I searched the Internet for buy and sell pages in my area and found someone who had torn down their old deck and was offering up the pieces for free. There was so much different types of wood there I figured my pergola was in there somewhere.
I spent a few weeks going through each piece and pulling nails, and unscrewing or prying out screws to get enough clean pieces to use.
My dad had recently built a pergola so I asked him to come to town and help me with this project.
Step 1: Choose an Area
I already knew where I wanted the pergola to go as we had used a self assembled gazebo here in the past. I measured how wide the space was from the edge of the overhang to the outer edge of the deck rail so I could be sure to find pieces that were the length I wanted. I then had to decide and measure how far down the deck the pergola would go, measured that length and then divided by 16" to determine the number of beams I would need.
Step 2: Pick Your Pieces
I had acquired a disassembled deck on Kijiji for free, so I had piles of lumber to choose from. I managed to find just enough pieces to complete my pergola. 10-2"x6"x8' (these were actually closer to 11' but I only needed 8', we use the cutoff pieces for between the beams later on), 3-4"x4"x8', 2-4"x4"x6'
Step 3: Prepare the Pieces
I'm not keen on being up on a ladder or having a paint brush with stain dangling over my head so I laid out all my pieces and decided to stain them before assembling. This way I could also be sure not to miss any spots. Because this lumber was previously a deck there were a lot of open holes from screws and nails. Staining before putting the pergola together allowed for me to force stain into these holes, and hopefully prevent too much water damage down the road.
Step 4: Assembling the Pieces
The first thing we did was assemble and secure the supports and crossbeam along the railing. For this we used the 3-4"x4"x8' poles, secured with metal footings to the deck boards, and to the railing with an L-bracket. The crossbeam was 2-4"x4"x6' poles fastened together over the center support pole.
We then screwed in the hangers. For this part we only measured, and snapped a chalk line across the roof eves to be sure the hangers for the beams would sit an inch above the bottom edge.
Once the hangers were hung, the beams went up, one end sitting in the hanger and the other on top of the support crossbeam. The beams were tapped into place to butt up against the roof eves as much as possible (a slight angle was cut to try to match the end of the beam with the angle of the roof eves for a flush placement) and screwed into place. We then screwed the L-brackets into the side of every beam where it lined up over the support crossbeam. We measured an equal spacing between each beam, about 16", and screwed the L-bracket into the support crossbeam to secure them.
Step 5: Finish
Between each beam at the roof eve we used the cutoff ends to fill the gaps and hide the hangers. The spacing wasn't exactly the same so we had to measure and cut every piece to fit.
I ordered some Christmas lights from the local hardware store, purchased an electric hanging heater for over the dining table, upgraded our BBQ, added some plants and we were done!
We love the atmosphere it brings! My only costs were the screws, brackets and paint (nevermind the decorating accessories).