How To Build The Most Amazing DIY Pergola And Fire Pit With Swings



With the warmer weather fast approaching and our thoughts turning to get our yards cleaned up ready to spend time with our family and friends you can’t beat this project which was first published back in November 2016 by The Hearty Soul and is still a great project to do 4 years later.

A pergola is similar to a gazebo but without a roof. It’s usually a shaded walkway or sitting area made of wooden posts and a cross-section of beams. They often are covered in vines or other plants to make a ‘roof’. Here’s how you can create the backyard you’ve always dreamed of.

Where to Start

How long you need

This project can take anywhere from a weekend to two weeks depending on how many people you have, skill level, and availability.

What you need

Tools

Measuring tape

4’ level

Mason’s line

Marking paint

Speed square

Reciprocating saw

Corded drill

12” long ½” bit

Skill saw/circular saw

Drill driver

Rotary level (optional)

Auger

Post hold digger

Shovel

Materials

Seventeen 6x6x12’ pressure-treated pine beams

Ten 2x10x12’ pressure-treated pine beams (wood)

Two 2x6x12’ pressure-treated pine beams

Two corbels

Two bags of quick setting concrete per post

100-125 stone landscape blocks

Landscape adhesive

Twelve ½”x10” eye bolt with nut

5lb box of 4” exterior decking screws

Five glass bulb string lights (optional)

Cost

Total cost ranges from $2000-5000 depending on where you buy things, tool rentals, material choices, and potential labor costs. The pergola itself can cost around $1300 for all material except seating and lighting.

How to Build your Own Pergola

Preparation

Choose a large enough area (about 22-24’ in diameter) and place a stake in the center

Use a tape measure to determine fire pit and pergola radius, mark the points (*materials specified are for a 4’ fire pit radius and 12’ pergola radius)

Tie a string and hold it tight, then walk in a circle using the paint to mark the exterior circle

Find out where you want your entrance to be, then mark 12’ intersecting lines around your circle. Start at the end of the last marker working your way around the circle until you have 8 by the end

Use an auger to dig the post holes 3’ deep, remove any excess dirt left behind

Installing posts

Place a 6x6x12 wooden post in each hole with one flat face facing the center of the pergola

Use a level to level the post

Pour concrete bags around the base of the post and continue to level before the concrete sets

Make sure all posts are the same height by using a rotary laser level

Cut to the shortest post height by marking square lines on all four sides with a speed square. Use the circular saw to cut along the lines on each side, then use a reciprocating saw to cut the remaining wood

Installing the fire pit

Dig a trench around the circumference of the pit about as deep as one of your stone blocks to anchor the pit

Lay blocks tightly together

Spread landscape adhesive on top of the first row and begin laying the second row, staggering the seams

Repeat until as tall as you desire (about 4 levels is good)

Installing the top beams

Measure and mark the top of each beam according to the diagram

Cut the beams at an angle and make sure they fit tightly together

Cap the beams with a top plate to secure them. Make them meet evenly in the corners over the edge of each post

Secure the top plates with 4” deck screws and one into the beam every 10” along

Installing swings

Find the center of the pergola and measure evenly both ways depending on the length of your swing

Using the corded drill with a 12” long and ½” bit, make holes for the eye bolts. Install the eye bolts and secure the swings

Bar/storage area

Directly across from your entrance, divide the distance between the two posts into thirds and use the auger to create holes

Place two 6×6 posts cut to 5’ tall to support the bar top and stabilize with the concrete



Trim 1.5” off the front and rear-facing sides of the tops 5.5” deep

Install two 2×6 beams to fit between the two posts, resting on the bar posts. Attach with screws and attach a corbel to both bar posts beneath the beam for more support

Use two 2×10 beams for the upper and lower surfaces of the bar, level them and secure with screws

Finishing

Allow the wood to dry and acclimate, then seal with a waterproofing product

Hang the string lights if you wish to have any

Sit back and enjoy all your hard work!