A pergola is an excellent addition to any outdoor space, whether it’s a backyard, patio or wooden deck. It can be the centerpiece of a landscape design and a sweet spot to relax and escape the sun’s heat. That is why it needs to be stable and properly secured. Depending on the ground type, there are different techniques for anchoring a pergola.
Today, we will be looking at how to anchor a pergola to pavers. There are six main methods we recommend:
- Drilling into the pavers
- Adding post footings into the ground
- Securing the post bases with concrete
- Using concrete footing
- Using leg weights
- Hiring a professional
We will discuss each of these methods in detail, including the required steps and materials. We will also share helpful tips along the way to ensure things go smoothly. The goal is to have a pergola that is stable and secure for life instead of one that high winds can move.
So, keep reading if you’re planning to anchor a pergola to pavers.
Can you anchor a pergola to pavers?
Yes, you can. While pavers and paving stones ordinarily don’t provide much support for anchoring a pergola, you can drill into them and add footings or use concrete to secure the post bases. Smaller pavers are more likely to crack while drilling, so you need to be very careful. When correctly done, a finished pergola, whether it’s freestanding or attached to your house, can add a touch of class to your paver patio while protecting you from the weather.
Why Anchor A Pergola To Pavers?
There are several benefits that come with anchoring a pergola to pavers. Firstly, which is most obvious, it ensures the safety and stability of your pergola.
Not anchoring a pergola leaves it at the mercy of strong winds and storms. The structure can fall over, which could be destructive. The opposite is the case when you properly anchor the pergola. It will be secured in place against inclement weather, which is important for worry-free enjoyment.
Furthermore, not everyone will have a soft ground or existing concrete slab to install their pergola. For you, it might just be pavers. The good thing is that pavers are relatively secure and will successfully support a pergola if proper installation steps are followed.
Lastly, anchoring your pergola is essential for your safety and those around you. During storms or high wind conditions, a poorly secured pergola can get swayed and cause damage to your home or the pergola itself.
Is it Better to Anchor the Pergola Before Pavers?
Yes, this is often recommended. It is much easier to dig into plain ground than one that is decorated with pavers. Likewise, you will have less difficulty securing each pergola post into the ground. Some people will even add concrete after digging to provide better hold for the pergola or gazebo posts.
So, to reiterate, it is better to anchor your pergola before pavers because it’s simpler and requires less effort.
In reality, not every homeowner has the option to anchor their pergola on the ground. Maybe you bought the house recently, and it already has pavers in the yard. Or where you’re staying now is rented, and you don’t want to do any serious damage to the landscaping (assuming it has pavers).
Besides this, we highly suggest you anchor your pergola into the ground before you install pavers. You may also consider replacing existing pavers if you don’t like the look. Having said that, if you decide to use your existing pavers as they are, then read on to see how we do it.
How To Anchor A Pergola To Pavers
In this section, we will look at the six best ways for anchoring pergola to pavers. But before we begin the project, we need to do some preparation. Let’s get started!
If your pavers are not level, your pergola will likely not be leveled. A pergola that is not leveled can tip over in high winds. So, before starting, you want to make sure your chosen location (i.e., where you want to anchor the pergola) is a flat surface. Also, ensure there are no trees or heavy objects directly above the pergola that could fall on it. Lastly, consider the available space and ensure it’s enough to erect your pergola.
Use Post Fittings
One of the best ways to anchor a gazebo or pergola to pavers is to use post fittings. This simply involves removing some pavers and adding post fittings into the ground where you removed the pavers. The fittings are meant to be attached to the pergola legs to hold the structure in place. Interestingly, this method works with or without pavers. But it can be a bit demanding, so be prepared to put in some work if you plan to work solo.
What You Need
- Post fittings
Mark where you want to install the legs of the pergola, then remove the existing patio pavers there.
Add fresh concrete beneath the area where you removed the pavers. Depending on the thickness of the pavers, you can dig the ground a little, but this is not usually required.
While the concrete is still wet, install the post footing brackets. The one we mostly recommend is this option from BISupply. They are very easy to use and fit a wide range of pergola and gazebo legs. All you need is the right tools and following the instructions.
Once the brackets are in place, give them some time to dry with the concrete.
Finally, attach the pergola legs to the sturdy post fittings.
Use Concrete Footing
Another way to secure a pergola base is to use concrete footers. This method might require some extra effort depending on the type of bedding you have beneath the pavers. It requires you to dig holes in the soil directly below the pavers and then add concrete to the hole.
What You Need
- Flat head screwdriver
- Rubber mallet
- Post hole digger / Shovel
To get started, you must decide where (on the pavers) you want to place the pergola.
Once you’ve resolved the location, mark the pavers to be removed with chalk.
Next, remove the marked pavers using a rubber mallet and flat head screwdriver. Do this gently in order not to scratch the pavers.
Once you’ve successfully taken out the pavers, the ground underneath is now exposed. Now, open a hole in the ground that is at least 10 inches deep. You can either use a shovel or a post-hole digger for this task, but we recommend the latter.
After digging the holes, go ahead and put the pergola posts into them. Next, add concrete to the hole to secure the posts. It should be leveled with the ground.
Now, allow the concrete anchor to dry for at least 48 hours before replacing the pavers you removed.
