The Pergola

I really wanted some sort of structure on my deck. Actually, I really want a 4-season-porch, but that’s not happening this year. I thought about buying another metal canopy like the one I have down by the pool, but the wind makes me nervous. I’m pretty sure the frame would get twisted and trashed in just one season.

I pinned ideas. I watched YouTube videos. I drew my plan.


I wasn’t sure about the roof part on my first trip to the hardware store. I was really intrigued by the clear roofing material that would provide protection from the rain, but didn’t quite understand how to build my pergola with a slant to have the rain flow off of that kind of a roof. For my first trip, I ended up just getting the frame. I would decide on the type of roof later. Building a pergola isn’t really a 1-person job, but I did it and it only took me 1.5 days (with rain delays)!

Day 1 – Trip #1 to Home Depot: braces, legs and the perimeter of the roof.

Day 1 – Trip #2 to Home Depot: roof boards, and string lights.



Day 1 – Trip 3 to Home Depot: We had a storm come through. I hadn’t bolted anything prior to the storm. The pergola was still held together with just screws. It started to lean and I started to freak out. We had straight winds and rain and I scurried to get scrap boards to screw the pergola to the deck posts. I needed more braces and bolts! On this last trip to Home Depot, I’m positive that I showed up looking like a crazy person. I got what I needed and was on the deck adding bolts and braces to the pergola until 10pm!


Day 2: Finish adding all bolts and additional supports, including a bench that ties the pergola to a deck footer. Add curtains using pvc for the rod. The PVC and curtains are from my Pinterest fail project last year.


I’ll stain it later on, but the wood needs to weather a bit first…


Deck Stain

Step 1: apply sunscreen!

I started staining my deck at 7am on a gorgeous Saturday morning. I hadn’t intended on tackling the deck that day, but I had the supplies and my coffee had kicked in! I think it’s safe to assume that my deck hadn’t been stained in years. Here’s a picture of what it looked like in the spring…


…Omg, ignore the white curtain thing on the deck. That was a project that cost a fortune in both time and money. Let’s just say it was a huge fail. I’ll post about it later.



I really like orangish/red tones and bought two gallons of Minwax Wood Finish in the color “Gunstock.” You’ll also want to have mineral spirits on hand. This is oil based and soapy water is not going to get this off of your hands or anything else that you may get it on.


The wood was verrrry thirsty and the stain soaked up quickly. Spindles. More spindles. Ugh. I was still remembering painting the spindles from the inside of the house. It’s such a tedious job. You can see in the picture below what a huge difference the bare wood vs. the stained wood was!


Up on the deck I thought that I would try something. I knew that latex paint would not soak up the stain and I thought it might be neat to try and create a “rug.”

This is a picture of the paint without the stain over it. It’s the same paint that I used on my front door and garage door when I created the faux wood look.

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I thought staining the deck would take me a few hours. I’d even purchased a mop because I’d seen a post where the person just mopped the stain on. That did NOT work. This is the kind of mop I had.


I poured the stain into a paint tray, dipped the mop in and tried to swipe it back and forth on the deck. The mop did not want to swipe. It was also dripping and making a mess. I threw the mop away. Bad idea. I ended up just using a brush for the entire deck. I finished everything except the spindles and it sat like this for a few weeks. I just reallllllly didn’t want to do them.


I finally sucked it up and got the spindles done. I did have to go buy more stain. The entire project was 3 gallons and 1 quart. I used every last drop of stain and could probably use another gallon to go over some of the areas that are a bit lighter than other areas.

Here it is! Finally done!



The table and chairs sits on top of the painted checker “rug.”


My deck is pretty big and has room for a few different seating areas. I wanted to build high top seating around the railing and found the perfect pieces to do it with in a dumpster! I was driving one of the kiddos to baseball and passed a house that had a bagster in their driveway. They must have been renovating their deck because the wood that was in the dumpster (bagster) was exactly what I needed to build my seating area. I actually knocked and asked before I went digging. I got the thumbs up.

I grabbed 4×4’s to make legs and the table top piece was actually back behind my shed. I’m not sure what the previous homeowners had used it for, but it was perfect to use for my project. I cut 4 legs and trimmed the plank to fit the length. Vwalla!


I’m still looking for outdoor stools, but I’d like them to be free. 😀

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Total time to stain the deck: 2 days (one day for the deck and one for the spindles)

Total stain: 3.5 gallons (could have used 4)

deck before_after