Pergola DIY

Pergola Project DIY with materials list

DIY Pergola project with materials list and the steps we took to complete our project. 

Since even before becoming a homeowner, I have loved the look of pergolas. The way wisteria vines climb the beams and create the perfect shade. All those beautiful photographs of set tables and pitchers filled with lemonade, condensation dripping down the sides.

Pergolas are gorgeous.

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Pergola DIY

We moved into this home knowing we had a few projects we needed 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. 

Its 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

DIY Pergola Project

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 

Before you Start

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. 

Pergola design

We decided to make a 12×12 foot pergola with a few custom designs. We definitely did not go with 16 on center (if you don’t know what that is, basically builders like things a certain way…I like things a different way).

We also made a quick change and decided to take down the railing and incorporate the beam to the railing (awesome decision! Until…later)

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 DIY

Using the jigsaw, we cut out the inserts on our rafters… 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.

Pergola Purlins

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 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!

The project took two and a half days to complete and came out beautifully.

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

Pergola Canopy Cover

We added some curtains for privacy, a shade sail for the sun and have even planted a wisteria vine to climb up towards the rafters.

 Six month after planting the wisteria and you can see that it has already reached the top! It was a great family project that we’ll enjoy for years to come. 

Pergola Wisteria

Update- Its been a full year since we started this project and as you can see our wisteria has bloomed and is continuing to grow. 

We will be doing some trimming and training to weave this gorgeous plant along the rafters. 

Best Wishes!


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