Pergola DIY With Material List + Lumbar, Tools and Hardware

Pergola DIY with material list. Weekend pergola DIY project and the steps we took to complete our stunning backyard pergola paradise.

Pergola Project DIY with materials list

We purchased this home knowing we had a few DIY projects that needed to be done in order to truly make this house our own. One of those projects was making our backyard and deck feel more like an outdoor living space where we could spend hours outside enjoying the fresh air.

After a couple of years the time was finally right and we began our DIY pergola.

Pergola DIY

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Table of contents:

This is our own personal experience. It is a recommend that you seek professional guidance. Always practice tool safety and read manufactures instructions.


Materials List

Pergola Lumber

  • 8- 6″x6″x8′ Pressure treated
  • 5- 2″x8″x14′ Pressure treated
  • 16- 2″x6″x14′ Pressure treated 

Pergola Hardware

Simpson Strong-Tie Outdoor Accents-Black

  • 4- Base Posts
  • 16- Deck Joist Ties 
  • 22- Light Rafter Ties 
  •  8- Decorative Side Plate (optional)
  • 100 Approx. Structural wood screws w/Hex head washers
  • 45 Approx. #10x 1 1/2 ” connector screws
  • 110 Approx. Structural wood screws

General Hardware- 

  • 4- 1/2″x10″ Carriage Bolt w/flat washer, lock washer & nut
  •  4- 5/8″x5″ Lag Bolt w/ flat washer 
  • 16- Lag Bolt w/flat washer 


  • Circular saw
  • Hand saw
  • Jig saw
  • Table saw
  • Saw Horse
  • Drill
  • Impact Driver
  • Chisel 
  • Clamps
  • Trim Router 
  • Level 
  • Measuring tape
  • Socket set
  • Hammer
  • Ladder
  • Pencils 
  • Safety glasses
DIY pergola with outdoor lights and olive green curtains.


As with any big project be sure to check with your city to see if any permits are required.

If you are building on an existing structure make sure that structure is strong enough to hold the additional weight. 

This is our own personal experience. Be sure to seek professional advise.


We decided to make a 12’x12′ pergola with a few custom designs. One of those being a last minute decision to remove our old 4″x4″ railing post and incorporate the new 6″x6″ beam to the existing railing.

Then we added extra support under the deck and bolted our U brackets down using 4- 5/8″x5″ Lag Bolts w/ flat washers.

We secured our 6×6 columns to the post bases and then our side 2×8 rafters with the joist ties. Then we did the front and back 2×6 rafters with joist ties, making sure everything was square and level. 

Pergola cross sections in place


Using a jigsaw, we cut out the inserts on each of our rafters and that’s when we noticed my mistake. Since we decided to incorporate the beam into the railing, my 12’x12′ initial design measurement was now off. This pergola was shaping up to be closer to 13’x13′, making our purlin rafters a hair shorter than intended.

Pergola rafters attached to frame.

Since the end of the purlins were a tad shorter than originally planned, we decided to cut a simple C shape to finish of the decorative ends and secured each one into place.

Pergola purlins cut into a C shape.

We ripped 13 2×2 inch purlins out of 2×6 boards with the table saw for the top of our pergola and secured with wood screws at every intersecting board. 

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Finally we add additional support with the 6×6 posts. Cutting them to size and securing them in between the framing using an impact driver, remaining lag bolts with washers and structural wood screws.

We put the railings back in place and finished our Pergola DIY Project!

Pergola DIY with added support.

This project took two and a half days to complete with two men who worked long days and were experienced working with these tools. It came out absolutely gorgeous and has made this space really come together.

DIY pergola with outdoor lights and olive green curtains.


Whether or not your pergola provides shade depends on a few things. One would be how spaced out your rafters are from one another. A second thing to consider is how the sun hits the area you are building the pergola.

The sun sets directly behind our house, so at noon we wouldn’t have much shade but in the later afternoon the rafters create shadows making shade until the sun dips below the rafters as is sets.

Since we have no trees around to provide additional shade we added a shade sail with grommets to the top. It provides extra relief from the hot southern sun and makes this space so much more enjoyable in the heat.

shade sail over the pergola in the color sand.

We also added heavy duty curtains with grommets along the top and bottom. These curtains were an amazing backyard investment! We ran a cord along the top and hung the curtains with carabiners giving us extra privacy and even more shade as the sun begins to set for the evening.

Since they are heavy duty blackout curtains, this area stays cooler with no sun coming through.

Privacy curtains with top and bottom grommets.

When the wind picks up we simply run a rope through the bottom grommets of the curtain and tie it off to the 6×6 posts. That way we don’t have to worry about these curtains wiping around and intruding on us as we enjoy our dinner outside.

FORGET THE PROJECT – Show me where I can buy something similar and put it together myself

Ok, maybe going the the hardware store and lumbar yard isn’t something you’re interested in. But you’d still love to have a beautiful pergola. These options can be delivered to you and come with everything you need.


In 2019 we planted a wisteria vine and by mid summer it was already making its way up towards the top of the rafters.

For more information on how to plant and care for a wisteria, you can read this article How To Grow Wisteria + Beginners Guide.

Wisteria wrapping around the post of the pergola and reaching towards the rafters.
Purple flowering wisteria.

This pergola has extended our living space and has become a second dinning and living room. The family dinners and movie nights are just a few ways we now enjoy our deck to the fullest.

Building this pergola was a great family project that I know we’ll enjoy for many years to come. 

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