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HDBlogSquad // How to Build a Covered Patio

Like I mentioned on last night’s live Periscope tour, I am overjoyed with how our new patio cover turned out! It’s such a beautiful space that definitely adds to our “backyard appeal.” It feels great knowing that space is finished and we have the entire summer to enjoy it! #BringOnTheBBQ’s

Yesterday’s post captured the majority of my feelings towards the backyard, and highlighted a lot of the DIY projects we’ve done to date. In this post I want to show you exactly what went into building the patio cover… and hopefully convince you that it’s easy to take on a large backyard DIY project when you have the experts on your side.

So let’s jump right back in! With project material list & sketch in hand, we visited our good friend David at the deck & fence design center. He reviewed our sketch, and after asking a few questions helped us order our materials. Because we needed a large amount of lumber we opted to order all of our materials at The Home Depot store and then have it shipped directly to our driveway (the $60 delivery charge was well worth it!). Once we had all the lumber and tools in hand we got down and dirty and started our project. While the instructions that follow are specific to our project, they will vary based on your patio project, plan and material list. Obviously you would want to do what works best in your backyard!

Building a Covered Patio

Step 1 // Install Anchors & Column Brackets
While this step could be done several different ways, “J” and I opted to use a post bracketwedge anchor to tie the columns into our concrete pads. Using a drill bit we drilled a hole the length of our wedge anchor (4.5 inches) into the concrete. We then placed a 6×6 inch post bracket onto the top end of the wedge bolt. Using a hammer we gently tapped the bolt into the hole as far as it would go. Using a wrench we tightened the bolt so the clip on the bottom expanded. It’s important to ensure it is tight as this is what will hold the bracket and columns in place.

Step 2 // Build the Header Beams
Ensuring the roof is stable and supported is also important when building a structure of this size. While three 11ft x 10in x 2in boards would have been sufficient, the thickness of the column and beam would not have matched up. By laminating the 11x10x2’s together using two pieces of 1/2 inch plywood, we were able to make the beam the same thickness as the column. Just note, this step is purely for looks and doesn’t necessarily contribute to the strength of the beam. While I would have loved to have shown you this process, “J” tackled this piece of the project while I was away in Nashvilleand he forgot to take pictures!

Step 3 // Install the Columns
After we cut the columns to our desired height (7ft and 9ft), we carefully stood them up on end in the brackets. Using deck screws, we affixed the columns to the brackets.

Step 4 // Install the Header Beams
This is where the heavy lifting came into play! The header beams easily weighed over 170lb. so we had to bring the muscle! It took two guys (and a spotter) to lift and place each header beam on top of the two columns (so they ran parallel to one another)! Of course one last “level” check is always advised before securing to each column using a 6×2.

Step 5 // Cut the Roof Rafters
After cutting each rafter to the correct length, we wanted to ensure the rafters would sit securely on the headers, so we used a cut called a birdmouth (this allows the rafter to have more surface contact with the header). The ends of the rafter were also cut on an angle for a decorative touch as they would be exposed.

Step 6 // Install the Rafters
This step definitely involves two people because it’s all about making sure the rafters are evenly spaced. Several screws are toenailed into the rafter & header on either side to ensure stability.

Step 7 // Cut and Install the Roof Boards
We opted to use deckboards for our roof vs. plywood; with the ceiling being open and exposed, we would rather see boards than plywood. Since we installed two skylights, some of the boards had to be cut shorter in order to accommodate to window. We also had pressure treat sealer on hand so we could seal the ends of the deckboards that were cut and exposed through the skylight.

Step 8 // Install the Skylights
With the roofboards installed it was easy to slip the window into place over the hole. We followed all instructions for the skylights to ensure a tight seal.

Step 9 // Lay Tar Paper & Shingle the Roof
We could have stopped there, but because we wanted the roof to be leakproof, we opted to lay tar paper between the shingles and the roof boards. It’s as easy as cutting it to size and nailing or tacking in place. Shingles were then installed over the entire roof. Working from the bottom up, this took us approximately 4 hours to complete. For an excellent, detailed how-to see Home Depot’s roofing guide. At this time we also installed a drip edge.

