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

  2. 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.

    1. 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! 🙂

  3. Britt,
    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.

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

      1. 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

        1. 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!

  4. Britt,
    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?

    1. 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!

    1. 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! 🙂

  5. 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

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


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

  8. 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,

    1. 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! 🙂

    1. 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! 🙂

    1. 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! 🙂

    1. 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.

  9. Hi.
    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.

  10. 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

  11. 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!

    1. 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.

  12. Hey! What a beautiful project! I have a few questions that I hope you can answer.

    1. My patio is 12×12 and I would like to build a pergola to maximize that surface. What is the LxW of the one you built?

    2. Could you get some minor details from your husband about how to laminate the headers i.e. what kind of glue he used and how long he let it sit?

    3. What was your reasoning behind the skylight? Was it just person preference or did you have others reasons?

  13. I love this design and think you did an amazing job! Question, by using decking boards for the roofing, did you experience shrinking of the deck boards? did this cause any problems for the roof?

    1. Thank you so much, Joe. Nothing has warped or shrank! We didn’t have any issues with the roof!