choose a woodworking project to build, or simply get inspiration to custom-create your own innovative design.
There are designs that house an outdoor kitchen island, integrate a handsome porch swing, are planted on outdoor decks, sit beside pools with plant hangers, and overhang a garage door to provide a decorative architectural element to a traditionally generic driveway.
This magnificent freestanding pergola with a canopy is ideal for large lawns or backyards. It serves two functions – a shade for you and a place for your climbing plants to thrive. What distinguishes it from other pergolas out there is the retractable canopy that you can fold up easily when you don’t need it.
To built this beautiful cedar pergola, you need a circular saw if you are using 1-1/2″ thick lumber or 12″miter saw for thicker wood.
This outdoor round pergola with a roof top is an excellent choice for climbing plants such as wisteria. It looks very fancy, and it’s easy to build because scethup.com provides detailed pergola plants and a 3D view.
For people who lack a large yawn or don’t want to bother with complicated constructions, this pergola attached to the house might be just the thing. It has a roof that will provide plenty of shade for your and your plants during the hot summer days.
Again, sketchup.com offers you easy to follow plans how to construct this attached pergola.
This 10 x 10 pergola is a great choice for amateurs. The Beautiful Mess website gives you step by step instruction for everything including what kinds of herb you can use to repel insects and whether or not you’ll need a builder’s permit. The builder recommends that you use pre-treated materials if you are not going to paint the pergola so that it could withstand harsh weather.
Thanks to these pergola plans available from ana-white.com you can have a fancy pergola to enjoy in your yard. What distinguishes it from other garden pergolas is the attached seating area. It might seem difficult to build at first, but there are plenty of elaborated instructions on the building process so you shouldn’t have a problem.
The most important thing you have to remember about this wooden pergola with a roof is that it needs a stable foundation.
This simple pergola is a DIY project that you can complete during the weekend with inexpensive materials. If you want something fancier, you can easily customize it with additional decorative details or paint afterward. There are instructions on how to dig the foundations properly, but you will need help to place the beam pieces correctly so don’t start the project alone.
A trellislike pergola is a combination between a pergola and a planter. It has four boxes around the post, which you can use to plant flowers. You can have it ready in two or three weeks, but you won’t be able to build it by yourself, so make sure that you have helpers ready.
The provided plans are for a 16 x 20 feet wooden pergola, and you can make it from pressure-treated wood, redwood or cedar.
This walk-through garden pergola will be a nice addition to any backyard with its unique design. It’s sturdy and strong, and it can accommodate a lot of climbing plants and vines.
What you will love about it are the detailed instructions complemented with pictures that walk you through everything you need to do.
This modern pergola has a unique box-type design with rafters forming rows of square boxes. It’s made from treated dressed pine, which you can easily find on the market. The rafters have decorative ends that are secured with galvanized nails. It’s perfect if you want to create a shade over your porch.
This freestanding pergola shade is made of redwood, and it will cover an area of 96 square feet (8 x 12 feet), but you can customize it to your preference by adding additional louvers and most. But the rafters shouldn’t span more than 6 feet.
If you want, you can build this pergola shelter next to your house to keep your home cooler in the summer.
This freestanding garden pergola has a 10 x 10 feet base, but the plans allow you to modify it to any size your want. For an 8 x 8 wooden pergola, the beams and crossbeams will be 10 feet, while for a larger (12 x 12 pergola) the beams will measure 14 feet. There is a handy pergola building guide and detailed schematics so that it won’t be difficult even for an amateur to build this garden structure.
If you want to add style and architectural character to your garden, you can try this simple wooden pergola. The plans are for a 6 x 8 feet pergola with 4×4’ rafters, which are pressure-treated for durability and longevity.
Since the overhangs of the pergola extend up to 20 inches, take that into account when you choose a building spot. And keep in mind that the network of rafters and beams over little protection against the sun.
This unique style pergola will provide shade to your patio or wood deck. It features classic columns which support a wooden lattice framework that dapples the light.
The columns are not that hard to build as you might think because you are not going to make them – they are hollow-core and precast. Despite that, this is a complex pergola project, and it will take a couple of weekends.
