Pergola + Deck = Deckola!

11 Materials
2 Weeks

My husband and I built this ground level deck with minimal experience for just $1500 in a few weekends. It absolutely transformed our backyard!



Mark the area

We marked a 16x16 area with some stakes and string. We measured multiple times to make sure it was perfectly square before setting our posts in the corners.

Set posts

We put 4x4x10 posts 2 feet into the ground set by concrete.

Each post was 8 feet apart so we had 8 posts for our 16x16 deck

Get your decking

We had ours delivered because 16 foot long boards wouldn't fit in my SUV

All the lumber we used was treated. Necessary to withstand the outdoors long term.


Because of the height of our back door ours is going to be a ground level deck. This means digging a trench to be able to get our joists ground level.

Install joists

These are your cross supports that the decking will sit on. We started with joists 4 feet apart and eventually added more so that they were only 2 feet apart.

I know it looks rough but just wait!

Secured with bolts and corner brackets

Lay weed barrier

We put down landscaping cloth so grass doesn't grow through our deck. This can also be done before the joists but it was nice to have something to attach it to.

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Lay Decking Boards

Finally we got to add the decking! We put a deck screw in every joist to attach each board.

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I added this great trim to the base of our posts to make it look more complete.

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Privacy Fence

Using 1x4x8s I added privacy fencing to all the openings between the posts

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I highly recommend this product. It only took 1 coat and has been very durable.

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Add Sun Sail

Instead of a traditional pergola style roof we opted for something more modern. We used a white sun shade that was only $68 on Amazon and gave us that beachy breathable feel!

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Plants, string lights, and patio furniture made all the difference!

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Have a question about this project?

3 of 9 questions
  • Keely
    on Aug 1, 2020

    May i ask where you're from?

  • Buttermilk
    on Aug 3, 2020

    Hi looks beautiful....How much $$ was this whole project? What did the size end up to be? Thanks

  • Becky
    on Oct 14, 2020

    Hey Kelsey - I know this is well after the original post but I hope you see it. 1st, looks GREAT, and I happen to be getting ready to do the same! My biggest problem is being sure I have the proper TOOLS. Could you put together a quick list (minus screwdriver, shovel, hammer - you know, the stuff we all have)? Thanks so much & again, well done!

    Also, did you screw or nail the 1x’s ?

    • Kelsey | A Dabbled Dwelling
      Kelsey | A Dabbled Dwelling
      on Oct 14, 2020

      A drill is definitely a must! I did do the privacy fencing with a nail gun but screws would probably be even stronger! We also used a circular saw to make a lot of cuts but if you plan enough you could probably get your local hardware store to make cuts for you.

Join the conversation

2 of 87 comments
  • Madlyn
    on Sep 20, 2020

    beautiful!LLove the slatted walls!

  • Brenda Gimbel
    Brenda Gimbel
    on Sep 28, 2020

    I love this! Great job!! I was wondering about your fabric top, do you have it slanted so rain will run off or does it not hold out the rain?

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