DIY Garage Pergola

Adding a pergola or trellis to our house has been on my to-do list since I can remember. I am OBSESSED with vines and cottage exterior styles. After scheming up my brick-painting exterior plans, I knew that my garage needed a pergola with a vine growing alllll up in it.

I began my research. Saving many images of pergolas over garages from Pinterest helped me to get a grasp for what I wanted. And although the idea of building it completely seemed foreign and a little scary, I quickly knew that it was my only option if I wanted to save some $$$ (as per usual).

I found plenty of these PVC wall brackets online in many sizes. These would be great for anyone is less concerned about budget, and more concerned about doing it yourself. And the price really isn’t bad! However, I had some trouble finding matching middle brackets. If you have a LONG single garage door like mine, a middle bracket is necessary. This was another reason why I decided to build mine.

I started with some sketches. I HAVE to visualize and physically look at things move forward. Here are my exact plans for my 16 ft garage.

After drawing up these sketches, I was able to put together a list of my supplies needed. My brackets consisted of 2×4’s and 2×6’s. My rafters were 2×4’s and my purlins were 2×2’s. I made a shopping list for my husband and sent him to the store (aka Home Depot).

2x4x10 (7)

2x6x10 (1)

2x2x42 in. balusters (about 15)

Sleeve Anchors (for brick) – same size as masonry bit

Masonry Bit

Construction screws (3.5 in and 2 in)

Because there are no 2x4s longer than 12 ft at our local HomeDepot/Lowes, we decided to use two 10 ft boards and butt them together in the middle. All of the lumber that we chose was either pressure treated or kiln dried for outdoor durability.

Here is how I decided on the measurements:

I literally just stuck up a measuring tape to the side of the house and decided that 22 inches was the right size for a bracket. I also was leaning toward this general size because the brackets that I shared before that were sold online were right around this size. And by just visualizing, I knew that I wanted the purlins to be about eight inches apart from each other. After deciding this, I was able to do the math to decide how many purlins I would need based off my garage width.

We began by making all of our straight cuts with the miter saw:

2×4’s – Two 22 inch pieces (back of the side brackets) and one 8-10 inch piece for the middle bracket

2×6’s – Three 22 inch pieces for all three brackets

2×2’s – Cut each 42 inch piece in half

We then used the router to make a more decorative edge around the 2×4’s that would be the back pieces to the brackets. We only had one router bit (this one) and didn’t plan on buying a new one, so we just went with it! This was pretty simple to do. While the 2×4 is held or clamped, you just guide the router along the edge. This is way easier than it seems!

While David was routing the edges, I was drawing my templates out on the wood for jig saw cuts. He used the jigsaw to make a cut, and then we used the cut as a template to trace on the next pieces!

2×4 Raters

2×6 Bracket Arms

We additionally cut out these little notches on top of the bracket arms. While I don’t think these are necessary, I would definitely recommend doing it. It was so helpful to stabilize the rafters when installing. I drew these cuts out as well, making sure that they were spaced out evenly and measured exactly the same (1.5 inch width of rafter x .5 inch deep).

2×6 Bracket Arches

In order to draw up this template, we held up the two existing bracket pieces in place diagonally over a 2×6. This helped me to draw out how I wanted it. Luckily, we had an oval trash can nearby that we were able to use to make the most perfect arch! He used a jig saw to cut the arch side of these pieces, and then the miter saw to cut the flat edges.

David made these cuts, and then I sanded down allllll of the edges. I wanted the decorative 90 degree cuts to be rounded, so I made sure to sand those down a little extra. I also did light sanding over all of the wood using 80 grit sandpaper and my mouse sander. This helped smooth out the imperfections in the wood before painting. I also lined up the purlins to make sure that they were all the same length. Some pieces were slightly longer than the others, so I made sure to sand the ends down a little extra (you could also cut).

I gave them all a good wipe down to prep for paint! I use this Valspar Duramax Exterior latex Paint in Ultra White (Base 1) – semi-gloss. I used an exterior small roller for the majority of the painting, and went back in with a 2inch angled brush to get in all of the crevices. Everything had two coats!

The brackets were ready to be assembled after the paint was dry. I began by measuring and making marks on my back pieces (2×4’s) for where the bracket arm would sit. After making sure it was centered, I measured and marked where my two holes would be to connect these two pieces. I made the marks on both pieces and used a drill bit slightly smaller than my screws to make pilot holes. I then screwed in though the back of my 2×4 and connected my bracket arm to screw in! I repeated this for the other two brackets. Make sure to counter sink your screws!

For my side brackets, I then placed the arch middle piece making sure that it was centered and flush. I drilled a pilot hole straight through on both ends, and then secured it with screws!


For us, we had to use a hammer drill and masonry drill bit to drill through our brick siding. We found these sleeve anchors at Home Depot that matched the size of our masonry bit. They are great for brick, but are not removable. Once they are in, they are IN.

While David’s Dad held one side bracket in place (making sure that it is in the exact location that I wanted it to be) on the house, David used the hammer drill to drill straight through on the bottom and top of each bracket. Once the bit hit the siding, he let go. This gave him a mark on the brick so that we could remove the bracket and drill into it.

Once the holes were drilled into the bracket and brick, he used a slightly bigger drill bit on the bracket holes so that the sleeve anchor could glide through a bit easier. Once the anchors were in the holes on the brackets, he hammered them into the siding. Once the anchors were mostly in, we held up a level to make sure that the brackets were perfect. After a little adjusting (hammering the top a little more or the bottom a little more), he used a screwdriver to tighten the anchors. This secures them into the hole! We repeated this step for the other two brackets

The rafters were then placed into the notches on the brackets. Because we had two pieces butting together, David’s Dad placed screws at an angle from the top of the wood, so that they would be secure together, and also into the bracket. We secured each rafter to each bracket with screws as well, making sure to countersink them.

To add in the purlins, I used a scrap piece of wood and cut it to eight inched to use as a spacer. This helped it go by very quickly. We started in the center of the pergola, and straddled the first two purlins over, using the spacer (I also marked half for reference). I wanted to keep the purlins flush the the back rafter so that they were sticking out as far as possible. We then placed a screw where each purlin met each rafter. This was not necessary, but felt like the most long-lasting way to do it. We are hoping that doing this extra step will help to prevent the rafters from warping over time as well. We countersunk these screws carefully. The smaller pieces of wood can be split easily, so it is important to not counter sink TOO far.

After the pergola is completely built and secure, it is time to fill in some screw holes (I used plastic wood), touch up some paint, and wait for your neighbors to copy your DANG good work

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Leave a comment!

  1. Looks great. I’ve been wanting to do this over our double garage doors. About how much did this project cost you?

  2. Wow, it’s looking awesome! No one can believe that this garage pergola has built by your own. Really appreciate your work!

  3. Congratulations! You guys did a great job, and really looks great. Also, the step by step by explanations with pics fantastic. Thank you for sharing!!!