What’s unique about this design is that the pergola structure has four sets of louvered panels, which are attached to the frame with lag screws. Another thing that catches the eye is the fact that the louvers’ tracks run in different directions. This allows better sunlight control.
If you have a deck or a patio that gets too sunny in the summer, then this backyard pergola with a bench is perfect for you. It has adjustable roof panels so that you can control the amount of light. Moreover, it’s made from cedar with 4×4 feet posts. If you want something fancier, you can use a jigsaw to cut decorative ends on the rafters.
You can use these step-by-step instructions provided by hgtv.com to build a backyard wood pergola. This one has 4 x 4 pressure-treated posts and evenly-spaced stringers perpendicular to the beams.
If you want, you can add decorative elements both to the joist beam and the stringers. You’ll also need 3″ lag bolts to attach the beams to the posts. Better looking than a standard white-vinyl, premade pergola, it’s an easy, rustic option.
This classic freestanding pergola shade offers a sitting area for relaxation and protection against direct sun rays. You can add furniture to transform it into a dining area or a lounge. The builder recommends that you use cedar, pressure-treated lumber, or Sienna Brown treated wood, which is his choice. He also uses Thompson’s wood protector products to protect the construction from UV damage and harsh weather conditions.
You might build this deck pergola to cover the entire deck or only a portion of it. In contrast to other pergolas, this one has a checkered wooden frame instead of boards. Moreover, some of the squares have lattice woodwork. Depending on the amount of sunlight you want, you can add a lattice to every square or only in the corners.
These plans work for building both an arbor and a pergola. There is a minor difference between the two – an arbor is usually connected to the house, while a pergola is a freestanding structure, but the techniques are the same. For extra shade, you can add vines or a latch (1 x 2s, 2s x 2s).
This Japanese-style pergola is suitable for people who have rich experience in woodworking. It features a roof with support beams with shade elements. You can space as wide as you want, depending on how much shade you need. You can make it from cedar, redwood or pine, which are perfect for a humid environment. For a fancier look, you can also build brick and stone walls around the perimeter.
This pergola design shows you how to build a pergola on a patio- as if from a kit. If you wish, you can adjust the size and the design to suit your needs. For this patio pergola, you have to set the posts (8 pieces of 4×4 feet) into concrete using a batter board and a string and to space the rafters equally. Another unique thing about this pergola shade is that there are lattice woodworks between the posts.
This extra large pergola measures 12 x 24 feet, and it has six support beams made from 2 x 10 feet lumber. If you want something unique, you can add slats to the rafters. Apply paint or stain to the components to protect them from damage. Also, find someone to help you do the heavy lifting.
These free pergola plans are for a basic pergola construction, which measures 10 x 10 feet. You can choose between 4×4 or 6×6 posts depending on the size you want or modify the plan according to your taste. Here, both the support beams and the shade elements have decorative ends to add character to your pergola building.
This pergola design shows you how to build a pergola with a swing in details. Unlike other pergola shades, this one has railings on the sides, a floor frame, and flooring. After you have built this simple pergola, you can add the swing bench so that you can have a nap in the afternoon.
These plans for a pergola on a concrete slab are very detailed and easy to follow. The builder uses 2×6 feet redwood lumber, and his pergola design has a wooden deck attached to the concrete slab. He also shows you how to install grass around the pergola with an irrigation system in place.
This redwood backyard pergola has six panels with 29 louvers each, three with 24 louvers, and one panel with 16, so it will take you a while to build it and attach everything. But the finished pergola with a wooden deck looks impressive, and it’s ideal for a large garden or a backyard.
This garden arbor pergola has eight 4×4 posts, in contrast to other models which have only four posts. It’s relatively large, but it doesn’t take long to build after you have placed the posts. This garden pergola is also strong enough to support four Lady Banks, and you can add hanging hooks for plants.
If you want a pergola with a unique design, then this is the one for you. It has a multi-use space, which you can use as a couch or lay out plates and cups. This modern pergola is constructed from Western Red cedar, and it has a custom-made rafter tail design.
