Project “Pergola” from Start to Finish

A little over a year ago, we decided to build a pergola in our back yard.  My husband’s good friends with a handyman who’s specialty is stonework.  He came over and measured out the yard to determine the best location for the structure, drew up some plans, and gave us a list of building materials to choose from.  It went from nothing to done in no time.  It’s the perfect addition to our back yard and I just can’t imagine our yard without it now.


original sketch

The dimensions were originally to be 10 x 16 ft with a round fire pit, but we ended up changing it to 12 x 12 ft with a square fire pit.  The flooring is 20 x 16 ft.


Our back yard is extremely flat other than the back left corner that slopes for drainage.  That is where we decided to build.  (I couldn’t, for the life of me, find a clearer “before” image)  We didn’t realize just how unleveled that corner of our yard was until we started filling it in with dirt and building the retaining wall.  It took a lot of labor and love to get level it out!


A sod cutter, some extra dirt, and wall blocks…. we’re off to a good start!  Did I mention this all took place in July and August of last year?  Hot, Hot, HOT!

We purchased all the products from Menards.  At the time, they were running an 11% rebate on everything, so it only made since to get money back on the products we had to purchase.


These 8 x 8 inch posts weighed 500(ish) pounds a piece.  It took 6 men to move them from the front of our house to the back.  Don’t worry, we gave them food and beer as a “thank you” for all their help!


Each day, it got a little closer and closer to being done!  I couldn’t wait to get home from work to see the progress that had been made!




Everything is structurally done.  Aaron planted grasses along the sides and taller shrubs in the back that will serve as additional privacy once they reach their maximum height.

This is how it remained for about a year (plus patio furniture) while we waited for the wood to age before applying stain.


Just last Thursday, my husband came home early from work to finalize the job completely!  We rented the professional grade paint sprayer from Sherwin Williams.  The stain we used is SuperDeck Exterior Oil-Based Semi-Transparent Stain in Hawthorne.


He did all he could to keep the stain off of the columns and even laid a tarp down so the concrete didn’t get sprayed, BUT the mist of stain accidentally stained the flooring anyways in the areas that weren’t covered, so we decided to just go with it and stain ALL the concrete flooring and walkway.  I actually love it more than as the original paver color.



close up of the pavers post-stain







The addition of flowers, hanging baskets, and floral print toss pillows helps to brighten, yet soften this space.  I adore the comfortable conversation set.  As you can imagine, this is my favorite spot to sit and enjoy my morning coffee.


In the (near) future, we hope to run electricity to the pergola to hang cafe lights around the perimeter for a soft ambiance.

Side-by-side comparison before and after stain (1 year difference)…

We couldn’t be happier with our pergola!  It’s everything we hoped for and more.

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