How to Build a Pergola on Concrete

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Okay, wow friends! It’s taken me a bit too long, but I’m finally sharing how we built our 12×12 diy pergola on our concrete patio last summer.

For those of you that want numbers before you even start diving into this, we spent $400 building this. And in my opinion, for what our pergola has done for our backyard, this was absolutely $400 well spent!

I am aware that since the writing of this post, lumber prices have gone up. I cannot give an accurate estimate for what this will cost now, but I can say that we created this plan to be as budget-friendly as possible.

diy pergola


A pergola is a great option for creating an affordable outdoor living space, while providing a bit of shade to a sunny backyard.

When we moved in, our house had a simple concrete patio in the back with no shade in sight. We knew we needed something that could help to block overhead sun and make this an enjoyable place to be. When there is no other shade in our yard, we know at least this cozy little square will provide some!

All my inspiration for our backyard on Pinterest centered around a pergola. I knew that would give our space a focal point and anchor. And also just a place to simply be when we are out back. My hope is that it would be an outdoor living room of sorts.


Our DIY pergola is 12×12.

We decided to build with all four wooden posts directly on top of a concrete surface. It’s important to note before getting started that any surface variation will require you to make adjustments.


  1. (4) Simpson Strong-Tie Post Base Brackets
  2. Hammer Drill (We used this affordable one from Wal-Mart!)
  3. Drill
  4. Circular Saw
  5. Masonry Drill Bits that match the bracket mounting hole size
  6. Tapcon masonry screws
  7. #10×3 inch SPAX exterior screws
  8. (4 – 8) Retrofit post bases
  9. 3-inch SPAX lag screws
  10. 1.5-inch SPAX exterior screws
  11. Simpson Strong-Tie H1 18-Gauge (hurricane ties)
  12. (4) 8ft. long 4x4s
  13. (15) 2x6x12 Pressure Treated Cedar Tone Pine
  14. 1x6x12 Pressure Treated Cedar Tone Pine
  15. Shade fabric (optional) & Staple Gun if so. I highly recommend this step, as it gives extra overhead shade and really completes the look of the pergola! The shade fabric we used has held up SO well.
building a pergola


We used the footprint of this plan, so go have a look at that. BUT we used 4×4 posts instead of 6×6. It’s very helpful to view that plan to get visuals of the steps.

1. Measure out your 10’ x 10’ square (this is the inside dimension, the roof overhang will make it 12×12).

2. Install Simpson Strong-Tie post base brackets at the four inside corners of your 10×10 square.

Using these allows moisture to escape out the bottom of the post, which prevents rot.

diy pergola on concrete

To install these, you will drill holes into the concrete with a hammer drill (we got ours at Wal-Mart for $18 and it did the job!) using masonry drill bits that match the brackets mounting hole size. Install brackets in concrete with Tapcon masonry screws (the blue screws in the photo below). Make sure you get the right diameter screws that fit through the bracket holes without allowing any room for it to wiggle. Fair warning though, they are not the easiest to screw in.

3. Set 4×4 pressure-treated, cedar tone pine posts in the brackets and screw together with #10 x 3 inch SPAX exterior screws, making sure the posts are plumb (straight up and down).

You’ll want to drill pilot holes for all screws, as this wood is tough and the screws are harder to get started while you’re working on a ladder.

4. Install 1 or 2 retrofit post bases per post. These add stability, as your posts are not flush with the ground or other brackets.

diy pergola on concrete

5. Cut angles on both ends of 14 the 2x6x12 pressure treated, cedar tone pine boards.

(See DIY template). You will use the remaining board in step 7.

6. Install 2×12’s to top of columns, one on the inside and one on the outside, making sure to space them properly both end-to-end and one on top of the other.

Mount Simpson right angle joist hangers for extra stability, if desired.

The top boards should be flush with the top of the column. Use 3 Inch SPAX lag screws. 

diy pergola on concrete

7. To install angles, determine board length and angle of one end of each board.

The other end does not need to be as precise. Mount angled end to 4×4 and other end to inside of one of the top braces.

how to build a pergola

To give us the most open front, we ran the angles on the front corners, front to back. And the angles on the back corners, side to side (pictured below).

how to build a pergola

8. Determine spacing of boards across the top. 

9. We mounted Simpson Strong-Tie joist hangers using 1.5 inch SPAX exterior screws. However, in materials list we are changing what we would use and suggesting you use Simpson Strong-Tie H1 18-Gauge hurricane ties.

10. Lay beams across joist hangers/hurricane ties and attach using 1.5 inch screws.

11. Install 2x6x10 face down across center of beams.

12. *optional* Attach shade fabric to top using a staplegun.

We used two rolls of 6×15 brown shade fabric from amazon. It has held up VERY well and hasn’t budged. Just use a ton of staples 🙂 Gives much-needed shade without making it dark. Blends perfectly with the cedar! Highly recommend.

diy pergola on concrete

**This wood has not been stained. It’s the original cedar color. Do not stain or try to waterproof your pergola for at least a year, as the wood needs time to dry out!

And that’s a wrap. I hope this has been helpful DIY pergola research!

Thanks so stopping by!

Need more DIY Home Ideas? Check out these posts!

1) How to Paint Wooden Chairs (The Easy Way!)

2) Easily Re-finish Outdoor Wooden Furniture

3) Boost Curb Appeal on a Budget

diy pergola on concrete

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    1. Hi Roxanne! This pergola cost us $400 in 2019. Unfortunately I cannot give an accurate estimate anymore, as lumber prices have gone up since then. But we did keep this plan as budget-friendly as possible! Hope this is helpful 🙂

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