Pergola Installation Advice for Main Ring Beam and Posts
Pergolas are often referred to as Gazebos and arbours. Whatever you decide to call them they are a fantastic addition to any garden. Here I try to give some Pergola Installation Advice for the installation of the Posts and Main Ring Beam.
I absolutely adore our pergolas. In my opinion, you will struggle to find a similar product at the prices and quality we offer.
All of our pergolas are impregnated and pressure treated tanalised timber or our superb Larch Douglas timber. This page shows our range of pergolas.
When we purchase any product, the cost is always a big factor. However, when looking at out Pergolas, I highly recommend you look at our Larch Douglas range. It is a bit more expensive, however, the benefits far outway the additional cost.
This Pergola Installation article is advice about the installation of Pergolas/Gazebos, other folk installing these structures may have a different method that works well for them. This is our Pergola Installation Advice.
Pergola Installation Plans
A set of plans is supplied with every pergola we supply. This picture links to a set of plans for the ever so popular Grande Gazebo.
Personally, I’ve always found the plans to be pretty good and never really had a problem understanding them, this also applies to our log cabin plans.
Some customers that are not that used to reading plans and find instruction manuals difficult have asked for a little extra assistance. So, I have written this article on Pergola installation.
One perspective on building a Pergola
Our Pergola Installation plans are clear and simple and due to the fact we use easy to follow diagrams and numbers are, pretty much multi-lingual. They identify exactly where all the bits and pieces should go.
Our Pergolas are a full and complete structure, and it is nigh-on impossible to address every possible instructional detail on how to install them, a little patience, common sense, DIY skill and perception needs to be used.
One of the things I enjoy most when I am carrying out an install is the being able to alter and modify the sum of the parts to what my customer desires.
Here are some tips gained from my experience. (A slight deviation from the plans supplied)
It’s up to you to decide:
- Should I follow the plans
- Should I follow this pergola installation advice or,
- Should I completely ignore everything and just do it my own way.
This is YOUR Pergola and it’s up to you how you want to perform the build.
How does my Pegola Arrive
More or less like this…
On a big pallet with everything, you need (except for the tools) to carry out the installation.
The Unpacking of the Palet
NOTE WELL: It will NOT be labelled and it really doesn’t need to be.
It is very easy to see and identify what boards are for the roof and what posts make up the structure.
When I start the unpacking, I sort out the different sections as I come across them. It is important to note that we keep all our Tanalised and treated timber outdoors so occasionally the pallets can be wet. So if you find your Pergola is wet when you unpack it, please don’t be concerned as it is, of course, designed and treated to be outside in all weathers for the next 20+ years and more if it is maintained well.
When I separate the roofing boards, I place them in the sections of the roof I am expecting to build. For square roofs, each of the four sides will be equal. For a rectangular roof, I know that I am looking for two triangle roofs and two elongated triangles. It’s so much simpler to do this as you are unpacking.
During the unpacking, I also identify, separate and lay out the other pieces, posts and ring beams are really simple to recognize.
Use the plans to check that you are using the correct parts in the correct places.
You will need two people to carry out the installation.
- It is easier to find the EXACT location of where post holders should be fitted while accounting for timber not being an exact product to work with.
- It is safer, stronger and quicker.
- No strain is placed on any joints, some plans will show building the gazebo on its side and then lifting into position, I have found this method very hard to do and can put strain on the joints.
Tools required for Installing a Pergola
You will only really need basic standard tools for fitting your pergola.
- 2 Sets of Ladders
- Tape Measure
- Two battery hand drills really help to save time.
- Clamps are really important to carry out a good job. (We use them a lot in building all our garden furniture and log cabins)
Ring Beam of the Pergola
After laying out the main ring beam parts in the location that it will be built, I carefully check all the measurements against the plans.
Please note that with square roofs there will be two longer pieces and two shorter pieces allowing it to create a square.
ALWAYS drill a pilot hole!
It doesn’t matter what I am building, I always use pilot drill holes every time a screw is used.
This is particularly important when working with Larch. ALWAYS drill a pilot hole!
Square the ring beam
Using clamps we will temporarily fix the center joint together. Using a tape measure we check they are the same distance apart using the end beam as a reference. We then make sure the ring beam is 100% square.
Posts and Post Holders
With the main ring beam of the pergola squared and in its final position, we can now mark exactly where the legs will be. This saves a lot of unnecessary measuring and takes into account that timber is not always millimetre perfect.
Putting the post in upside down in their finished location we can then mark the post position giving us the exact position of the posts in relation to the ring beam.
With the marks in place, you can now position your post holders in the correct positions.
We have several types of post holders available for use in both hard and soft ground.
It is crucial to secure the posts and the holders to help with this. Without securing the posts if they are badly knocked during their lifetime you could have some issues.
Like any of our buildings it is imperative that the pergola is held square and 100% straight in both the X & Y axis. Post holders are also very useful if the overall area is not exactly level.
If you don’t like the look of the post holders you can box them in, it looks so much nicer.
Using the clamps, we fit two posts into the corner of a section of the main ring beam.
Next, clamp the centre post to hold it in position. At this point, it’s easier to take the second part of the ring beam apart again clamping and fitting each section as you go.
Gazebo Corner Braces
Okay, now the posts and main ring beam are all installed, we now add the support bracing to the corners.
Here you have a choice, you can position the braces under the ring beam and against the post or you can position the braces inside the Main Ring Beam and against the post. You Choose!
Preparation always makes things quicker so consider pre-drilling all the braces before installing them all together.
It is advisable to brace the centre section until the roof is being fitted and whilst you are fixing the corner braces, it keeps everything nice and tight and straight.
The Pergola and Main Ring Beam are now complete
Pergola Roof Installation
I’ve decided to do the roof installation in a separate blog post as much of it is relevant to our log cabins.