If you’re building a pergola next to your house or another structure, consider mounting the upper framing to the wall. In a small exterior space, a wall-mounted pergola will prevent you from losing valuable square footage.
Follow these steps to learn how to wall-mount a pergola frame.
How to Build a Wall Mount for a Pergola: Step by Step
If you’d like to attach your pergola to your home, use these steps to create and attach your mount.
Step 1: Determine the Size of the Frame
Before you begin, determine the precise lumber you’ll be using for your pergola frame. In this example, the modern pergola frame will be 2×6 redwood.
Step 2: Mark Your Outline with Chalk String
Map out precisely where the two corners of the frame will hit the wall, then measure and mark these positions. The exactness of these marks is imperative – they will be the foundation for your entire wall mount.
If you are aligning the upper pergola frame with posts or with a lower concrete-mount frame, be sure the lower positions are marked with chalk string.
Chalk lines work well on uneven surfaces, such as wood siding, much better than trying to draw the line along a ruler.
Step 3: Check to See if Your Lines are Level
Use a level against the chalk line to ensure your measurements are exact. If your chalk line isn’t level, now is the time to fix your marks.
Step 4: Mark the Exact Width of Your Lumber
Measure and mark the precise width of your framing lumber. In this case, 2×6 redwood will be the frame, so we marked 5-1/2” (true width) along both vertical chalk lines.
Strike two chalk lines at the upper and lower points you marked. You should now have an exact-sized chalk outline of your pergola frame lumber.
Step 5: Remove Siding Where the Upper Frame Goes
While you can mount the pergola frame directly to your siding, we recommend removing the siding first. Doing so allows the frame to mount flush against the wall and makes it more secure.
To get started, adjust the depth of your circular saw blade to the depth of your siding.
Double-check the blade clearance. You want it to go all the way through the siding but not beyond that.
When your circular saw is adjusted and ready, cut out the siding along your chalk line. Use caution, as you may need to hold the blade guard lever up as you cut for preciseness.
Tip: Use two ladders, and have a helper “leapfrog” the ladders along your way, so you don’t have to climb down after each cut. Instead, you can just step from one ladder to the next.
Take care not to overcut the corners because they will be visible. Any cuts into the siding will also expose the insides and increase the potential for damage.
Use a chisel to cut the corners precisely and begin the siding removal process.
Remove the siding carefully. Be sure it’s cleanly cut all the way through so you don’t pull off the surrounding pieces.
As you pull off the siding, you’ll see plywood underneath.
Step 6: Prepare the Surface
Ensure the exposed surface is completely flat. Use your chisel or another tool to make the area flat and clean. Don’t overlook the corners, they are critical for a flush mount of your pergola frame board.
The section your removed should snugly fit your pergola frame board.
Always measure, mark, and cut to the true size of your lumber. Wood’s listed size (e.g., 2×6) is different from its true size (e.g., 1-1/2” x 5-1/2”).
Step 7: Locate the Studs
Before you install your wall-mounted pergola frame, locate the studs. Use a stud-finder and mark the position of each above the cutout area. Marking high allows you to see the stud positions when the board is in place.
Step 8: Measure and Prepare Your Frame Boards
Measure and mark the length of your pergola frame board onto two redwood (or cedar) boards. Use the same type of lumber you’ll be using on the rest of your pergola.
In this case, a 1-1/2” gap is included on both sides of the cutout for a 2×6 part of the pergola frame. In other words, the true length of the wall-mount board is 3” less than the length of the cutout.
Use a miter saw to cut both pieces of lumber. Note: You might find it easier, more efficient, and less messy to finish your boards before mounting them to the wall. This includes staining, painting, and/or sealing as per your taste.
Have a helper or two hold the boards in place of the cutout. Use masking or painter’s tape to mark stud positions on the board.
Stack your two pieces of cut lumber (cut to size to fit into your wall-mounting cutout) precisely together, with the taped board on top.
Clamp the boards together tightly.
Keeping the clamps in place, flip your board stack over to the underside (the side that touches the wall.)
Install 2-1/2” exterior wood screws to keep the boards together during the mounting process. We recommend installing a couple of screws every 18”-24.”
Flip your boards back over. Use a drill bit that is slightly smaller than your lag bolts (recommend 5”-6” lag bolts, 3/8” size, with washers) to mark the positions for every stud you will be mounting your board on. In this example, lag bolts will be installed onto every other stud.
Remove the tape. Your drill marks should be visible but not deep.
With the tape removed, predrill all the way through both boards (which are screwed together, so they’re like one board at this point).
With all your lag bolt holes predrilled, it’s time to mount the board to the wall. Always put a washer on the lag bolts before placing them onto the board.
With the boards still on your work surface, use a ratchet to tighten the bolts through both pieces of lumber.
Step 9: Attach the Top Frame Boards to the House
Leave 1/2″ of the bolt tips coming out the back side of your boards. Then, lift your pergola frame boards into the cutout and position them in place. Use a mallet or something similar and pound near each set of bolts. Afterward, set the frame boards back down on the ground.
Although it felt like a pain to do, the pounding method marked the precise positions of your lag bolts on the frame boards. You can now predrill for the lag bolts.
With your lag bolt positions predrilled, mount the pergola frame into the cutout. Have helpers hold the boards level and flush. Then ratchet the lag bolts into the predrilled holes and, consequently, the studs.
Work from the middle of the boards outward, checking for and ensuring levelness after the very first lag bolt placement. Once the second bolt is in place, your level-ness is established.
Continue ratcheting until the lag bolts are as tight as you can make them.
Congratulations! You’ve installed a wall mount for a pergola frame. Wall mounting is an efficient way to build a pergola in a small exterior space, maximizing every square foot. It may not look like much now, but this wall mount is going to play a key role in creating your beautiful redwood pergola.