Step 10 // Accessorize and Enjoy!
I’m not going to lie, shopping and decorating was the best part of this project! Big loveseats and simple chairs allow for lots of seating, while an area rug ties the space together. Large curtains work to keep the morning sun out when lounging, and bright pink flowers bring a touch of the outdoors “in.” Soooo relaxing!

// Project Breakdown \\

For those of you who are interested in the materials breakdown of this project, you can find everything listed below. The number of products may vary for you, depending on the size of your covered patio.

Looking for more #HDBlogSquad project inspiration? Check out the other talented bloggers that are a part of the squad:

Looking for more beautiful pictures of this outdoor living area? Check out my Reveal Post!

Disclosure: I was provided with a gift card from The Home Depot in order purchase supplies to complete the this HDBlogSquad project.

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  • Reply Jenny @ The Brunette Baker July 5, 2015 at 4:12 pm

    This is incredible, Brittany! It's like having a whole separate living space outside. Well done! Xo

  • Reply Tiffany Kermani July 13, 2015 at 9:02 pm

    Well done, that patio looks amazing, perfect space for the summer, I really love it.

  • Reply Claire February 2, 2017 at 9:00 pm

    That is beautiful! I want to build something similar. I also have a window in the way & im concerned about blocking the little amount of light we get inside the house.

    Do you find that you receive a lot less light? I imagine the skylights help a little.

    • Reply Britt Stager February 6, 2017 at 10:30 pm

      Hi Claire, thanks so much for your kind words! The lack of light was my #1 concern when building this! That particular window is the only source of light to our dining room and I didn’t want to cut out the sunshine completely. The skylights definitely help when it comes to letting the light in, so if you have the same concerns I would highly recommend looking into the skylight option! Hope this helps! 🙂

  • Reply Pedro March 26, 2017 at 3:57 am

    I am planning on building a self standing pergola/solarium over my patio spa, and your plans are very similar to what I will be doing with the exception that I will make the roof with polycarbonate sheets, and will add retractable shades for those hot summer days. Thank you for posting your idea, and instructions it makes it easier for me to build mine.

    • Reply Britt Stager March 30, 2017 at 2:35 pm

      You’re very welcome Pedro! Good luck building your solarium over your spa – it sounds lovely!! 🙂

      • Reply Lauren April 16, 2021 at 12:40 pm

        Question when you build something like that in your yard does it have to have a permit? I would love to have that. But idk what the right steps. Thanks

        • Reply Britt Stager April 16, 2021 at 12:55 pm

          Hi Lauren, great question! The need for a permit (and what the permit covers) differs from country to country, city to city, and municipality to municipality. A phone call to your local permitting office is the best way to determine if you need a permit. Many permit officers are happy to discuss permitting issues with anonymous callers as a way to avoid future code violations. If it’s determined you need a permit, the permit officers will request to see your plans in order to approve them and grant a permit. Depending on what you are building, it’s always worth the quick phone call to your local permit office, it will save you time and money in the long run!

  • Reply Tom April 16, 2017 at 8:45 am

    Looks awesome! Great job!
    A few questions: I am interested in how, or if, you connected the roof/structure to the house. If it was connected how did you flash the roofing and/or connect to the house? If not, does rain water flow down along the house and how stable is the structure?

    • Reply Britt Stager April 17, 2017 at 12:34 am

      Hi Tom, thanks for the comments! The patio cover is not tied into the house at all. We opted for this design as the concrete pad (which the patio cover is bolted to) and the house float differently, therefore we would have needed to pour footings instead of a pad. We do get a decent amount of rain here throughout the year and have not had any problems with water flowing down the side of the house under the cover. It’s actually quite nice to sit out there when it’s sprinkling outside! In terms of the stability of the structure, we’ve had this patio cover for 2 years now and it’s holding up well! Hope this answers your questions!

  • Reply Carrie Woods April 29, 2017 at 12:08 pm

    I love the design and would like to do this for our hot tub. What size is your patio?

    • Reply Britt Stager May 2, 2017 at 2:48 pm

      HI Carrie, thanks so much for your kind words! This patio cover would be excellent for a hot tub! The concrete slab is roughly 12×12. Hope that helps! 🙂

      • Reply Carrie Woods May 7, 2017 at 1:09 am

        so what size was the patio cover? sorry i should have asked that first!

