The Big Kahuna Assembly Instructions

We have been in the business of constructing pergolas for years, and have perfected this design to make it a strong and lasting pergola that will stand the test of time for years to come.

Thank you for purchasing a do-it-yourself pergola kit from Average Joe’s Pergola Depot.  We appreciate your business, and we are here to help you in any way possible.  Read this entire Instruction sheet before beginning.  If you take your time and follow these instructions, you can do it!

If you are installing this kit on a concrete patio or on top of concrete footers, we advise that you use 6X6 Galvanized post bases on each post secured with 5/8” red head concrete anchors, which can be purchased from us or your local hardware store. You will need some additional tools for this. There are instructions on how to install them included here, or watch a video on our website under the help menu.

Tools Needed

  • Helper
  • Hammer
  • Ladder
  • Screw gun (a square drive bit is supplied with kit)
  • Post Hole Digger (if posts will be going in ground)
  • ¾” Wrench
  • Level
  • Tape measure
  • 5/8” concrete drill bit and 15/16” wrench if using post bases on concrete

Kit Components

  • 2×8 Beams (4 for standard size kits)
  • 2×8 Notched Rafters (# depends upon kit size)
  • 6×6 Notched Posts (4 for standard size kits)
  • 2×6 Angle Braces (8 for standard size kits)
  • 2×2 Top Slats (# depends upon kit size)
  • Hardware Pack
  • Optional: Post Base Mounting Hardware; Concrete Footing Form Tubes

Reference the packing list that was provided with your shipment confirmation for a complete list of kit components, including the number of each type of lumber and hardware pack components.



Installation Steps

Step 1

If not already done, remove the wrapping from the outside of the crate.

Step 2

Lay all parts next to where you will be installing the pergola.

Step 3

Place all four beams on the ground (with the x’s facing up) exactly where you would like the pergola to stand, like so:


Step 4

Slide two rafters down onto the two outermost X marks on the beams and get a screw started through the top of the rafter in the predrilled holes. Screw them in just enough to hold the rafter in place. You may have to move the back beam around a little to get it into place.

Make sure you have the rafter on top of the same mark on both beams. The X marks look like this: lXl


Step 5

Step back and look to see how square everything looks. Take a tape measure and hook it on the outside tip of the rafters, and pull the tape to the opposite corner. Write down the measurement. Then hook it on the other corner and pull to the opposite corner like this:


Move the back beam from side to side until you have the same measurement both ways. When you have the same measurement, it is perfectly square. Hint: This is done easier if you and your helper both have a tape measure and pull them across at the same time.

Step 6

Now you can see where you should dig your holes for each post. (Or mount your post bases if you’re on concrete.) Look at the top of the beam just inside the first rafter where it says post. If you are on concrete, make a mark on the ground directly in the center of the lines where it says post on all four corners.  If you are on grass or dirt, stick the flags that are provided with the kit into the ground on all corners where it says post.

Step 7

Unscrew and remove the rafters from the beams and move everything out of the way. Now you should be left with four marks where your holes or post bases will go.

Step 8

Dig 2 or 4 foot deep holes (depending on the depth desired) or install your post bases directly over top of all 4 of your markers.  If installing post bases, place them on the concrete in the exact position where they will be installed. Find the center of the hole on the bottom of the base and drill into the concrete with a 5/8” concrete drill bit at least 4” deep. Place the washer and nut on the concrete anchor, place the flared end into the hole in the concrete, and hammer it down until it is against the post base. Tighten down with a 3⁄4” wrench until it is snug.

Step 9

Lay the four posts on the ground with the bottoms at the edge of each hole, with the tops facing away from each other. Like this:


Step 10

Lay one beam down on the ground near the top of the posts. Slide the posts up and onto the beam between the lines on the beam where it says post.

Step 11

Set the other beam on top sandwiching the post in between the two beams.

Step 12

Place 1 washer on each ½” bolt. Lift up the beam assembly enough to fit the bolts between the ground and the beam and insert the bolts into the holes from the bottom. Hint: You may want to use a block of wood to place on the ground under the bolt so you can push the beam down to get the bolt to come up through the hole.  Place a washer and nut on each of the bolts and make them snug but do not tighten them down yet. Now you should have this:


Step 13

With one person on each side, tilt the assembly up and drop the posts into the postholes (or into the post bases if on concrete). Have your helper hold the assembly plumb. (Note: For some of the larger size pergolas this step may require more help) Refill the holes around the posts with dirt or dry concrete. If you are using concrete, do not water it in yet. Check for level across the top of the beam and on the sides of the posts. If you are installing the pergola on top of a concrete patio with post bases, you will need to prop the assembly up so that it does not fall. Once you have the bottom of the posts in the post bases, put one screw on each side to hold them in place.

Step 14

Repeat step 15 for the other beam and post assembly.

Step 15

Move your stepladder in between the two sides. Take one of the rafters and slide it onto the outermost X mark on the beams just like you did on the ground.  Now move to the opposite side and slide another rafter into position on the outermost X mark. Now your helper should be able to let go of the assembly.

Step 16

Install all of the remaining rafters on the remaining X marks and secure them to the beam with 3” deck screws through the predrilled holes. (If on concrete, now is the time to finish securing the posts to the bases.)

Step 17

Place the top slats into position in the layout lines across the top of the rafters on the lines labeled with an S and screw them down to the rafters. Start on one side and make your way across to the other side screwing every other rafter. Stagger your screw pattern as pictured below:

Make sure every top slat is screwed down on both end rafters as pictured. Also, make sure you have the same overhang on all of the top slats. Be careful screwing the screws in because stainless steel is a soft metal and they strip VERY EASILY! Push down hard while screwing them in. Make sure your screw gun is straight and that the square bit is inserted all the way into the screw. There are extra screws in every kit just in case you strip some, but if you need more you should be able to find them at any local hardware store. If you are having trouble with the screws stripping, it is helpful to get a bar of soap and rub the threads of the screw across it before screwing them in. This lubricates the screw, and they will go in much easier.


Step 18

Check the entire unit for level and plumb and tighten down nuts.

Step 19

Install the Angle Braces. Four of the Angles will go up in between the beams and the other four will attach to the inside edge of the outside rafters – look at the picture below and it will make sense. To install the first four angles, slide the corner braces, with the long side towards the top, in between the two pieces of wood that make up the beam. Get it flush with the top of the beam and push the bottom side against the post. Make sure everything is nice and flush to the post and to the top of the beam. Screw in two 3” deck screws through the angle brace into the post through the predrilled holes, then screw the top through the face of the beam into the angle with four (4) 3” deck screws. (There are no predrilled holes in the face of the beam) Repeat for three more angle braces. Then, with the next four angles, place the angle against the post with the long side up against the inside of the first rafter. Screw into the post through the predrilled holes at the bottom end that is against the post. Screw four (4) screws through the top of the angle and into the rafter board. Repeat for the rest of the angle braces. This is what the angles should look like when installed correctly:


Step 20

Water in the concrete or dirt.  Be sure not to push the unit around while the concrete is curing (about 24 hours).

You’re Done!

Thanks again for your business. We really do appreciate our customers and their feedback on ways to improve our products. So after you’ve completed putting your kit together, sit down, have a cold drink, and drop us a line at to tell us what you think about our products. Any feedback on how we can make our kits easier to install will be very helpful. Pictures are always welcome! You can post pergola photos on Facebook, Twitter, or email them to us. Don’t forget to check our Facebook page and blog for news on all of pergola kits and outdoor living ideas.

Crafted with pride in the U.S.A!

Pergola Depot

Call: 1-877-563-0002 Ext. 2