Something Eric has been wanting to do is build a pergola over the gate in the backyard. He wanted to make the area stand out more, so why not build a pergola. I liked the idea (of-course) because the 4×4 post that was holding our gate before were not very sturdy. They would move the fence every time you opened or closed the gate. So this whole section would need to be redone, see how we installed new post. And this is the simple process we used to build a fence pergola.
But because I can NEVER wait to show you the finished product, how about an after picture? This is after applying the stain.
What do you think? Does it make the gate stand out? What do you like or don’t? I like how simple the pergola is! Now, why don’t I share with you how we built a pergola fence.
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HOW TO BUILD A FENCE PERGOLA
First, we installed some new posts for the pergola and here is what our fence looked like after.
BUILD A GATE PERGOLA
At this point, we took our tape measure and measured the distance between the two posts (measure the top! ours was 48.25 inches). TIP: If the posts are not the same height or taller than you want, they can be cut (we had to do this). After getting the distance, we added the measurement of the post (3.5 inches) then an 8″ overhang for both sides (it would be 23 inches extra, ours was 71.25 inches). This is the measurement to cut the 2×6 board, remember you need to cut two of them.
Once the 2×6 board was cut, we marked an end of the board to give us the design we wanted. We marked 1.5 inches from the top edge and 6 inches in from the bottom edge of the board. Then we took a ruler (scrap board) and connected the two marks, this gave us our cut line. We used our circular saw to cut along the line. TIP ON CUTTING: Place some 2×4 pieces under the board (longer side up) sometimes it helps to have someone hold the other end of the board while cutting.
Now with the piece that we just cut from the 2×6 board (it’s a triangle), we used this as our template to mark the other 3 edges. We made sure to place it at the right edge and cut along the line toward the 2×6 main board. Will look like this when done.
After cutting, we could now install the 2×6 boards to the posts, this is a TWO person job! Before placing the boards we made a line on the inside of the board 8 inches in on both sides (this is extra after the post). We placed the ladder between the post. Then taking one of the 2×6 boards, two clamps, and a level; we climbed the ladder. Our posts were not the same length, so we placed one side of the 2×6 board onto the lower post. We adjusted the board until we could see the 8-inch mark right against the post and the top of the post/2×6 were level. Then we clamped that side together.
We then moved to the other side (Eric was holding this side the whole time almost in place). This time we used our level because the post was not the same length as the other post. We checked the 8 inch mark and the level, then we clamped the board into place. We then carefully took a step back to make sure we liked the look.
Before I continued, I want to address the longer post we had. We decided to add both the 2×6 boards then mark were to cut the post. But save yourself some time and mark the post before even attaching the first board (do it after clamping). Once we marked the post, we took our square and marked all the sides. Then we took our Sawzall (circular saw would work) and cut along the line. I did take the orbital sander to the top after too. But now the post is the right height.
Back to installing the boards. Once we were happy with it, we took our drills, square, and deck screws (we actually used 3.5″ on this part because we had them on hand) up the ladder. Normally we would just eye-ball the screws but we wanted them to be in a line. So I took the square and marked 3 spots inside the middle of the post. I remembered the distance between each screw to be able to mark them the exact same on the other side. Then we drilled into the marked spots with a 1/8″ bit, after we attached the screws. We did this for the other side also. Then removed the clamps (it will hold with one or two screws if you need to remove them before).
After installing the first board, we installed the second the same way this time we adjusted the screws by about 1/4 inch to make sure they would not be placed in the same spot as the other side. Here is our pergola at this point.
For the top of the pergola, we decided we wanted the boards to be 2″x2″x24″ and 6 inches apart. So for ours, we would need 8 boards. We decided to use a 2″x4″x8ft board because we could cut it in half down the middle to give us about a 2×2 board. Also, we could get all 8 boards out of the one board. We cut the 2×4 into four pieces (we cut them to 23 7/8 inches) then we ripped them in half with a table saw (we used a neighbor!).
Next, we found the center of the 2×6 boards, then measured 3 inches to each side. To make things even easier, I created a template from some scrap wood to have one be 6 inches (distance between the 2×2) and another one was 8.5 inches (distance from the 2×6 board to the end of the 2×2). I then placed the 6-inch template between the two marked spots. Placed one 2×2 on one side of the 6-inch template, then I used the 8.5-inch template to adjust the front of the 2×2.
Once everything was spaced correctly, we pre-drilled two holes to attach the 2×2 to the 2×6’s. We then used the 3-inch screws to attach them into place. I continued this same process for the rest of the 2×2’s. And our pergola looked like this after we were finished.
What do you think? Do you want your own pergola over a gate? We are really liking the look and it was simple to create. But want about the cost? Well here is our cost breakdown (we took out the cost of our 3 posts):
4″x4″ boards – $24
2″x6″ boards – $11
2″x4″ board – $8
3″ deck screws – $10.50
concrete tube form – $23
concrete bags – $10
gravel – $4
water – FREE
scrap boards – FREE
Not a bad price for a custom pergola!!
And that is the process we used to build a pergola over a gate! Anyone one else up for this adventure?
Find the other tutorials on Rebuilding A Cedar Fence:
Re-bracing Fence – PART 1
Installing Cedar Pickets – PART 2
Installing Post for Gate – PART 3
Building A Gate Pergola – PART 4 (THIS POST)
Building Gate – PART 5
Staining Fence – PART 6
Total Cost to Rebuild Fence – PART 7
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