If you don’t want to bother with complex pergola plans and you have only basic woodworking knowledge, this simple backyard pergola is just what you need. The builder uses Google Sketch software to design his wooden pergola shade, and he advises that you do the same. There is also a video of the building process for your convenience.
This outdoor pergola is situated on a concrete slab, and it’s perfect if you want to create a comfortable outdoor space for your evenings and movie nights. Another thing you’ll notice about this pergola design is that there are two layers of lattice boards, with the second one running perpendicular to the first.
You can build this simple redwood 8×10 pergola in just eight steps. It has a traditional basic pergola design with nothing fancy. Since the rafters dapple the light, you can plant grape vines next to it if you want a nice shade in your garden.
This is not a full-sized pergola, but a trellis. Its purpose is to allow climbing plants to grow over garage doors and add a distinguished look to your home. It’s not a complicated structure, and you can have it ready in just 14 steps.
You are not sure how to build a pergola in your backyard or what style will suit you best? Then what you need is this pergola building guide which gives you 12 invaluable tips when it comes to building a pergola.
This Instructables vinyl-covered Pergola attaches to an outdoor deck patio providing shade for family events. The builder lives in Cyprus, Greece and says that sun protection is essential. A pergola with a roof, you can cover it with vinyl or a Weather-resistant fabric.
This Pergola arbor seat was built to exist in an apple orchard. The builder designed it for his wife who wanted a meditative space for quiet contemplation outside. The instruction plans walk you through how to create the uprights, the latticed backs, the seat back, the sides, the seat base, and the roof. Prospective builders comment that they’ve seen similar looking builds at their elderly relatives homes
This build comes from South Africa. A new property owner wanted an entertainment area outdoors.
He was looking for a way to create a shaded, semi-enclosed area where he and his friends could cook, party, drink, laugh and enjoy themselves while getting at least partial protection from the sun.
They laid out a concrete slab as a foundation for their backyard pergola and used CAD computer software to help create a comprehensive blueprint for the structure’s construction. Because wood in South Africa is apparently very expensive, they took eight weeks to perform all of the measurements and designs to ensure nothing went to waste.
This upcycled wood pergola was built from a demolished deck. The woodworker wanted to make it on the cheap. He was able to pick up all of the scrap lumber for free, but did have to spend a long time extracting all of the nails and screws from the lumber.
They decided to install this option on their outdoor deck where a preassembled gazebo had been situated for number of years. The roof eves’ beams have cut off ends that fill the gaps and hide the hangers and it’s strung up with Christmas lights that provide attractive evening ambiance for backyard barbecue cookouts.
This rustic pergola is made out of ash, hazel, and willow wood. All of its components are sourced from the builder’s local area and the only tools he used were wood screws, rope, a post hole digger, and a spirit level. Indeed it is unique for it simplicity- appearing like a variety of branches strong together with rope and decked out with a dreamcatcher wind chime and weather vane.
If you’re looking for a metal option, this steel Pergola is designed for a kiwis and grapes. The maker says that it is also an arbor that can support other types of plants. This flat top structure has narrow lines and can serve both functional and decorative purposes.
The Lowe’s deck pergola with plant hangers is a heavily customizable option that has a modern appeal with its exposed bolts and cables. It’s identified as an advanced skill level plan that takes one weekend to build and will cost under $500 in total.
You’ll need to have a couple of tools handy including a circular or compound miter saw, drill and bit set, as well as some treated lumber. The image shows a pergola designed to fit a 12′ x 14′ deck but Lowes’ instructions help you to customize it to fit your property.
They advise woodworkers to contact a local utility company to ensure that when you dig the post footings that you don’t intercept any buried lines and pipes.
Since you’ll be working with pressure-treated lumber, they also advise that you take some safety precautions including wearing a dust mask and goggles to avoid exposure to unhealthy chemicals. Indeed, this is a particularly professional and attractive looking option.
If you want a video walkthrough, this design comes with a helpful instructional video guide. The printable instructions cover how to build out this shady structure and even customize its dimensions for the best fit.
We found that the instructions were particularly helpful with the initial difficulty of installing vertical posts that are all the same height.
