Pergola DIY & Material List | Backyard Makeover


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

Even before becoming a homeowner I have loved the look of pergolas. The way wisteria vines climb the large beams, creating the perfect shade from the hot summer sun. Summer nights with fireflies and the glow of the projector as you watch movies under the stars.

Pergolas are gorgeous.

Pergola DIY

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We moved into this home knowing we had a few projects to tackle, one of which was building a pergola. Our backyard is in full sun from noon until sunset. We tried beating the heat with this amazing double sided umbrella. 

It’s 15 feet long and by golly, it was amazing. It still is! We added an umbrella stand with cement to keep it stable. But once the sun started to set, the light would come under the umbrella sides. 

Large umbrella


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 
  • Good Music 


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

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

This is our own personal experience. It is a recommend that you seek professional guidance. 


We decided to make a 12×12 foot pergola with a few custom designs.

We also made a quick change and decided to take down the railing and incorporate the beam to the railing.

Then we added some 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 with 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 the jigsaw, we cut out the inserts on our rafter and that’s when we saw my mistake. Since we decided to incorporate the beam into the railing, my 12×12 measurement was now off. This was closer to 13×13 making our purlin rafters a hair shorter than intended.


We ended up cutting a nice C shape to finish off the ends, and honestly I love it! I know it was supposed to be longer on the top rafters, but it worked out perfectly.

Pergola Perlins

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

Finally we add additional support with the 6×6″ posts. Cutting them to size and securing them using the impact driver, remaining lag bolts with washers and structural wood screws. We put the railings back in place and we finished our Pergola DIY Project!

Pergola DIY

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 even better than I had imagined.

It is absolutely our favorite place to have coffee in the morning and enjoy grilled pizza in the evenings.

Pergola DIY Project


It depends on how spaced out your rafters are along with how the sun hits them. The sun sets directly behind our house, so at noon we wouldn’t have much shade but in the early afternoon the rafters create shadows making shade.

Since we have no trees around to provide shade we added a shade sail with grommets to the top. It provides so much relief from the hot southern sun.

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 so we could easily take them down if we needed to. When the wind picks up we run a rope through the bottom grommets that hold the curtains in place.

Related posts:

In 2019 we planted a wisteria vine and this beautiful plant is making its way up towards the rafters.

Pergola Wisteria

This pergola has extended our living space and has become a second dinning room and living room. The family dinners and movie nights are just a few ways we can now enjoy our deck to the fullest. Building this pergola was a great family project that I know we’ll enjoy for years to come. 

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