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…


Pinterest Fail: PVC Pipe Pergola

What the hell was I thinking? Summer temperatures had hit and I had ants in my pants to create a backyard oasis. I didn’t have any yard furniture, my deck was in shabby shape and desperately needed stain, and my pool was green. As always, I was on Pinterest looking for fun DIY projects that I could do on my own to spiff it all up for as little cash as possible.

I found a ton of pins with PVC used to build pergola-types of enclosures. You use plumbers pipe attachments to screw it down. It all seemed so easy and looked great in the pictures! I’d even found a way to make the PVC look like wood!

I headed to get my materials, in my tiny car. I had the PVC cut at Home Depot because my car can only fit things that are 9 feet long or less from dash to hatch. 😀


The painting and staining was really similar to what I’d already done on my garage door and front door. I literally used the same materials and it turned out okay.

So far, I was still pleased with the project. I got all of the poles up and headed to the fabric store. I sewed a top hem on each of the panels to hang them up. The fabric was WAY more expensive than I had planned at $400.00! The price for the fabric is when I started to realize that I should probably have done something different than this Pinterest PVC Pergola thing, but I was in too far with the project at this point. I got the curtains hung and added string lights.


OMG. What had I built? It wasn’t good. It looked like I was either hosting a wedding or a witch gathering. It was even worse when I’d come home from work after a rainy and windy day and found it had come apart, leaving $400 of wet fabric on the deck, mixed in mud from plants that it had knocked down.

By then I’d also gotten a glimpse of what this looked like from the street as I drove up to my house. This thing was embarrassing from every angle and I had to take it down…kind of.

I really loved the string lights on at night, so I left 3 poles up. They held the string lights up and it didn’t look *that* bad (when it was dark out).