This step by step diy project is about 12×20 tiered pergola plans. This pergola is large enough so you can create a relaxation area for a few chairs and a table. In addition, you can plant climbing roses next to the posts and enhance the shade. Please read the local codes and make adjustments, if necessary, to comply with the legal requirements. Take a look over the rest of my woodworking plans, if you want to get more building inspiration.
Remember that all my designs and free woodworking plans come with 3D diagrams, step by step instructions and lots of tips, so you can get the job done with attention. In addition, you can PDF download the plans or Print them using your PC or laptop. See the Start Here button in the menu for more details.
When buying the lumber, you should select the planks with great care, making sure they are straight and without any visible flaws (cracks, knots, twists, decay). Investing in cedar or other weather resistant lumber is a good idea, as it will pay off on the long run. Use a spirit level to plumb and align the components, before inserting the galvanized screws, otherwise the project won’t have a symmetrical look. If you have all the materials and tools required for the project, you could get the job done in about a day. See all my Premium Plans HERE.
Projects made from these plans
12×20 Tiered Pergola Plans – Free PDF Download
Cut + Shopping Lists
- A – 4 pieces of 6×6 lumber – 8 ft long, 4 pieces – 10 ft long POSTS
- B – 12 piece of 2×8 lumber – 14 ft long, 4 pieces – 10 ft long SUPPORT BEAMS
- C – 11 pieces of 2×6 lumber – 10 ft long RAFTERS
- D – 22 pieces of 2×6 lumber – 96″ long RAFTERS
- E – 13 pieces of 1×2 lumber – 14 ft long SLATS
- F – 4 pieces of 6×6 lumber – 46 1/4″ long BRACES
- 2 pieces of 6×6 lumber – 8 ft
- 4 pieces of 6×6 lumber – 10 ft
- 12 piece of 2×8 lumber – 14 ft
- 4 pieces of 2×8 lumber – 10 ft
- 11 pieces of 2×6 lumber – 10 ft
- 13 pieces of 1×2 lumber – 14 ft
- 100 pieces of 1 5/8″ screws
- 16 pieces of 5 1/2″ screws
- 8 tube form
- 8 post anchors
- 66 pergola clips
- 24 pieces of 9″ carriage bolts
- wood filler , wood glue, stain/paint
It’s that easy to make a tiered pergola!
Step 1: Laying out the posts
The first step of the project is to lay out the posts for the large 2 tier pergola. Therefore, you need to use string and batter boards to layout the posts for the pergola. Measure the diagonals and make adjustments till they are perfectly equal. Mark the location for the posts for a professional result.
Basically, the main pergola is 12×8, while the side pergolas are 12×6 each. You can play with these dimensions.
Dig the holes 3′ deep (or under the front line) and about 12-16″ in diameter. Compact a layer of gravel to the bottom of the holes and then fit the tube forms. Fit the posts, align them and plumb them with a spirit level. Fill the forms with concrete, while the posts are locked into place with temporarily braces. If you use anchors, you need to align and set them into concrete. Fit the posts after the concrete dries, using lag screw. (this tutorial assumes you set the posts into place with anchors)
Smart tip: Read the local building codes, so you dig the holes at the appropriate depth.
Step 2: Fitting the support beams
Next, we need to build the support beams from 2×8 lumber. Therefore, choose straight boards and make decorative cuts at both ends.
Also, mark the cut lines to both ends of the beams. Use a jigsaw to make the curved decorative cuts to both ends of the beams. Smooth the surface with sandpaper for a professional result. If you don’t like my design, you can go and choose something else that is more in tune with your design preferences.
The next step of the project is to attach the support beams to the top of the posts. Use a spirit level to check if the beams are horizontal and then clamp them to the posts tightly. Drill pilot holes through the support beams and through the posts. Insert 9″ carriage bolts (at least 2 for each joint) and then tighten the nuts.
We can also add some beams to the main pergola, just to add another layer of exquisite design.
Mark the decorative cuts to both ends of the 2×8 lumber.
Set the beams to the high pergola (10 ft high) and clamp them into place tightly. Make sure you have 12″ overhangs on both sides of the posts. Drill pilot holes through the beams and through the posts. Insert 9″ carriage bolts to lock everything together tightly.
Step 3: Fitting the rafters
Next, we need to build the rafters for the side pergolas. Use 2×6 lumber and cut out the slots, so you can lock them into place tightly. Mark the location for the slots and then make parallel cuts inside the area. Remove the excess with a chisel and smooth the area thoroughly.
Lay the rafters to the top of the side pergolas, making sure you place them equally spaced. Use rafter clips and screws to lock the rafters to the support beams. In addition, you can adjust the distance between the rafters to get more or less shadow under the pergola.
Similarly, build the rafters for the high pergola. Cut out the slots to the rafters.
Continue the project by making the decorative ends to both sides of the rafters. Use a jigsaw to make the cuts, as shown in the diagram.
Continue the project by attaching the rafters to the high pergola. Use clips and screws to lock them to the support beams.
Last but not least, you need to attach the 1×2 slats to the top of the pergola so you can keep the rafters equally spaced. Align the slats with attention and then insert 1 5/8″ screws to lock them into place tightly. These slats will keep the rafters equally spaced. Leave 10 1/2″ equal overhangs on both sides of the pergola.
Step 4: Installing the braces
Use 6×6 lumber for the braces and make 45 degree cuts at both ends. In addition, you can make a decorative cut to the braces using a jigsaw. Mark the cut lines to the braces, get the job done and smooth the surface with 120-220 grit sandpaper.
Last but not least, you need to take care of the finishing touches. Make sure the corners are square and check if all the joints are rigid. Fill the dents and the holes with wood putty and then smooth the surface with 120-220 grit sandpaper. Apply a few coats of paint or stain to enhance the look of the tiered pergola and to protect the elements from decay.
This outdoor project is the ideal addition for your backyard, if you want to create a space for relaxation. This design will steal many hearts because this pergola has that special “quelque chose”. The base of the pergola is about 12 ft x 20 ft.
Fill the holes with wood putty and then smooth the surface with 120-220 grit sandpaper. Apply a few coats of paint / stain to enhance the look of the 2 tier backyard pergola.
If you want to build a large pergola, but keep things simple, I suggest you take a look over these 10×18 pergola plans.
This pergola provides plenty of space for setting several chairs, an outdoor sofa and an outdoor table. You can even cover the pergola of you want to obtain even more shade, especially during the hot summer days. Check out the rest of my pergola plans, as I have many designed and sizes you can choose from.
This woodworking project was about 12×20 tiered pergola plans free. If you want to see more outdoor plans, check out the rest of our step by step projects and follow the instructions to obtain a professional result.