Introduction

a newly installed pergola above a garage door
Photo: Kolin Smith
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The garage door is the first thing most of us see when we arrive home, so it better be a sight worthy of admiration. Impossible? Not at all: Perching a pergola upon shapely brackets adds architectural dimension and intriguing shadow lines to this otherwise utilitarian entry point. Our approach calls for mounting ready-made brackets to the door's casing—and the framing behind it—then attaching an assembly of rafters and purlins shaped to complement your home's existing trim. Follow along as This Old House senior technical editor Mark Powers guides you through making this decorative structure, which looks as good freshly installed as it would draped in flowering vines.

Brackets: Port Orford cedar Original style end bracket, about $88, and Contemporary style center support, about $55, Auer-Jordan.

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    Tools List

    • hand clamps
      clamps
    • combination square
      combination square
    • 1-gallon paint can
    • jigsaw
      jigsaw
    • sandpaper
      120-grit sandpaper
    • miter saw
      miter saw
    • 2½-inch sash brush
    • drill
      drill/driver
    • Countersink bit
      -inch combination countersink bit
    • 1/8-inch drill bit
      -inch bit
    • extender flexible bit
      bit extender with flexible shaft
    • caulk gun
      caulk gun
    • two-foot level
      level
    • 30-foot tape measure
      tape measure

    Shopping List

    2x4 pressure-treated lumber. Get three 12-foot boards for the rafters.

    2x2 pressure-treated balusters. Get six 8-footers to make the purlins.

    24-by-24-inch cedar side brackets. Get two.

    3½-by-24-inch cedar center bracket. Get one.

    3½-inch deck screws. Get a 1-pound box.

    2½-inch deck screws. Get a 1-pound box.

    acrylic adhesive caulk. Get one tube.

    -inch wood plugs. Get one package.

    solid-color acrylic exterior stain. Get 1 gallon.