The weather is getting warmer and with that comes barbecues and outdoor entertaining. Why not make a space outside that is inviting and impresses guests? I decided that a pergola was just the thing that was missing on the back deck at one of the first rehab houses I did. I wanted to make it like an outdoor living room so I could enjoy the view from the deck out onto the waterfront property. The back deck and lawn was in dire need of a facelift and after replacing and staining the back deck I was ready to start on the pergola.
Here is a picture of the back of the house before any renovations:
And here is a picture of the house after all of the renovations including the pergola:
As you can see from the photos above, the pergola gave the deck height, made it seem wider and gave it a defined living space. Making it another living area also added value to the home and a scenic place to camp out on lazy afternoons.
The first thing I needed to do after deciding to add the pergola was to choose a style. There are arched, traditional or straight, gabled, promenade, pitched, wood, steel and a few more options to choose from. Here are some options you will need to decide on before making or ordering your pergola:
- PRE-MANUFACTURED OR BUILD YOURSELF
- STYLE (arched, traditional, straight, gabled, promenade, pitched, etc)
- SIZE (measure your space and buy one that will fit your desired space)
- WOOD OR STEEL
- COLOR (steel will come in a few pre-manufactured colors, wood can come painted, stained or untreated)
Its best to have at least two people when building a larger pergola because you will invariably need someone to hold pieces together while someone else is drilling screws into the design. If you decide on a wood pergola you will need to make sure you buy pressure treated wood whether you build it yourself or buy it pre-manufactured. After searching the internet for plans and calculating the cost and time I decided to go with a pre-manufactured one. I had yet to finish a lot of the renovations inside the home and I only had a few weeks in order to do everything. It probably would have cost less to build one myself but you have to factor how much time it would take. Since the home was going up for sale soon, it would have been too time consuming to build, so ordering a pre-manufactured one just made more sense.
Here are some links to some pergolas just like the one I chose:
Rather than trying to stain it once it was constructed I stained the entire thing piece by piece because it was easier than doing it on a ladder and trying to reach in-between all of the pieces and gaps. It took a little longer than anticipated to stain everything. Things to remember when staining it yourself:
- If you plan on staining it before it’s put together read the instructions completely and mark which sides of the boards that will be on the outside so you do not waste time staining both sides
- If you are staining outdoors and not in a garage, check the weather before staining, if you have upcoming rain it’s best to hold off until you have 48 hours after staining before any rain on the boards.
- Do not leave the boards to dry outside overnight. MORNING DEW! I made this mistake and ended up redoing an entire afternoons worth of staining, plus the additional sanding to get off the old gluey stain off of the boards… not fun!
There are also many plans to choose from online if you do decide to build one yourself so look around and find one with clear instructions and pictures. Here are some of my favorite ones:
I hope you’ve enjoyed a few of my tips on adding a pergola to your outside landscape. If you have enjoyed this article please be sure to sign up for my newsletter and follow me on social sites. Happy Building!