Indeed, the thorough design plans provided by Mother Earth News cover the installation of the pergola posts, how to make pyramid cuts, how to place the cross beams, shaping the lap joints, raising the roof boards, installing the lattice panels, and applying the finish.
They used peeled polls from foraged wood, though they remarked that this can be a little bit difficult because this found wood can be irregularly shaped.
Mother Earth News provides instructions for assembling a rustic Pergola that is complemented by a potting table and bench. They describe wanting to create a structure that their plants can clamber up, saying they used grapevine, ash wood, and twisty apple limbs to make this ornamental option.
They were able to find some trash wood to use as well, saying that eastern or western, white or red cedar are good options because they are an elastic and tough type of wood with aromatic resin that naturally repels molds and insects.
This 12 x 24 Pergola is provided by My Outdoor Plans. It’s a large outdoor option that requires careful planning to ensure the posts are properly placed.
My Outdoor Plans provides a design for an attached pergola. In this case, it is attached to a house. They recommend you examine different designs and styles before embarking on this woodworking project to find one that matches your requirements.
This patio pergola is a backyard option designed to jazz up your outdoor area. It’s perfect for recreational use, though My Outdoor Plans cautions that you’ll need to judiciously place it, otherwise there could be negative landscaping consequences.
It makes sense to do your homework prior to beginning one of these woodworking projects- there are so many different styles available to choose from that many builders often decide to mix-and-match elements from different design plans.
The materials list helpfully includes all of the different items you’ll need to assemble this particular pergola, including wooden posts, support beams, carriage bolts, shading elements, screws, slats, braces, and footings. They cautioned that if your home is in a particularly windy area, you might need to embed the posts in concrete or even lock down the entire structure with braces.
Popular Mechanics provide step-by-step instructions for this cedar pergola, even including 3-D animation and what they describe as master-level blueprints.
Discussing the particular appeal of these garden structures, they say that though the open roof doesn’t protect from rain and the wind, and not even hot afternoon sun, the fact that it lacks a roof and walls decoratively embellishes an outdoor area rather than detract from it.
It is an exceptionally unique architectural construction that when done right can truly embellish the look and feel of a garden- and this is why they were so popular in Italian Renaissance gardens where they often functioned as covered walkways or grape arbors.
This particular option will fit into an 8 ft.²-though they say you can modify it to take up more or less space. Popular Mechanics walks you through how to install the posts, attach the support beams, add the cross beams, fit the top slats, and cap the posts.
Real Cedar has a cheeky build- it’s entitled the Manly Louvered Pergola. They helpfully link to different download options you can print out including one option for corner bracing, one option for custom brackets and a SketchUp file for a three-dimensional perspective.
This western red cedar option includes bench seating and is marketed as a defining enhancement for an outdoor living area. It has an L-shaped layout that is two level.
The downloadable PDF provides comprehensive instructions for assembling the main pergola, the seating area and the bench. A helpful video walk-through provides additional feedback for woodworkers looking to embark on this fun, DIY project.
This Vineyard Pergola has somewhat of a different design. It is an elongated, rectangular option, in contrast to the Square designs we’ve typically seen. You can download a PDF file and print out the instructions which include a comprehensive material list, recommended tools and clearly delineated instructions to help you assemble this unique-looking option.
RemodelAholic provides a tutorial for this stunning option. This open-air build is designed to encircle a fire pit, with six garden swings hanging from eaves. It will be expensive to build, with the material cost of $1,300 which includes purchasing the porch swings, Adirondack chairs, and string lights.
In addition, because they rented woodworking equipment, they ended up spending around $2300 in total. One of the more important aspects with this design is preparing the outdoor area because it includes the additional design consideration of a fire pit in at its center.
Rona provides a template for this basic-style weekend project pergola, saying it’s ideal to shade a walkway, complement a backyard deck, or situate in a garden for the benefit of plants. You can even try hanging flower pots from it.
When it comes to constructing a freestanding pergola, they recommend you contact your local building office to see if you require a permit or not. As well, it’s recommended that if you are drilling posts, that you connect with local utility companies to ensure you won’t be cutting into any important underground connections.
Another unique option, this outdoor kitchen pergola provides a shaded area as well as a work island for food preparation and serving.
