How To Anchor Free Standing Pergola (Explained)

A free-standing pergola is a great addition to your backyard. It’s easy to set up and adds welcome shade in the summertime, as well as some extra space for parties or other activities with friends. 

But you’ll need to make sure that it’s properly anchored, so that it doesn’t blow over in a storm or start sagging under its own weight. There are many ways of doing this; here are just a few:

Pergola & arbor footings: Best Options Compared – YouTube
Properly anchoring a free-standing pergola is crucial for stability and safety.
The method of anchoring may vary depending on the surface, such as concrete, ground, or pavers.
Anchoring options include concrete footings, ground stakes, anchor brackets, or alternative methods without drilling.
Consulting manufacturer guidelines or seeking professional advice can ensure proper anchor size and installation.
Adequate anchoring prevents movement, enhances durability, and withstands various weather conditions.

Anchoring to Concrete

A freestanding pergola is typically anchored to concrete. This means you will need to dig a hole for the post and then put in a concrete footer. 

The concrete footer needs to be poured around the pole so it can help support it and keep it from moving. Next, you will want to make sure that your post is not too close to the edge of your concrete footer.

When it comes to anchoring a pergola to a concrete patio, proper techniques and materials are crucial. Our comprehensive guide on how to anchor a pergola to a concrete patio will walk you through the process step-by-step, ensuring a secure and stable installation.

Anchoring to a Paver Patio

If you’re building a freestanding pergola, there are several options for anchoring it to your patio. While some people choose to have their pergola built into the ground, this is more expensive and time-consuming than other options. 

A paver patio can also serve as a solid foundation for your freestanding pergola if you don’t want to dig but still want something that will hold up over time.

Pergolas are relatively easy to install and they look great when they’re finished, so if you’re interested in adding one of these structures to your backyard we’d say go for it!

Screwing Posts into Decking

The next step is to screw each post into the decking. First, use a drill bit that’s slightly larger than the screws you’ll be using to screw the posts into place. 

This will help prevent splitting of your decking if there is too much pressure on it when driving in your screws. Next, apply wood glue around where each post will go into your decking and then use a hammer to drive the post down firmly into place

Secure AttachmentScrewing posts into decking provides a secure and stable connection for the structure.
Enhanced Structural IntegrityThe use of screws ensures a strong and reliable attachment, enhancing the overall integrity of the deck.
Reduced Risk of MovementScrewed-in posts minimize the risk of posts shifting or wobbling over time.
Easy Removal and ReplacementScrews allow for easy removal and replacement of posts if needed.
Clean Aesthetic FinishScrewing posts into decking creates a clean and seamless appearance without visible hardware.

Anchoring to Wooden Decking

A wooden deck is an ideal place to anchor your pergola. You may be able to drive the posts directly into the ground or use concrete blocks as bases, but it’s much easier if you secure them to the wooden decking. 

This can be done by drilling holes through the bottom of each post and attaching them with lag screws that are long enough to go through both pieces of wood and into something solid beneath your decking.

For this you need:

  • Lag screws (or bolts) in a length appropriate for anchoring your pergola on top of your pergola frame
  • Drill bit suitable for drilling through wood
  • Wood glue (optional)

For a sturdy and reliable installation, anchoring a pergola to the ground is essential. Our detailed guide on how to anchor a pergola to the ground provides expert tips and techniques, giving you the confidence to create a durable structure that can withstand various weather conditions.

Anchoring to a Plywood Subfloor

Anchoring to a Plywood Subfloor

When attaching your free standing pergola to the plywood subfloor, you’ll need to drill through the subfloor and into the concrete. 

You can use a hammer drill for this task. In order for your pergola frame to be held securely in place, you will also need to use concrete anchors called Helix Post Anchors (these are available at your local hardware store).

Filling the Post Holes with Concrete

You will need to fill the holes in your posts with concrete. This is a good idea for a few reasons:

  • Durability – The wood that was used to make your pergola might not be sturdy enough to withstand being exposed directly to the elements. Concrete will help provide strength and durability.
  • Stability – If your pergola is going to stand up straight, you want it anchored into something solid like concrete. This way, there is no chance of blowing over during strong winds or storms.
Enhanced StabilityFilling post holes with concrete provides added stability to the structure.
Increased Load-Bearing CapacityConcrete-filled post holes can support heavier loads and improve structural integrity.
Resistance to Shifting and SettlingConcrete helps prevent posts from shifting or settling over time, ensuring long-term stability.
Protection Against MoistureConcrete acts as a barrier, protecting the posts from moisture and potential rotting.
Durability and LongevityConcrete-filled post holes offer long-lasting performance and contribute to the overall durability of the project.

Pouring Concrete Footings

When pouring footings, you’ll need to create a concrete form. Once the form is in place and level, mix your cement according to the manufacturer’s instructions using a shovel. Then pour it into the form. 

Remove the forms when your footing has set and let it cure for at least 24 hours before continuing with any other part of your project.

Looking for a handyman’s perspective on anchoring a pergola in the ground? Our comprehensive handyman guide on how to anchor a pergola in the ground covers everything you need to know, from selecting the right anchors to ensuring proper stability for your free-standing pergola.

