Introduction: Garden Steel Pergola - for Kiwi and Grape

About: I am an engineer in high tech. I like to make things. ( many of which are not high tech :) )

A pergola is a flat top structure that can act an arbor to support plants. Sometimes used as shade or for decoration. I decided to build one out of steel as I like the narrow lines and like to weld. I am pretty well over that now... It took a bit longer than I anticipated....

I noticed several of the pics have brands showing. These are not intended as recommendation of any particular brand or source.

Step 1: Design, Materials, Tools

I settled on the design in the picture. It was design #5 of 5.. The dimensions of the top are 10' x 10' as steel comes in 20' lengths, and the area I was going to place the pergola called for about that size. Height was still a variable, so I ordered enough steel for eight 10' legs (2 per corner). I also decided to do the whole thing with 1"x2" box.

I went with .065 inch steel as I didn't really need lots of strength, and it cost 1/2 as much( as 1/8th), but it was more difficult to weld and is a bit more fragile and prone to burn through when welding in the breeze outside. The final structure is very strong - easily supports me.

Step 2: The Top

This is the assembly of the top flat design of the pergola - squares inside squares. Assembly of this section was the easy part as I could work at ground level.

Step 3: Place and Level

This was definitely the biggest structureI had tried to weld. The upper pattern flat part was easy, but I decided i could not pre-attach the legs then move it without fear of tumbling disaster. My solution was to build a temporary wood scaffold to hold the top both level and in position, then attach the legs in place. Not sure it was the best solution, but it did work.

Step 4: Legging

Attach the legs, make sure they are vertical, and anchor them.

Step 5: Finishing the Structure and Welds

I decided to add little cross braces - looks and strength. Then cleaned up all my welds on the tops of legs.

Step 6: Paint, and Done

Painted black, and done!. If you want to see it covered with vines and fruit, check back in ~ two years.

Summer 2008 Pergola Project

Step 7: Ten Years Later