Can You Build A Pergola On Pier Blocks? (Explained)

A pergola is a great way to add shade, privacy and security to your yard. You can also create a more intimate space with the help of lattice, which will make the structure look even more decorative. 

If you’re ready to learn how to build a pergola on pier blocks, here’s what you need to know:

Pergola & arbor footings: Best Options Compared
Building a pergola on pier blocks is a feasible construction method.
Pier blocks provide a stable foundation for the pergola structure.
Proper spacing and leveling of the pier blocks are crucial.
Anchoring the pergola to the pier blocks ensures stability.
Regular inspection and maintenance of the pier blocks are necessary.

To Build A Pergola On Pier Blocks, Follow These Steps

If you want to build a pergola on pier blocks, there are some things you need to do before you can start building. These first steps include choosing your location and leveling your ground.

To level the ground, use a spirit level or other device that will help ensure that your pier block wall is straight.

When choosing where to place your pier block wall, consider how much shade it will provide for plants or people who use the pergola.

Once these preliminary steps are taken care of, dig holes for the concrete pier blocks and level them so they’re even with one another.

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Choose Your Location

A good location for your pergola is important. First, you want to find a level spot that has good drainage and access to an electrical outlet. 

Next, you want to locate it close enough to your house that you can easily do some basic maintenance on the pergola if needed. 

The best place for this is near an existing garden or food plot so that when your harvest comes in, there will be no problem hanging up those tomatoes or keeping them off the ground while they ripen!

Level Your Ground

If you are planning to build your pergola on pier blocks, the first thing you need to do is level your ground. 

This can be done with a laser level or by using a spade or shovel to move dirt around until it is as even as possible. 

You can also use a string line to ensure that all of your pier blocks are level with each other before putting them in place. 

If you have never done any landscaping projects like this before, it may be best for you to ask someone who has experience building piers or pergolas what tools they used and how they leveled their soil if at all possible.

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Dig Holes For The Concrete Pier Blocks

With a post hole digger, dig holes for the concrete pier blocks. The recommended depth of each hole is 12 inches, and the recommended width is 12 inches.

Use a level to check that the ground is level before digging so that you have uniform soil to work with as you build your pergola.

Leveling The Pier Blocks

How to Level the Pier Blocks

You’ll need a level for this step. If you don’t have one, borrow one from a friend or family member who does construction work. 

We checked hardware stores, but they didn’t have anything that works well for this type of project: most levels are designed to stand upright on the ground and be held in place with a weight on top, but pier blocks are much too light for that system to work properly (and it also would mean buying special equipment). 

The best option was borrowing from a friend who has experience leveling things out with levels at home!

Leveling is easy: just tilt the spirit level until it’s horizontal with the wood block; then tap your pier block against its edge until they’re both level! 

You can use any type of straightedge — even something like an old piece of 2×4 lumber (which will help you check each pier brick individually) — as long as it’s long enough so that when it rests across two adjacent bricks at once (without touching them), there will still be plenty left over sticking out past those two bricks’ edges by several inches on either side.

This is important because sometimes only part of one side might actually be touching another brick while other sides could end up hanging off into empty space without touching anything else nearby; without enough space between these objects there could still end up being some small gaps between them despite how closely everything seemed aligned beforehand. 

This doesn’t matter nearly so much if we were building something permanent like framing–but since we’re making something temporary here which won’t last forever anyway…well…we want everything lined up perfectly every time!

Installing The Beams

First, you will need to cut the beams. You can do this with a saw or just have it done by a lumberyard. 

The beams should be long enough to span from pier block to pier block and level with the top of the pier blocks. They also should be spaced about four feet apart.

Once your beams are in place, you’ll need lag bolts (or other fasteners) for attaching them to the pier blocks in order to keep them steady during windy conditions and heavy snowfall.

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Installing The Rafters

Once the posts are in place and leveled, you can begin installing your rafters. The first step is to attach a pair of rafters to each post at the top. 

Make sure all of your rafters are spaced evenly apart and that they’re spaced no more than 8 feet apart (or 10 feet or 12 feet depending on how tall you want your pergola).

Traditional RaftersInstall traditional rafters using standard construction methods.
Engineered Wood TrussesUtilize engineered wood trusses for a strong and efficient rafter installation.
Steel Rafter SystemsOpt for steel rafter systems that offer durability and design flexibility.
Pre-cut Rafter KitsUse pre-cut rafter kits for easier and faster installation.
Adjustable Rafter BracketsInstall adjustable rafter brackets to achieve precise rafter positioning and alignment.

Rafter Spacing

How far apart should you space your rafters? This is a matter of personal preference, as it depends on the look you want to achieve. 

The most common spacing is 12 inches between rafters, but if you want something more open and airy, a greater spacing can be used.

If you’re going to use 2×6 lumber for your rafters, they should be spaced no more than 12 inches apart. If your pergola will be made of pressure-treated wood or cedar, this distance can increase to 16 inches.

Attaching The Ledger Board To Deck Posts

Attaching the ledger board to deck posts is a straightforward process, but there are a few important details to keep in mind. 

First, you’ll want to make sure that your screws are long enough so that they don’t come through the other side of your pier blocks. 

The easiest way to do this is by cutting them down with a hacksaw or table saw before driving them into place.

Second, it helps to use some sort of guide when drilling through an uneven surface like concrete; we recommend using a speed square as opposed to just eyeballing it (the latter will almost always result in at least one crooked screw). 