The countertop includes a sink as well as drawers and cabinets- the countertop can accommodate a miniature refrigerator as well as an icemaker. Built from resilient cedar this outdoor cooking station is a unique build and perfect for backyard barbecues and parties.
The downloadable blueprints run to 14 pages and provide comprehensive instructions regarding the tools and materials that you need, a cutting list and articulate assembly directions.
Ron Hazleton’s website is a home-improvement resource that provides instructions for creating a freestanding, hurricane-resistant pergola that can be tucked away in the corner of your yard.
He recommends designing it with enough interior spaciousness that you can accommodate garden furniture and perhaps even a hot tub. His instructions will walk you through assessing for electric, water and gas lines prior to inserting posts into the ground.
As well, a video guide walks you through aligning the back corner stake, tying markers down to figure out post positions, marking post holes, digging the post holes with a post hole digger, pouring in the dry concrete mix, attaching temporary supports, installing the carriage bolts, and finally attaching the cross beams with hurricane-grade clips.
Ron Hazleton has got you covered if you want to construct a pergola over your patio. This design has a semi-open roof that provides sun protection from the summer heat waves using three different layers of interlocking roof beams.
Ryobi Tools provides instructions for a particularly decorative Pergola that includes a hanging garden swing, as well as storage shelving.
Sunset.com lays out guidelines for creating this attractive wooden trellis designed to accommodate some Adirondack chairs- it’s an 8 ft.² option designed to be a relaxing complement to your outdoor space.
Design Confidential provides free woodworking plans to assemble a classically modern pergola. They estimate that it will cost between 200 and $300 to build this outdoor structure.
A somewhat sedate option compared with the other fancier alternatives we’ve seen, it’s built using a tape measurer, a jigsaw, a drill, square, sander, a nail gun and a kreg jig. This DIY furniture plan includes the finished dimensions, the tools you’ll need to build it, the lumber measurements you’ll need, a full materials list that includes carriage bolts, deck screws, rafter ties, wood filler, paste wax and finishing supplies.
They recommend that you pre-finish and pre-drill the lumber to ensure the finished product is watertight and that it assembles easily. In terms of selecting the best wood for this outdoor project, they recommend you go with either redwood or cedar to ensure the lifetime durability of the structure.
If you want to get fancier, you can use a jigsaw on the outer edges of the rafters to carve designs and ornament your pergola. This plan has very specific instructions regarding pergola post footing options, helping you figure out how to dig the footing holes, treat and lift the posts, aligning them evenly and securely so that they withstand the outdoor elements for the long-term.
The Handmade Home has a motto “love where are you dwell” and as part of their Backyard Bliss series provides instructions ‘how to build a pergola’. These handy homeowners decided to start their project in the winter so that it will be ready for the warmer weather in the spring and summer. They used southern pine and provide a thorough review of the different sizing considerations particularly because of their tricky backyard set up. As you can see in the image, two of the posts are planted in the lawn while the rear two are against the house on the cement foundation that had previously been laid.
If you have a garage door that you want to ornament with the pergola, This Old House has you covered. They use pressure-treated lumber and milled brackets to construct an attractive canopy over a garage door. Many people, they say, disregard garage door entrances, but with a little know how you can add some architectural splendor to this typically generic entryway point.
The Workbench Magazine provides the means to assemble a pergola awning. This is a different style option, obviously, with the structure hanging over a back patio door rather than standing on support poles. An ornamental and attractive accouterment you can add to your home, it may be less practical and functional than other options we’ve seen.
My Outdoor Plans provides instructions for an 8 x 8 pergola. It’s advertised as a relatively easy to build option of that isn’t too expensive.
Having analyzed so many different project plans, we’ve isolated some of the more frequent questions and concerns prospective workers have.
Take a look and file them away- it’s best to consider these questions prior to starting the project so that your finished build will meet your needs.
That’s the list. Let us know in the comments section below if you’ve decided to build one of these projects. We’d love to see it and will feature it on this post if you build it. In our estimation, while it’s convenient to buy a ready made aluminum or steel option from Wayfair, Amazon or Home Depot, constructing your own can be a deeply rewarding and fun experience.