Courtyards invite us outside in the warmer months but provide little protection from the sun.
For this exposed courtyard, a solid 6 x 2.4m timber pergola was built as a framework for climbing plants to shade the area, and supported by a ledger secured with Dynabolts to the rendered side wall of the house.
Before starting the build, ensure timber sizes meet national standards and check whether council approval or building plans are required.
We used Woodhouse Weatherproof Pink Primed LOSP Architectural Pine.
Treated to an H3 level to be termite and fungal resistant, it needs finishing with two coats of paint. The posts and beams are GL8 laminated pine, while the rafters, ledger, battens and braces were cut from structural F7 pine.
Building the frame
Prepare the site using stringlines to set out a 6 x 2.4m rectangle.
Check the area for square with a builder’s square and take diagonal measurements between corners.
Mark the positions of the footing holes and excavate the holes to the required size then fill with concrete.
INSTALL three 135 x 135mm posts secured to concrete footings on galvanised supports and attach a ledger to the side of the house.
ADD a roof by bolting front and side beams to the posts and ledger.
SECURE rafters set at a 5º angle between the ledger and front beam.
TOP the rafters with six equally spaced battens for lateral stability, set parallel to the front beam.
BRACE the structure with knee braces positioned parallel to the house wall off the corner posts. Footing sizes vary with soil type and wind ratings. In high-wind areas, specific post supports that must be anchored in the concrete footings are needed, so check all requirements with your local building authority.
Seal cut timber
For an exterior build, it is essential to finish the timber correctly.
SEAL all cut ends, drilled holes, notches and rebates using an APVMA registered timber preservative end sealer.
PRIME all sealed surfaces once they are dry to ensure the treatment area is thoroughly sealed.
Prepare the posts
To give the pergola structural strength and a solid look, we chose treated pine posts with a large 135 x 135mm section size, but 88 and 112mm square posts are also available.
Before erecting and securing the three posts, secure supports to the bases and brace the posts in position. Establish the finished height and mark it on the post tops.
Cut the housings in the top of the posts to carry the front beam, then seal all cut ends ready for installation.
To finish, apply two coats of semi-gloss exterior acrylic to the posts and all pergola components to provide protection from the elements. We used the Colorbond colour Dune to blend in with the house.
TIP To make finishing quicker and easier, apply at least one coat of paint before building starts.