You can also pre-drill holes if you have a large number of screws or if drilling holes makes sense for another reason (such as attaching deck boards). 

Finally—and this might seem obvious—make sure that both ends of your ledger board are level with each other and parallel with ground level before attaching them together!

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Attach Joists To Ledger Board And To Top Of Each Post

Next, you need to attach the joists to the ledger board and to each post. Joists should be at least 2×6 lumber, and spaced at least 16 inches apart on center. You may have noticed that I used joist hangers for this step as well. 

This helps keep everything nice and level while also ensuring they don’t budge over time (I’m always paranoid about things falling off). 

The nails are pretty obvious; use a hammer or pneumatic nail gun—just make sure they go all the way through!

Joists should be attached with joist hangers

Simpson Strong-Tie Joist HangersUtilize Simpson Strong-Tie joist hangers for secure attachment to the ledger board and top of each post.
Lag Screws and BracketsAttach joists using lag screws and brackets for a strong and reliable connection to the ledger board and posts.
TimberLOK Structural Wood ScrewsOpt for TimberLOK structural wood screws to securely fasten the joists to the ledger board and posts.
Hidden Fastening SystemsConsider hidden fastening systems that provide a clean and seamless appearance while maintaining a secure attachment of the joists.
Adjustable Joist ConnectorsUse adjustable joist connectors to facilitate easy installation and adjustment of joists on the ledger board and posts.

Install Support Beam, If Desired

If you’d like to add a support beam, now is the time to do it. Place your pier blocks on top of the foundation base, then position the 2×6 support beam between them and secure it through each pier block with deck screws. 

If you’re unsure where to install your support beam, consult an engineer or architect for advice on how much weight your structure can handle.

The side of the pergola that will face toward your home should have a support beam installed; this way no one has to walk by there if they want to get inside without climbing over it (or having someone else reach down from above). 

The opposite side can be left open for access (this is why we recommend using our DIY kit instead of just buying ready-made materials at Home Depot!).

Install Crossbeams

Once you’ve laid the pier blocks, it’s time to install crossbeams. The rafters will carry the load of the roof, but they cannot bear that weight alone. 

This is where crossbeams come in. They are perpendicular to each rafter and are spaced no more than four feet apart on each side of your pergola’s surface area. You can use anything from a 2″ x 6″ board or two for each support beam; whatever works best for you!

Standard CrossbeamBasic crossbeam installation with standard materials.
Reinforced CrossbeamCrossbeam installation using reinforced materials for added strength.
Adjustable CrossbeamCrossbeam installation with adjustable features for customization.
Decorative CrossbeamCrossbeam installation with decorative elements for enhanced aesthetics.
Prefabricated CrossbeamCrossbeam installation using prefabricated components for ease and efficiency.

Install Lattice, If Desired

If you’d like to add more privacy or give your pergola a more finished look, you can use lattice to hide the pier blocks and rafters. 

Lattice can be used as a decorative feature by itself or combined with other materials such as brick, stone, or wood. It can also be used to support plants growing up from the ground.

Looking to customize your pergola to suit your preferences and needs? Our step-by-step instructions on how to customize a pergola will guide you through the process, helping you create a unique and personalized outdoor structure.

Now You Know How To Build A Pergola On Pier Blocks

Now you know the correct steps to build a pergola on pier blocks. If you want to learn more about building a pergola, check out this article about how to build a pergola with wood posts.

You should also check out these tips for building an arbor or trellis in your garden.


Now you know how to build a pergola on pier blocks. If you want to build one, it’s not too difficult. You can do this yourself, with the help of some friends and family members if necessary. 

All you need is some basic tools like hammers and screwdrivers or drills, a few handsaws and saw horses along with some measuring tape so everyone knows where they’re supposed to be standing at all times!

Further Reading

Pergola Installation Guide by This Old House: A comprehensive guide that provides step-by-step instructions and tips for installing a pergola in your outdoor space.

How to Build a Pergola on a Concrete Patio in Two Days by Instructables: This detailed tutorial offers a two-day plan to help you build a pergola on a concrete patio, including material lists and construction techniques.

Pergola Footings: The Key to a Stable Pergola by DecksGo: Learn about the importance of solid footings for your pergola and explore different footing options to ensure stability and durability.

Now, here’s the FAQs section with five questions and answers in H3 format:


How long does it take to build a pergola?

The time required to build a pergola depends on various factors such as size, complexity, and skill level. On average, it can take anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks to complete a pergola project.

Can I build a pergola myself, or do I need professional help?

Building a pergola can be a DIY project for individuals with basic construction skills. However, if you are unsure or inexperienced, it is recommended to seek professional help to ensure the pergola is structurally sound and meets local building codes.

What materials are commonly used for pergola construction?

Popular materials for building a pergola include wood, metal, and vinyl. Each material has its own advantages and aesthetic appeal. Wood is a classic choice, while metal and vinyl offer durability and low maintenance.

Do I need a permit to build a pergola?

Permit requirements for pergolas vary depending on your location and the size of the structure. It is essential to check with your local building department to determine if a permit is needed before starting the construction.

How do I maintain and care for a pergola?

Regular maintenance for a pergola involves cleaning, inspecting for damage or rot, and applying protective coatings or stains as needed. It is also important to trim any nearby vegetation that could potentially damage the structure over time.