Project DIY Pergola – Part 3 – Pergolicious!

 Hope everyone had a good, productive weekend!  We sure did here!  Well, Saturday at least.  I got the wainscoting done (four, FOUR! coats of paint) and husband ran in the local Beach to Bay relay for his work team and placed 8th in the commercial division!  Pretty dang impressive for the largest relay in America, way to go husband!

But, today is our DIY pergola reveal!

Let’s go back in time and look at our before:

Save thousands by building your own DIY pergola with this simple design and tutorial from Table & Hearth!

Aaaand, the after!  Everyone, meet Pergie Perg ;)

Save thousands by building your own DIY pergola with this simple design and tutorial from Table & Hearth!

Crazysauce, right?!? It just polishes off the backyard so well and makes everything seem bigger and more open.  There is a barrage of after photos at the end of the post, but first I’ll go into the details of how we finished it.

You can find the first Project Pergola posts here and here, where, at the end of Day 1, we had this:

Save thousands by building your own DIY pergola with this simple design and tutorial from Table & Hearth!

A few weeks later we finally had time to finish it off and do the top.  We didn’t get too crazy and chunky with the design as I was worried it may look a bit top heavy since we could only use 4×4 posts because of the pond.  So we stuck to a simple two-level design with 2″x8″ and 2″x6″ beams.  Haul #2 to Lowe’s to get all the supplies.

Save thousands by building your own DIY pergola with this simple design and tutorial from Table & Hearth! *affiliate links included for your convenience, click here to see my full disclosure policy

{Supplies for DIY Pergola}

 4″ x 4″ x 10′ posts  x 4
1″ x 6″ x 12′ cut down for 1″ x 2″ slats  x 10 *not done yet
2″ x 8″ x 12′ boards  x 4 – bottom cross beams
2″ x 6″ x 12′ boards  x 11 – top cross beams
1/2″ x 8″ carriage bolts  x 8
1/2″ nuts and washers  x 8
Quickrete  x 4
Sherwin-Williams Deck Stain “cedar” x 1 gallon
Nail gun
Circular saw
Jigsaw
Drill
1/2″ x18″ auger bit
Level, square, clamps, post hole digger, shovels, etc
Staining accessories

The lower beams are 2″x8″x12′ which gave us roughly 1.5′ of overhang (the frame is about 9′ square), I like alot of overhang.  We are still new to all this carpentry jazz so we didn’t want to attempt any ornate, hard-to-cut edges.  We just did a quick 45 degree angle starting 1″ from the edge.

Save thousands by building your own DIY pergola with this simple design and tutorial from Table & Hearth!

Our next step was to get the first beam centered to the posts, however, the back two posts had developed some good warp to them post-installation, so super frustrating cause we stringently went through each one in the store to get straight ones.  Therefore, we measured the space between posts at the base and used that to determine where each beam should cross at the top to get even overhang on both ends and marked it.  Starting with the shortest post, we held the beam flush to the top of it, got it level, and made temporary ledges for the beams to rest on.  We started with the end that had the warped post.  While I pushed on the post until it lined up with the mark we had made for the overhang, Matt clamped them together.  We clamped the first end too and were ready to drill.

Save thousands by building your own DIY pergola with this simple design and tutorial from Table & Hearth!

We put two off-center 1/2″ x 8″ galvanized carriage bolts (2″+4″+2″) on each post, drilling with a loooong 1/2″ auger bit and a super powerful drill.  Matt said the drill had crazy scary torque and it took him a while to get through each hole.  After the hole was drilled, they hammered the bolt through from the outside (also hard to do) and then used a ratchet to tighten the washer and nut on the inside.  Once they were done, we pulled off the ledges and used the reciprocating saw to chop off the excess from the three other posts so they were all flush (see why they were different heights here).

Save thousands by building your own DIY pergola with this simple design and tutorial from Table & Hearth!

The next level were the 2″x6″x12′ top beams which were attached by shooting 3″ or so galvanized nails with the huge scary nail gun.  We chose not to notch these onto the first beams because 1) we are new to this and that is way too intricate (puh-lease) and 2) I like the way they look flush anyway.  We did two on each end lined up with each side of the post.  Initially we had wanted these attached to the posts too but we felt like the clearance was too low when we did that so these aren’t actually attached to the post, just up to look like they are.

Save thousands by building your own DIY pergola with this simple design and tutorial from Table & Hearth!

Save thousands by building your own DIY pergola with this simple design and tutorial from Table & Hearth!

Then we were ready to throw the rest of them up!  We purchased ten, four for the ends and six in between, so I had Matt put them up there to see what the spacing looked like.  And I hated it, six was too few and there was way too much space in between.  We re-calculated for seven, adjusted them, and it was perfect, so we made marks for each one and just had to go get one more later on.