Add Post Brackets
Some homeowners may not welcome the idea of removing pavers to install post fittings. If you’re in this category, you may consider drilling permanent holes into existing pavers (instead of removing them) and adding post brackets. There are many post brackets designed for this type of situation. A good example is this product from SPACEEUP, which is available in multiple packs. Each bracket is designed to fit the bases of your pergola posts. There are four holes for four screws which allow you to screw it into the paver and attach your pergola.
The process is fairly easy, but there are a few things to remember. First, make sure you use the appropriate drill bit that can screw into the paver without causing any damage. Thus, the size of the bit is important. Also, you will need masonry screws specifically designed for this kind of DIY project.
Once you’ve assembled the right tools, the installation process to drill holes should be fairly easy. We suggest keeping an extra paver or two close that can serve as a replacement just in case you mistakenly crack any of the existing pavers.
Concrete The Base
If you don’t want to drill or remove your existing pavers, you can concrete the pergola footings. This is particularly useful if you’re renting the space and want to set up a pergola but don’t want to mess with the pavers.
The method requires purchasing large containers for each leg of the pergola. This could be metal buckets or barrel planters. You can purchase two or four containers depending on whether it’s an attached pergola or a freestanding one.
Once you have the containers, add a bit of sand, then place each leg or post base into a container or planter. Next, pour concrete into it. Do this for all the legs, then allow the concrete to dry for at least 48 hours; then you’re set.
It’s worth noting that the containers can crack the pavers if they’re too heavy. To prevent this, make sure they are not too heavy. We recommend around 100 pounds of concrete for each of the concrete footings.
Use Leg Weights
Another way to anchor a pergola to pavers is using leg weights, which are often heavy-weight bags filled with sand or dirt.
This is probably the easiest and most adaptable method. However, it should only be a temporary solution, usually for events or when you want to use the pergola for a short period of time. It’s best used for a lightweight pergola. Here’s an example of something you can use on Amazon.
Using weight bags is not only inexpensive, but it also ensures you can remove them as needed.
However, as earlier indicated, this method should only be used for lightweight pergolas. For heavy-duty pergolas, you need something more secure and stable for a permanent installation.
Get A Professional
The methods discussed above are relatively easy, but beware: there’s always a possibility of damaging your pavers permanently. Also, there’s a threshold for the amount of work you must put in to complete them successfully.
If you want to protect your pavers or don’t want to do so much work, hiring an expert contractor or landscaper could be the easy way out. In fact, this is what we recommend if you want things to go as planned.
The only downside with this method is that it can be a bit expensive and beyond your budget. But it’s something you should consider if you have a unique backyard or very heavy pergola. An expert will be able to make a more precise evaluation and determine how best to securely install your new pergola without damaging your pavers.
Can you drill into concrete pavers?
Yes, you can. A pergola can be installed on pavers by drilling into it.
Pavers are set up naturally in a way that makes them fairly secure. They are not cemented together but are held in place by gravity. This means you can’t apply much force when trying to anchor anything on them, or else you will displace them. So, it’s a lot easier to drill into them rather than using a screw.
However, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, ensure you choose the right drill bit size for the job. It should be a special bit designed for concrete.
Secondly, you don’t want to be too fast when drilling, or else you might end up cracking or chipping the pavers. Instead, you want to go as slowly and with care. The best drill for pavers is usually a hammer drill.
Lastly, make sure to wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from flying debris.
FAQs – How to mount pergola to pavers
Can you anchor a metal pergola to pavers?
Yes, you can. In fact, metal pergolas are easier to set up though they might be more expensive due to the material cost. Specifically, aluminum pergolas are lightweight, which makes them the perfect option for pavers. More so, they are maintenance-free, unlike wood, and will never twist, sag, rot, or splinter.
Does a pergola need to be anchored down?
Yes. To properly secure a pergola, you have to anchor it down. This helps to keep it in place and ensure it doesn’t get toppled in high winds. This is particularly important if the weather conditions in your area are severe.
What is the easiest way to secure a pergola on pavers?
Using leg weights is the easiest way to secure a pergola on pavers. This basically involves attaching heavy weights to the bases of the pergola. The weights can be filled with sand or water and are meant to hold the structure down in high wind conditions.
Can Pavers Hold the Weight of a Pergola or Gazebo?
Yes, they can if the pergola is lightweight. For a heavy pergola, it’s best to anchor it into the ground before setting up the pavers. Concrete pavers, especially the wider ones, tend to crack easily. But there’s no way to tell until you’ve tested things out. So, make your findings before you delve in!
Can You Put a Patio Cover on Pavers?
Yes, you can, and you should. The whole essence of a patio is to create an extension of your home outside. A cover can provide protection and add style to whatever structure you have in your pavers, whether it’s a pergola, gazebo, or shed. There are many different types of patio cover. These covers include tarps, awnings, canopies, solar screens, aluminum foil, vinyl, etc.
As you can see, anchoring a pergola to pavers has never been more practical. Even though it requires some DIY skills, the process is fairly easy. If you can follow the steps for the methods described above, we almost guarantee you will have a pergola that is stable, secure and won’t be moved in high winds.
As long as outdoor living is concerned, nothing is more important than having a backyard that is safe at all times. So, take your pergola installation seriously. With the exception of leg weights, all the other methods will ensure your pergola is secure and protected for years to come.
Let us know if you have more questions about how to anchor a pergola on pavers. Until then, why not try out one of the methods above and see how simple it is!