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How to Build a Wall-Leaning Pergola

A simple lean-to pergola over a seating area provides a soothing, shaded area to any outdoor space. Learn how to accent your garden with these easy steps.

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Finished Wall Leaning Pergola

This style of pergola, sometimes known as a lean-to, is ideal for when you wish to create an area of shade or shelter directly adjacent to a house or other wall. It is fairly easy to construct, with fewer posts to erect than with a freestanding pergola. The overhead beams can either be attached to a wooden wall plate — a length of lumber bolted to the wall — or inserted into special metal fittings, called joist hangers, screwed into the brickwork.

Keep in mind that joist hangers are best used on sound, flat brickwork. On the other hand, wooden wall plates are best for worn surfaces, and provide a more secure and safer mount.

Materials and tools needed:

set square
hammer or mallet
club hammer
marking pegs
string
driving tool
level
drill
screwdriver
power drill
5 metal joist hangers
wall anchors
5 wooden rafters, 2 wooden posts, 1 wooden beam; all must be treated
dome-head galvanized screws with washers
locating screws

1. Determine where the two freestanding posts will be.

Mark the wall directly opposite, and at the correct height: this is where the first two joist hangers will go. Space the other three evenly at precisely the same height, and mark the position of their screw holes as well.

Determine Where Joist Hanger Should Be On Wall

Courtesy of DK - Arches & Pergolas © 2000 Dorling Kindersley Limited

2. Drill the screw holes in all the positions marked.

Use a power drill and, where possible, drill into a mortar joint, which is easier than drilling directly into brick.

Use Power Drill with Masonry Bit to Secure Hanger

Courtesy of DK - Arches & Pergolas © 2000 Dorling Kindersley Limited

3. Create a firm grip for the screw.

After all the holes are drilled, push an anchor into each hole. Use a hammer to knock the anchor in until it is flush with the brickwork.

Use Hammer to Knock in Anchor Flush with Brick

Courtesy of DK - Arches & Pergolas © 2000 Dorling Kindersley Limited

4. Position each joist hanger.

Fit it to the wall using the dome-head screws with washers. Ensure all screws fit tightly. Next, erect the two posts by following the instructions from this tutorial.

Secure Hanger with Dome Head Screws

Courtesy of DK - Arches & Pergolas © 2000 Dorling Kindersley Limited

5. Erect the beam between the posts.

Then, stretch each rafter from wall to beam, fitting one end into the joist hanger first.

Erect Beam Between Posts

Courtesy of DK - Arches & Pergolas © 2000 Dorling Kindersley Limited

6. Secure the rafter.

Once all the rafters are in position — straight and level — insert a locating screw through the side of the joist hanger.

Insert Locating Screw Through Side of Joist Hanger

Courtesy of DK - Arches & Pergolas © 2000 Dorling Kindersley Limited

7. Consider using wooden wall plates.

If you don't have the ability or desire to use joist hangers to mount beams, then attach rafters to a wall plate. This can be done by means of brackets screwed to the top of the wall plate — into which the beams are nailed — or by cutting notches in both pieces of wood. Cut the notches in the wall plate before bolting it to the wall.

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Arches & Pergolas © 2000 Dorling Kindersley Limited

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