How to build a pergola frame

Jason
View the video

Project Overview

We’ll show you how to put up a sturdy pergola, from digging the holes, to framing the structure and installing the rafters. We’ll show you how to do it safely, so it’s all squared off and built to last.

Continue to step-by-step instructions
This D.I.Y. Advice is part of a series How to build a pergola
rafter
View the video
00:14
×

How to make a rafter template

If you need to cut beams and rafters around your gutters, you can get it right every time. Make a rafter template using a piece of plywood and a gutter bracket. Trace the side profile of the gutter bracket onto some plywood and cut it out. You can now use this template to trace onto your beams and rafters, so they fit neatly around your gutters.

Step by Step Instructions

1 Prepare your post holes
2 Cut and install the wailing plate
3 Make a profile cut for your rafters
4 Preparing the upright post
5 Attach external beams and rafters
  • Step 1. Prepare your post holes

    Dig the holes in the ground for your posts, following the approved plans. Then place the post stirrups into the middle of the hole. Now fill up the hole with concrete to the base of the post stirrup, about 50-60mm below the stirrup top. Repeat the process for all of the posts and wait for the concrete to dry.
  • Step 2. Cut and install the wailing plate

    Measure and cut the wailing plate to size, which will be connected to the fascia. Get someone else to help you fix the plate into position on your fascia with nails and screws. Use large bugle screws to screw through the fascia into the house rafters to give you maximum support.   
  • Step 3. Make a profile cut for your rafters

    Create a template of your gutter profile and use this to cut the ends for all of your rafters. This way the rafters will fit neatly against your gutters. Use a jigsaw to make the cut cleanly. Coat the raw timber where you have cut with a primer to protect the wood. Your rafters are now ready to be installed.   
  • Step 4. Preparing the upright post

    To make sure the post supports the rafter weight, measure and make a precise cut out of the size of the rafter within the post. Use your circular saw and hand saw to make the cuts, but don’t overcut them or you could weaken the post. Next measure the distance between the stirrup and the rafter and cut the post to length with your circular saw. Place the post in the stirrup, and use the spirit level to make sure it is straight. Then bolt the post into the stirrup. Temporarily brace the post while you measure, cut and bolt the other posts in. 
  • Step 5. Attach external beams and rafters

    Once you have put all the posts in, you’re ready to put up the external beam. Secure it to the framework with extra screws to hold the rafters in place. Add a length of wood, called a cleat, underneath your outside beams to hold the rafters in place. Attach the ends of the rafters to the beams using large bugle screws. You’ll also need to use a universal bracket on each side of the rafter and the wailing plate, with proprietary nails for added strength. Take the cleat off and your pergola is ready to paint and finish.

Tools and Materials

Tools

  • Circular saw
  • Clamps
  • Electric drill
  • Hammer
  • Hand saw
  • Jigsaw
  • Ladder
  • Pencil
  • Spirit level
  • Tape measure
  • Wheelbarrow

Materials

  • Concrete
lay decking 02:46

Decking How to lay decking You can make the most of your outdoors and add real value to your home with a deck. We’ll take you through the steps involved in laying merbau decking.

Choosing the right finish for your deck

Decking How to choose decking oil, paint or stain for your deck Choosing the perfect finish for your deck becomes lot simpler when you understand the differences between what’s on offer. Feast Watson takes us through some of the best finishes to suit all design desires—whether it’s matte, glossy, natural or colo...

A deck with lunge chair over looking a backyard

Decking Composite decking vs wood: The benefits of composite decking If you’re looking to install a new outdoor deck at home, or even refresh what you already have, you may want to consider installing composite decking boards instead of timber boards. Elton from Ekodeck explains some of the benefits of choosing compo...

good times decking.jpg

Decking Decking buying guide: modular decking systems Using a prefabricated modular decking system is a great way to enhance your outdoor space, big or small. The team at Good Times share more information about why you should buy one.

A deck with a family sitting on it

Decking Why choose HardieDeck? If you’re looking for a durable and low maintenance decking , you can’t go past HardieDeck™.

Person cleaning the deck with high pressure water cleaner 02:46

Decking How to choose and maintain decking for a beach house An outdoor deck is a great spot for entertaining. We’ll show you how to choose the right materials and finishing, and give you some maintenance tips.

clean deck 02:08

Decking How to clean a deck There’s nothing like giving your deck a thorough clean to bring it back to life.

outdoor decking

Decking Seven different deck design ideas A deck is a popular and easy way to extend your living area to the outdoors. Check out these seven different deck ideas from Bunnings Warehouse.

Close up of a vertical garden setting

Outdoor Living How to create a balcony garden Want to create a garden, herb garden or veggie garden on your balcony? Follow our steps to choose the best plants for your balcony and add some greenery to your home.

Protect your pillows and cushions 02:10

Outdoor Living How to protect outdoor furniture The winter rain and summer sun can take its toll on your outdoor furniture. But there are some simple things you can do to keep it looking good and last longer.

outdoor setting

Outdoor Living Get summertime ready When the sun’s out in force, we just want to get out there and enjoy it, but you don’t want to be stuck in the middle of nowhere without supplies. Here are a few essentials to get you sorted.

small space

Outdoor Living How to decorate a small backyard Small backyards can be great to entertain in, especially as the weather gets warmer and the days get longer. Check out these great ways to make your outdoors the place to be this party season.

outdoor table with drink coolers 04:48

Outdoor Living D.I.Y. outdoor table with built-in drinks cooler Learn how easy it is to make an outdoor table with a built-in drinks cooler that can become the focal point for all your get-togethers. Learn more here.

playground

Outdoor Living Create your own playground at home With a bit of imagination and some D.I.Y., you can set up a whole world of fun and adventure for the kids in your own backyard. Whatever size space you have, check out these great ideas that will get the kids outdoors and active.

outdoor setting

Outdoor Living How to choose the perfect outdoor setting The right furniture can transform any outdoor space to a more liveable area, but how do you choose. Find out with this guide from Bunnings Warehouse.

completed pallet bar in backyard 03:40

Outdoor Living D.I.Y. wooden pallet wine bar This rustic-looking pallet bar will look great in your backyard or your home when you’re entertaining family and friends.

Health & Safety

Please make sure you use all equipment appropriately and safely when following the advice in these D.I.Y. videos. You need to be familiar with how to use equipment safely and follow the instructions that came with the equipment. If you are unsure, you may feel it is safest to consult an expert, such as the manufacturer or an expert Bunnings Team Member.

Grave health hazards are linked to asbestos, which may be in homes built up to 1990. Health hazards may result from exposure to lead-based paints in older materials and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page. You can also use a simple test kit from Bunnings to indicate the presence of lead-based paint.
Top of the content