All I Need is a Picture: The Perfect Pergola

“I have an idea”. When I hear these four words I know a project is right around the corner. The most recent version of this was a couple of months ago when we were doing some dreaming about the upcoming Home Show in Kansas City. This is always a great experience for us and we want to do our best to have a new or unique display. The idea this year was a little bigger than usual, but one I quickly became excited to complete.  

Photo Courtesy of  Magnolia Home

Photo Courtesy of Magnolia Home

Chrysy asked if I could replicate a pergola that Joanna and  Chip have on their property. My first response, as usual,“All I need is a picture.” So we did some research and I was able to get a good idea of how I was going to make it have the form of the Magnolia pergola but the function we needed for Restoration Emporium’s display at the Kansas City Home Show. I started making renderings in my journal, one my wife got me from Harp Design- Clint Harp, and a place I go to get initial ideas flowing.    

Once that was completed I started my shopping list of lumber, hardware and of course a couple of new tools for the project. Every project is a good excuse for a new tool.  After getting a couple of bids on lumber I decided to go to a new store near our house. I have seen Menard's in several cities that I have traveled in, but there had not been one convenient to my house until recently. These stores are massive and have everything from healthcare to hardware, food to finishing nails, plants to party favors, lumber to living room furniture. You get the idea. What I liked was that everyone was helpful and there were people working the floor to help answer technical questions as well as guide you to find what you were looking for.    


Part of the buying decision was base on convenience and part on price. The store was very helpful and had all of the boards and hardware in stock- and my new saw. Very rarely am I able to get everything in one trip. This happened to be one of those times.  

The first chance I had to work on the pergola happened to be the weekend we were watching our grandsons. So instead of going to my workshop at the store I started sawing, drilling and assembling the 10 foot wide by 12 foot long and almost 16 foot tall pergola in my driveway. My neighbors were highly entertained and slightly perplexed by what I was doing that weekend. 

I notched the four rough cut timbers in order for the cross beams to lay flush inside of them. To be honest this was the most difficult part of the project. Once this was completed I drilled two 5/8” holes through the post and cross beam in order to secure them together with  ½” lag bolts. The three 4X6X12 beams run the length of the structure and create a base for the trusses.  

Oh the trusses! The decision on what style of truss to use took me a while. I knew I was going to use 2x6 boards but the layout was a tough one. My final decision was based on function more than form. In my mind I could see chandeliers hanging from the middle of these. This would create a dynamic look and provide a place to display the lights.   

Since we have very tall ceilings at the store and at the show, I went with 45 degree angles to get maximum height. I may have to adjust this angle if we make this structure a permanent display piece. After deciding on the layout, I made the cuts and used deck screws to put it together. 

To provide additional security I used 4"X6" metal plates at the peak. This tightened everything up nicely and made it easier to install the trusses. The final step was to paint the pergola with a couple coats of Magnolia paint- Shiplap.   

Piece by piece I took the pergola apart and loaded it into the back of my truck, transported it to the store, and reassembled it. I always enjoy taking a project from the four words, a picture and a plan to Mission accomplished! 

Next stop for the pergola is the Kansas City Home Show March 17th-19th. Wait till you see what Chrysy is going to do with it now!