"Landscaper Know How" ~ Classic Cedar Pergola - Notching the post


Pergolas and arbors have made their way in to the hearts of most gardeners and home owners. They can add so much to a space by creating the 'Outdoor Room' feel. When constructing a landscape structure it is important to incorporate strong joinery. Cross members that can rest on the post give the greatest strength. This allows the post to carry the load (weight) of the cross members and purlins, not just the fasteners. Diagonal bracing is also very helpful (we'll cover that in another post).
Making the notch can be made a little easier with some 'Landscaper Know How'...
Measure from the bottom of the post up to mark your line on each side. This will give you the exact same height on all of your post. Use a quick clamp and a speed square as a jig to keep your bottom cut straight and square. Use a circular saw and make cuts approximately 1/8 inch apart all of the way through the notched area. The remaining slats of wood can be easily snapped off. The use of a large wood chisel is recommended to clean the remaining. A quick run of a wood rasp finishes up the joint and you are ready to assemble.
Hopefully you will be adding a Pergola or Arbor your yard or garden. Follow the link to see a short video of how to notch the post: http://switzersnurseryandlandscaping.wordpress.com/2013/04/15/landscaper-know-how-crafting-the-classic-cedar-pergola-notching-the-post/
Thank you for your visit and best wishes....
Pergolas and Arbors can add so much beauty as well as adding function to a space.  Hanging baskets grace this clean and simple Classic Cedar Pergola.
Pergolas and Arbors can add so much beauty as well as adding function to a space. Hanging baskets grace this clean and simple Classic Cedar Pergola.
Patterns and Jigs... when ever possible make it easy to replicate any process in the construction.  Use scrap pieces of wood to make patterns to trace out details.
Patterns and Jigs... when ever possible make it easy to replicate any process in the construction. Use scrap pieces of wood to make patterns to trace out details.
Strong joinery is important for years of enjoyment. The cross members can rest on the post which carries the load.  The fasteners hold the joint nice and tight in place.
Strong joinery is important for years of enjoyment. The cross members can rest on the post which carries the load. The fasteners hold the joint nice and tight in place.
Notching out the post with a circular saw.  Clamp a speed square to the post for a guide to a square cut.  Make several cuts and remove the small pieces by hand.
Notching out the post with a circular saw. Clamp a speed square to the post for a guide to a square cut. Make several cuts and remove the small pieces by hand.
Cleaning up after the cuts. One side of a notch post is almost complete.
Cleaning up after the cuts. One side of a notch post is almost complete.
The post assembly... when possible work inside in a controlled setting.  Line up the cross members and post and check to make sure they are square before drilling and securing.
The post assembly... when possible work inside in a controlled setting. Line up the cross members and post and check to make sure they are square before drilling and securing.

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1 comment
  • Douglas Hunt
    on Apr 16, 2013

    I love a pergola (and am very happy to have one). These are excellent points. Thanks for posting them.

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