Using a Cement Mixer To Mix Concrete

A cement mixer is a great tool for mixing concrete. It saves you money and time, because you’re mixing in bulk instead of purchasing ready-made concrete. When using a cement mixer to mix your own concrete, remember:

Make sure you have enough water in the mix to achieve a consistency that’s not too wet or too dry. If it’s too wet, it will take longer for the forms to set up; if it’s too dry, you will need to add more water later on. 

The best way to find out how much water your mix needs is by experimenting with small batches until you get the right balance between strength and flexibility.

Start with 2/3 wheelbarrow full of sand (which improves drainage), then slowly add 1/3 wheelbarrow full each of gravel and crushed limestone (for strength). 

Next add enough water so that everything can move freely but still retains its shape inside the container (you’ll probably need about 2 gallons). 

Continue adding small amounts at a time until everything is completely mixed together into one color don’t worry if certain areas seem darker than others at this point!

Faster Mixing ProcessA cement mixer enables quicker and more efficient mixing of concrete, saving time.
Consistent MixingUsing a cement mixer ensures a consistent and uniform mixture, enhancing the quality.
Improved WorkabilityThe rotational motion of a cement mixer results in a smoother and more workable concrete.
Reduces Physical EffortThe mixer’s motorized operation minimizes manual labor and reduces physical exertion.
Versatile and PortableCement mixers come in various sizes and portability options, offering flexibility on-site.

Using a Mini Excavator To Dig Footer Holes

Once you’ve decided where to place the pergola, mark those spots with stakes. Then use a mini excavator or spade shovel to dig footer holes at each marked location. 

Use a concrete mixer (or cement mixer) to mix and pour 4-inch thick concrete into these holes. Allow the cement to cure for 24 hours before continuing with step 2 of this project.

Digging Footer Holes by Hand Using a Spade Shovel

You will need to dig footer holes by hand using a spade shovel. You can find spade shovels in most hardware stores. 

The size of the hole depends on the weight of your structure and the material you are using for your pergola flooring. If you are using concrete blocks, then they should be about 8 inches deep and 4-6 inches wide (#1).

If you have a metal pergola and want to secure it to concrete, our detailed guide on how to anchor a metal pergola to concrete is here to help. Discover effective methods and necessary precautions to ensure a solid connection between your metal pergola and concrete foundation.

Setting Your Posts in Rock-Filled Tubes

In order to anchor a free standing pergola, you will need to dig holes for your posts. We recommend digging these holes with a post hole digger (or shovel if you’re feeling ambitious). The soil should be moist but not wet; if it’s too dry, the ground will crack when you hammer in the posts and water isn’t going to help. 

Dig at least 6 inches down into the ground so that when they are hammered into place they are firmly rooted in the earth. Make sure your posts are straight before placing them into their holes; use a level or plumb bob to get an accurate reading on how straight they are. 

Fill each post hole with concrete using a shovel or trowel until it is full then wash off any excess concrete from around the edges of each hole so that nothing gets stuck underneath it later on as this could weaken its structure over time! 

Finally let everything dry overnight before continuing onto painting or stain application section below!

If you have a metal pergola and want to secure it to concrete, our detailed guide on how to anchor a metal pergola to concrete is here to help. Discover effective methods and necessary precautions to ensure a solid connection between your metal pergola and concrete foundation.


We hope that this article has given you some ideas for how to anchor your freestanding pergola. If you have any other questions about how to do so, feel free to contact us and we will be happy to help!

Further Reading

Here are some additional resources that you may find helpful:

Pergola Installation: Step-by-Step Guide: This comprehensive guide provides a step-by-step walkthrough of the pergola installation process, offering valuable tips and insights for a successful project.

Mounting Pergolas: A Complete Guide: Discover different methods and considerations for mounting pergolas with this comprehensive guide. From surface mounting to post mounting, this resource covers it all.

Anchoring a Pergola Without Drilling: If you’re looking for alternative ways to anchor a pergola without drilling into your surface, this resource provides creative and effective solutions to securely anchor your pergola.


Here are some frequently asked questions about anchoring pergolas:

How can I anchor a pergola to a concrete patio?

To anchor a pergola to a concrete patio, you can use concrete anchors or anchor brackets specifically designed for this purpose. By securely attaching the pergola posts to the concrete surface, you can ensure stability and prevent movement.

What are the different methods for anchoring a pergola to the ground?

There are several methods for anchoring a pergola to the ground. Some common options include using ground stakes, helical anchors, or concrete footings. The choice of method depends on factors such as soil type, climate, and the desired level of stability.

Is it possible to anchor a pergola without drilling?

Yes, it is possible to anchor a pergola without drilling. There are alternative methods available, such as using ground anchors, weights, or tension systems. These options allow you to secure the pergola without making permanent holes in the surface.

Can I mount a pergola on an existing deck?

Mounting a pergola on an existing deck is possible, but it requires careful consideration of the deck’s structure and load-bearing capacity. It’s important to ensure that the deck can support the additional weight and forces imposed by the pergola.

How do I determine the appropriate anchor size for my pergola?

The appropriate anchor size for your pergola depends on various factors, including the pergola’s size, design, and location. It’s recommended to consult the manufacturer’s guidelines or consult with a structural engineer to determine the suitable anchor size for your specific pergola.