After all the work building the raised bed frames, putting in the pergola posts and filling in the pergola bed we had planned to start work on the patio area next. But with a big huge pile of dirt we're still trying to get rid of, that put a little wrinkle in the plans. We figured, what the hell, let's just build the pergola now!
We thought it would be a lot easier to get all the wood painted before we installed it. So we laid everything out and painted a lot of wood
Everything got 2 coats of oil based primer to really seal those babies good.
After consulting our pergola of inspiration a few times...
...we took a trip to HD to figure out what hardware would work best to construct our pergola. We finally settled on some that weren't too big but were strong enough and also didn't break the bank (we'd need 34 - we have 19 joists on the top of the pergola but the two on the ends will attach to the posts and not the braces). After purchasing 34 we brought them home and spray painted them glossy black
After a day and half of painting - seriously, it took FOREVER - we started building. First up was attaching the braces to the top of the pergola. We installed some blocking to help hold the brace up once we got it up there
Then we cut our ends at the desired angle we wanted. Some people go with a nice curvy design, but with 21 boards to cut with 2 sides each (19 joists and 2 braces), we figured a nice 45 degree angle was a lot easier to cut 42 times than some other more difficult curvy pattern
After drilling some pilot holes...
...it was time to attach it. We climbed up our ladders slowly, one of us on either end of the pergola and lifted the brace on top of our blocking. We got the level out to make sure things lined up right...
...and once we were sure we drilled it in (we used carriage bolts to fasten it)
Then we repeated on the back
Next it was time to start attaching the joists. We knew the ones on the end would be attached to the posts and so we didn't need any hardware or to figure out the spacing yet. We contemplated the proper overhang for both sides (we wanted the top to over hang more than the bottom). Once we figured it out we tossed that baby up there
Afterwards we spent a long time (I think we seriously spent about an hour and a half) figuring out all the math to get the correct spacing with the joists. It was quite an ordeal. We needed to figure out exactly how many joists we were going to use, how far apart they would be from each other and if that spacing would get in the way of the center post used for extra support
Once we got the spacing all figured out we cut a 2x4 down to the spacing size and made marks along the braces for where all the joists would be attached (we made the marks on center)
With all the marks made we drilled in the first set of hardware to hang the joists
Now, at this point I was looking at where the two joists crossed paths and thought, "huh, why is that so off center?" And then I realized that the center point of where the joists cross is in the actual center of the raised bed area, but that it looks off center because the joists still overlap towards the left. Once we hung more and more joists the arch would start to look on center. Phew.
But by this time the day was coming to an end so we closed up shop for the day. During the week I came out between work and attached all the hardware on the marks we had made
With all the hardware attached, when it came time to hang all the joists things went up a lot quicker. And with our hired help digging the rest of the future patio area to make sure everything was level and at the correct depth, we had a very productive day.
Chris and I worked like machines and you can tell from this pic that Chris was upset I paused the assembly line :) (and see the arch evening out?)
I got back to work - but I did stop one more time for another in progress photo :)
By lunchtime we had finished hanging all the joists and now it was time to touch things up. First, we gave it a good hose down
Once things were dry we had to paint the ends of all the joists and braces we had cut and touched up where there were scratches
We added some post caps to the top of the posts and soon, we were DONE!
And that arch is looking pretty awesome