12×12 Pergola – Free DIY Plans

This step by step diy woodworking project is about free 12x12 pergola plans. I have designed this super simple to build square outdoor pergola, so you can enhance the look of your backyard with a wooden structure that creates shade. If you want to read a book, sip a tea or hang out with a few friends, this pergola will create enough shade for beautiful moments. Remember that you need to read the local building codes before starting the construction, so you comply with the legal requirements.

I recommend you to invest in the best materials you could afford. Therefore, you should buy weather-resistant lumber, such as pine or cedar. Always take accurate measurements before adjusting the size of the components at the proper size. Drill pilot holes trough the components before inserting the wood screws, to prevent the wood from splitting.

 

 

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12×12 Pergola – Free DIY Plans

Building a 12x12 pergola

Building a 12×12 pergola

Materials

  • A – 4 pieces of 6×6 lumber – 8′ long POSTS
  • B – 4 piece of 2×8 lumber – 14′ long SUPPORT BEAMS
  • C – 11 pieces of 2×6 lumber – 14′ long SHADE ELEMENTS
  • D – 6 pieces of 1×2 lumber – 14′ long SLATS

Tools

Time

  • One Week

 

 

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Building a 12×12 pergola

Laying out the posts

Laying out the posts

The first step of the project is to layout the square outdoor pergola in a professional manner. Therefore, use string and batter boards to lay out the location of the posts. Measure the diagonals and make adjustments till they are equal. Moreover, you need to apply the 3-4-5 rule to each of the four corners, so you make sure they are right angled. This pergola has a 12’x12′ base, so the roof will be roughly 14’x14′.

Fitting the posts

Fitting the posts

You can set the 4×4 posts in concrete or you can pour footings and secure them in place with anchors. Dig 2-3′ deep holes and 14″ in diameter and then compact a layer of gravel to the bottom. Fit the 12″ tubes and set the 4×4 posts into place. Use a spirit level to plumb the posts and then secure them into place with temporarily braces. Pour the concrete in the tube forms and let it dry out for several days.

Support beams

Support beams

Use 2×8 lumber for the support beams. Make 45 degree cuts to both ends of the beams, for decorative purposes. Smooth the edges with sandpaper. These beams need to be straight, as they will hold all the weight of the rafters.

Fitting the support beams

Fitting the support beams

Align the support beams to the top of the beams and then clamp them into place tightly. Drill pilot holes through the 6×6 posts and through the beams. Insert 9″ carriage bolts (two for each joint) and lock everything tightly. Make sure the beams are horizontal and check if the corners are square.

Building the rafters

Building the rafters

The next step is to build the wooden shade elements from 2×6 lumber. Make the notches to the beams, so you can fit them into place tightly. Use a circular saw to make parallel cuts inside the marked areas and clean the notches with a chisel. Smooth the surface with sandpaper. Moreover, you need to make the decorative cuts at both ends, as well.

Fitting the top rafters

Fitting the top rafters

Fit the shade elements to the top of the square pergola and place them equally spaced. Drill pilot holes and insert screws to lock them tightly to the support beams. Alternatively, you should use rafter ties to lock the components together tightly. Cut  a wood block at 15″ and fit them between the rafters, so you can create equal gaps. You can adjust the size between the shade elements, so you let more or less light to the covered area.

Fitting the top slats

Fitting the top slats

Last but not least, fit the 1×2 slats to the shade elements, as shown in the diagram. Drill pilot holes and insert 1 5/8″ screws to keep the rafters equally spaced. This slats are super important as they will keep the rafters equally spaced.

12x12 Pergola Plans Free

12×12 Pergola Plans Free

Last but not least, you need to take care of the finishing touches. Fill the holes with wood putty and let it dry out for a few hours. Smooth the surface with sandpaper and then apply a few coats of paint or stain to enhance the look of the pergola. The stain will also protect the components from the elements.

12x12 Pergola Plans

12×12 Pergola Plans

This square pergola is the ideal addition to any backyard, as you can read the newspaper or hang out with your friends in nature. If you like my project, don’t forget to SHARE it on Facebook and Pinterest. See my other pergola plans, as well, for more building inspiration.

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