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Are you tired of your boring backyard? Let me paint the picture: just grass and one tree, maybe a small concrete patio? Now let’s spice that backyard up! These 5 Cool DIY pergola ideas are sure to elevate your backyard.

We have three complete DIY projects linked below, with building plans available that you can follow. If you aren’t into an entire building project, try a kit or skip the building part altogether and still get a cozy spot in the backyard to hang out that feels just like a pergola. Get ready to transform your outdoor living space with these creative ideas!

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Why Should You Add a Pergola to Your Backyard?

In a plain old backyard, a pergola helps to divide and define the space. Instead of one large blank canvas yard, you now have an outdoor oasis to hang out in, plus a yard for playing and running around. The space hasn’t increased, but it will feel that way with more separate areas to use.

Is It Cheaper To Build Your Pergola?

The answer is yes and no. It depends on the quality of the products you use. Big box stores like Sams Club and Costco have great prebuilt options, but the lumber is very thin and often pieced together with no full-length beams. But they are an affordable option.

If you compare that to buying correctly dimensioned wood and a stock of tools (depending on what you have to begin with), the build-your-own version would be more expensive. However, it can be custom-made to fit your needs seamlessly. Additionally, it will probably last longer, and, as a bonus, you’ll have more tools for your next DIY project.

Features To Consider When Choosing a Pergola:

  • Provides shade: Fabric curtains, privacy screens, trellis sides, wood slats, lattice, or an entire roof can be added to your pergola to provide shade in a scorching hot yard. 
  • Adds architectural interest: A pergola is a focal point for your yard. Think columns in Ancient Greece; it just wouldn’t be interesting without them.
  • Ground and define a seating area: Create an outdoor room separate from other outside areas.
  • A great place to add quick greenery from plant hangers, vines, and climbing plants: These can be annual, perennial, or plants that move in and out of the house with the seasons. This approach is helpful in new developments where trees will take a while to grow.
  • A great structure to add a privacy screen: If neighbors are nearby and yards are small, pergolas can provide a pleasant and secluded retreat in your backyard. 

DIY Pergola Ideas

1. Fire Pit Pergola With Swings

When you think about summer, does it includes hanging out by the fire and roasting marshmallows to make amazing smores? If you are lucky enough to have some yard space, consider building this amazing DIY Fire Pit Pergola with swings; you’ll find step-by-step instructions in the link.

This octagonal-shaped pergola is beautiful and the perfect place to hang out in the spring, summer, or fall because at the center is an attractive firepit to keep you warm. String some twinkly lights up for the perfect ambiance in the summer and watch an outdoor movie; you might never need to leave your house.

2. Simple Modern DIY Deck Pergola

A modern pergola may be perfect if you want to add contemporary flair to your outdoor space. These structures typically feature clean lines and minimalist design elements. This modern pergola has an open feel, allowing plenty of natural light and ventilation.

Sometimes a simple, structural pergola is exactly what you need to define different spaces and uses for your yard. This division of space makes your area feel more exciting. Different uses and designs in each space help you to get more out of each area.

This modern pergola is in a shady spot in our yard, so while it doesn’t offer shade, it provides an architectural feature to set off the space. It also creates a beautiful ambiance. It is there to define the area and help create a room on your deck.

3. Traditional Styled Wood Pergola

If you want to add shade to your deck and love a traditional pergola design style, then maybe this Traditional DIY Pergola Plan will help you create the space you’ve always wanted.

The detailing of this pergola makes it beautiful – the detailed tail pattern cuts on the top beams, and the curtains hung for extra interest.

As a bonus, this particular plan offers shade through the lattice roof. While this pergola looks great on a deck, it would also work well built in the corner of the yard.

4. Metal Pergola with a Shade Canopy

Do you want a pergola but don’t want to build it from scratch? Many great options are available in kit form that you can buy and have delivered to your home from Amazon.

If your budget allows, you can even find a local builder or handyperson to set it up for you.

Using a metal frame will save you time in upkeep, as metal requires less maintenance than wood. Consider the climate and what material best suits your location when choosing your structure.

5. String Light Pergola

Believe it or not, you can create the feeling of a pergola with almost no actual building. The key ingredient is string lights. Those cozy string lights bring an extra touch of warmth and intimacy to your yard. Quickly create the look of a pergola with a set of bucket light string poles.


  1. Grab a pretty bucket – think a large planter (but you can always go with a 5-gallon bucket if that is what you have).
  2. At the top of a 4”x4”x8’ or 2”x2”x 8’, screw two hooks on adjoining sides.
  3. Place the board vertically, centered in the bucket (with the hooks at the top of the board, 8 feet above). Use 1-2 scrap pieces of wood to hold the board vertically in place. Lay them across the top of the bucket, and screw it into the pole (temporarily) to hold them level while you set the beam in concrete.
  4. Fill the bucket with mixed concrete, with the wood beam in the center, and allow it to set for at least 24 hours. Once the concrete is dry, you can remove the temporary scrap wood holding the beam level. The wood beam becomes a pole to hold up string lights.
  5. To create your “pergola,” set 3-4 string light poles at the corners of the space you are making. The hooks at the top of the poles are there to hang string lights on.

Then you will create a pergola feel without the trouble of building!

In conclusion, creating a DIY pergola doesn’t have to be hard and shouldn’t be boring. You can transform your outdoor space into a unique and stunning oasis with a little creativity and some unconventional materials.

From incorporating string lights to choosing a modern design, these ideas will elevate your backyard game. So, why wait? Start building your dream pergola today and enjoy the benefits of your new outdoor haven.

This article originally appeared on Wealth of Geeks

Cassity Kmetzsch

Cassity Kmetzsch started Remodelaholic after graduating from Utah State University with a degree in Interior Design. Remodelaholic is the place to share her love for knocking out walls and building everything back up again, to not only add function but beauty to her home. Together with her husband Justin, they have remodeled 6 homes and are working on a seventh. She is a mother of four amazing girls. Making a house a home is her favorite hobby.

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