As you can see, it was pretty late on Day 2 (a Sunday) so we called it a day but the next day Matt’s dad graciously went and got the additional board, cut the edges, and then nailed all of them up.

Save thousands by building your own DIY pergola with this simple design and tutorial from Table & Hearth!

And this is what we got to come home to Monday after work!  A perfect, complete, Pergie Perg!  Well, almost complete, we will be putting 1″x2″x12′ slats across the top to make more shade and the whole thing will need to be stained in a few weeks but other than that, it’s done!!  Cue barrage of pictures…

Save thousands by building your own DIY pergola with this simple design and tutorial from Table & Hearth!

Save thousands by building your own DIY pergola with this simple design and tutorial from Table & Hearth!

Save thousands by building your own DIY pergola with this simple design and tutorial from Table & Hearth!

Save thousands by building your own DIY pergola with this simple design and tutorial from Table & Hearth!

Save thousands by building your own DIY pergola with this simple design and tutorial from Table & Hearth!

Save thousands by building your own DIY pergola with this simple design and tutorial from Table & Hearth!

In normal DIY-project fashion, here is our budget breakdown for this project including the future supplies for the slats and staining (all supplies from Lowe’s):

Total Cost – $392.43

$50.28 – 4″ x 4″ x 10′ posts ($12.57 each) x 4
$75.70 – 1″ x 6″ x 12′ cut down for 1″ x 2″ slats ($7.57 each) x 10 *not done yet
$55.88 – 2″ x 8″ x 12′ boards ($13.97 each) x 4 – bottom cross beams
$100.87 – 2″ x 6″ x 12′ boards ($9.17 each) x 11 – top cross beams
$22.96 – 1/2″ x 8″ carriage bolts ($2.87 each) x 8
$5.84 – 1/2″ nuts and washers ($0.73 each) x 8
$19.92 – Quickrete ($4.98 each) x 4
$36.98 – Sherwin-Williams Deck Stain “cedar” x 1 gallon
Nail gun – borrowed one
Circular saw – already had one
Jigsaw – already had
Drill – already had
1/2″ x 18″ auger bit – $24.00
Level, square, clamps, post hole digger, shovels, etc – already had
Staining accessories – already have

The father-in-law was a complete life-saver in this project, he brought almost all of the tools needed, he is really good with carpentry, and I’m sure if he wasn’t Matt’s partner in this and I had to be, we probably still wouldn’t be speaking :)  Huge thank you Gary!!  For $400ish and two full days of work, we got the pergola we wanted for about $1600 less than having a similar one done by the Home Depot (which was going to be about $2000 installed).  Man, if that savings doesn’t make you DIY one instead….

There will be future posts when we get the slats up and the whole thing stained, but I just couldn’t wait to get it up here in the meantime.  I am so freaking proud of Matt and his dad and am still blown away by it.  Let’s do a super throw-back before and after, just for the hell of it :)

Before, a la 2009, right after moving in:

Save thousands by building your own DIY pergola with this simple design and tutorial from Table & Hearth!

And 2014 with Pergie Perg!

Save thousands by building your own DIY pergola with this simple design and tutorial from Table & Hearth!

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36 thoughts on “Project DIY Pergola – Part 3 – Pergolicious!

  1. Eeeeee! Thank you so much for the feature Kayla!! It was super intimidating at first but really wasn’t too bad once they got started on it. But yes, we’ll come build you one :)

    1. It really wasn’t as bad as we thought, especially since we didn’t do any notching or fancy ends. The hardest part was getting the posts just right and getting the first four crossbeams up, after that it was smooth sailing. They are so proud of it :)

    1. Thanks Michele! We still need to put the top on, stain it (waiting for it not to be 9000 degrees out), and want to add a roll-down shade on the back side since the sun sets right through there. And hang some hummingbird feeders off of it ;)

  2. It turned out wonderful. My husband & I are not DIYers so this type of thing is something we could never do. I always admire people who can DIY.

    1. I’ve DIYed smaller things but we’ve never been much on the construction side of it all, so I was pretty nervous about this! I did a ton of research but was still really nervous. It wasn’t as bad as I had worked it up to be and my father-in-law was such a huge help :) I never thought I could do any of the stuff I’ve done, but as soon as you teach yourself and do your first project, it’s exhilarating! Baby steps :)

  3. It looks awesome! I’m wanting to build one of these in our backyard next spring. Thank you so much for the detailed tutorial and the price breakdown! Pinning and coming back later!

  4. My wife has run out of places to put her potted plants in the backyard. It would be nice to build a pergola and hang some baskets of flowers from them. How much weight can a pergola hold?

    1. Ha! I guess it depends on the size of the pergola but most are made of at least 4×4″ posts sunk at least a couple feet into the ground and top boards out of 2×6″ at least, so I would say they can support quite a bit of weight. We could easily hang a hammock from ours to swing in with no issues. Good luck!

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