        • Reply Britt Stager May 8, 2017 at 4:54 pm

          Hi Carrie, it’s roughly 11 ft x 11ft!

  • Reply Browneaction May 1, 2017 at 11:07 pm

    Looks nice. Not sure why you’d bother with the expense of a couple of skylights though when are no walls, and a ceiling space so small. Waste of time and money

  • Reply Laurie Smith May 11, 2017 at 4:07 am

    Hey Brittany, awesome site! I’m wondering how many “person hours” it took you to build and complete it.


  • Reply Brittnay Snyder May 20, 2017 at 2:55 pm

    Beautiful!!! We are looking at building a patio covered roof. What is the average cost it took to build your roof?

  • Reply Keith Martin June 18, 2017 at 10:58 pm

    I have a huge pergola and patio on the side of my home in Dallas. It had the clear corrugated roofing that acted like a magnifying lens to the sun. I’m going with your idea. Simple roof and skylights. Brilliant!
    Thank you,

  • Reply nicole judiscak July 29, 2017 at 9:19 pm

    This is amazing! Do you remember how much it cost to build this, by chance?

    • Reply Britt Stager September 1, 2017 at 2:45 pm

      Hey Nicole, it cost approximately $1,800 CDN for the materials (including the skylights). This does not include the cost to pour the concrete pad the lean-to is attached to! Hope this helps! 🙂

  • Reply Casey August 1, 2017 at 12:25 am

    Do you know roughly what it cost?

    • Reply Britt Stager September 1, 2017 at 2:43 pm

      Hi Casey, it cost approximately $1,800 CDN using the exact materials we did. This does not include the cost to pour the concrete pad the lean-to is attached to! 🙂

  • Reply Barbara Foti August 25, 2017 at 2:46 pm

    Cost, please

    • Reply Britt Stager September 1, 2017 at 2:43 pm

      Hi Barbara, the cost to build the lean-to was approximately $1,800 CDN using the exact materials we did. This does not include the cost to pour the concrete pad the lean-to is attached to. Hope that helps! 🙂

  • Reply Michelle August 31, 2017 at 12:35 am

    Yes, how much did this cost? Minus the skylight fixtures..

    • Reply Britt Stager September 1, 2017 at 2:41 pm

      Hi Michelle, the cost to build the lean-to was approximately $1,800 CDN. The skylights were about $450, so if you excluded them you’d be looking at about $1,350.

  • Reply Ian September 3, 2017 at 6:38 am

    The pergola looks great, and so are the instructions to build it. I would be tempted to build 2 sides just to half way up, to make it feel more like a room. Only other thing for anyone else taking this on, is access to windows above for cleaning/maintenance etc.

  • Reply Steve Warczachowski September 21, 2017 at 8:08 pm

    A question what was the
    Price for the material
    Thank you
    Steve w.

  • Reply Leslie June 20, 2018 at 8:54 pm

    Love your cover. Someday I hope to replace ours with something like yours. I want to use skylights that open to let in the evenings cool air. Of course I love the light they let in but want blinds like we have in house on skylight to keep sun out in late afternoon. Nice job

  • Reply Diane Cutsforth May 8, 2020 at 1:59 am

    Your supply list is missing the 6-2x6x12’s required for the header pieces.

    • Reply Kim August 13, 2020 at 5:17 pm

      Thank you for pointing this out! Going to buy supplies and would have not noticed this…

  • Reply Rose Wolfe August 4, 2021 at 2:21 pm

    My husband and I are planning a pergola on our concrete patio, but we’re concerned that the weight will cause the concrete to crack if we don’t cut holes and pour footers. Have you had any issues with this, and do you know how thick your concrete pad is? Thanks!

    • Reply Britt Stager August 4, 2021 at 4:38 pm

      Hi Rose, we formed and poured the concrete pad ourselves so we know it was 6 inches thick around the perimeter and 5 inches in the middle. The perimeter was poured thicker to help support the weight of the patio cover, otherwise, yes, there would have been cracking. To date, the patio has not cracked. You may need to check the building code in your area to determine how thick your concrete pad needs to be in order to install a structure of this size and weight.

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