May 14, 2014


If I was to pinpoint one thing that took our deck from just ok to wow, it would be the pergola.  It is hands down the most beautiful thing in the backyard and adds such a richness to the deck.

deck 5

When we were mapping out the design and construction plans, we weren’t sure we wanted to commit to a pergola.  We had never built one before and weren’t sure we could make one that both looked beautiful and also was sturdy, as we already had a deck in place.

We put our heads together and came up with a plan to construct a pergola on our existing deck and I am so glad we just did it.  Here’s a breakdown of exactly how to build a pergola.

Video/Editing: James Young

If you have any questions about how we did it, let me know!  I’m happy to share anything I may have left out of the video.  I love this pergola and think it completely transforms our space!

Jen Signature photo JenSignature_zpse63747c4.jpg

  1. HappyMama

    May 26th, 2014 at 10:25 am

    Thank you so much for posting this. We have been contemplating what to do to our deck to turn it from blah to spectacular, and this was it !!! Your deck looks absolutely GORGEOUS and I can’t wait to get started on ours.

  2. Jen

    May 26th, 2014 at 11:30 pm

    You’re so sweet! I’m so glad it inspired you! Hope it turns out beautifully!

  3. HappyMama

    May 30th, 2014 at 10:40 pm

    Hi Jen. Thank you! I can only hope mine turns out half as good as yours as I’m a rookie at this :). A few questions:
    1. Did you attach your top rafters to both ends (i.e the back beam and two front beams) or did you just attach to the back beam and leave them resting on the front ones?
    2. Do you mind sharing the dimensions of your deck (not exact, but perhaps approximate)? Mine looks a bit smaller than yours so I may have to adjust a bit, but wanted to make sure.
    3. Your video tutorial was very helpful, but I was wondering if you also had plans for this up on your site somewhere.

    Thanks again for sharing this tutorial !!!

  4. Jen

    June 5th, 2014 at 11:01 pm

    Hi HappyMama! Here are my replies:

    1) The rafters are screwed in/attached on both ends
    2) I can’t remember the dimensions! I’m sorry!
    3) not sure what you are asking here.

    Hope that is helpful!

  5. Casey

    June 30th, 2014 at 11:37 am

    Thanks for the great video! I was just wondering – how far apart did you space the rafters?


  6. Jen

    June 30th, 2014 at 2:41 pm

    Hi Casey! They are about 20 inches apart

  7. Juan

    April 10th, 2015 at 1:27 pm

    Hello, first of all great cideo. Couple of questions. Did you use joist hangers or how were they attached to the board on the house? And were the posts height lower than the wall board since on the wall they connect to the board but om the post they just rest on top?

  8. Lisa

    April 28th, 2016 at 11:00 am

    Great job…LOVE it!!
    How did the black color work out for you? Do you feel that it made the deck area “hotter”? I love the look but I worry that it might reflect like asphalt, LOL.

  9. Jen

    July 6th, 2016 at 2:20 pm

    Thank you so much!! I didn’t have any issues with heat using that color. I hope that is helpful!

  10. Jamey D

    June 24th, 2016 at 5:04 pm

    Beautiful pergola, The video is well done and you are a great host….I think the video needs more depth explaining how to build. Details on measurements, what type of wood, what tools did you use.. The accents you added totally give the pergola “heart” and warmth. The curtains, lights, etc…you didn’t tell us how to put those up, what is the best outdoor curtain material, etc….

  11. Administrator

    June 30th, 2016 at 6:31 am

    Hi Jamey, the curtains are in a separate post. Search “drop cloth drapes”. Thanks!

  12. Sharon C.

    May 16th, 2018 at 5:59 pm

    I searched for drop cloth drapes, but your search could not find them.

  13. Jen

    May 17th, 2018 at 9:45 am

    Hi there! Try this:

  14. Terry

    June 24th, 2016 at 6:34 pm

    What material did you use for the curtains and curtain rods?

  15. Administrator

    June 30th, 2016 at 6:30 am

    Hi Terry, if you search drop cloth drapes, I did a whole how to post on them!

  16. M

    December 27th, 2017 at 10:23 pm

    How did you waterproof/flash the ledger board against the house? Caulk?

  17. Jen

    February 15th, 2018 at 12:25 pm

    Hello, we used caulk!

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She’s Jen. He’s Jon. We’re believers in the power of home, fearless DIYers, and eternal optimists who know with a can-do spirit, elbow grease and some guidance, you can create a home you love. We love a good project—or 20. Stick around and we’ll have you pulling out the paint brushes and fluffing throw pillows in no time.

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