Our latest home renovation project – a pergola!

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESThis summer I had a vision of building a pergola for our very sunny front porch.  But I was too busy to get this project off the ground so it didn’t go beyond talking.

When we talked about plans for the upcoming Sukkos holiday, the kids asked me if we were going to build a pergola.  I told them I wasn’t going to take charge of this project, and if it was going to get done, someone else was going to have to take it on and see it through from beginning to end.  In the past this has been ds22, but he wouldn’t be home in time to get it done.

Lumber delivery

Lumber delivery

The kids agreed that they wanted to have a pergola, and ds16 volunteered to take responsibility for getting it done on time.  It would be a tight deadline to meet since our conversation took place the night of Sept. 20, and it had to be done by Sept. 25.

Ds16 got information about the structure, what size boards to use, where to buy it,borrowed tools, ordered the lumber, and arranged the lumber delivery (it arrived the day after Yom Kippur, Sept. 24).

(Disclaimer at my childrens’ request: they’re dressed in work clothes and don’t walk around publicly like this.)



Once it arrived, he got all of his siblings at home involved in staining all the lumber with him.



I had been gone that day at the hospital for the pre-op appointment with ds3 and when I came home late in the afternoon the Werner crew (ds6, ds8, dd14, dd19 and of course ds16) hard at work!

Ds6 proud the wood is all stained!

Ds6 proud the wood is all stained!

If you’re wondering what my part was – he asked for my feedback about my preference for the width of the boards and what color stain I wanted, and I also wrote the check for him to pay with at the hardware store. :)

Ds22 and ds16 putting up the first ledger board!

Ds22 and ds16 putting up the first  board

Ds22 got home a couple of hours later and that evening and the next morning he and ds16 worked nonstop to build the pergola.  They were amazing.  Within 24 hours of the unstained lumber being delivered, the pergola was finished!  They both had very dark suntans after all those hours in the blazing suns but they said it was worth it.

In progress....

In progress….

Almost done!

Almost done!

Can you believe we were so busy admiring the final result that we didn’t take a picture once it was done and the porch was cleaned up?

But it’s beautiful.  And now for Sukkos it’s a beautiful frame for our sukka -we have so much room, more spacious and convenient than any sukka we’ve ever had.  We had 17 people for the first day of yom tov with plenty of room; we could easily have had double that.

Sukkos 2015

Sukkos 2015 – partial view

This was an empowering and gratifying project for ds16.  He’s very competent but in the past has been the younger brother following his older brother’s lead on projects. This time the roles were reversed.  He gave the instructions and while everyone worked hard together, he’s the one who made this project happen.  You can hire someone to build a pergola for you, but being able to do it yourself builds a person’s sense of competence and ability in a way that watching someone to do the job could never match.


14 thoughts on “Our latest home renovation project – a pergola!

  1. kol hakovod to your son and all the kids who put your pergolla together in a very short amount of time. they must be very proud! ( also you! ) chag samaech!

    1. Yes, they felt great about it. It’s the kind of thing that you don’t need anyone else to appreciate because you feel so good, but of course they appreciated our enthusiastic thanks.

  2. WOW!! What a story!!The pergola is AWESOME! It was well made and well enjoyed.
    Thank you for inviting us to your fantastic amazing sukkah. Chag Sameach!

  3. Thank you for sharing this significant accomplishment – and reminding me that it isn’t just children who need to know they can put together complex projects. This is a great lesson for me to take to heart this chag – chag same’ach!

  4. kol hakavod. would your son be willing to email me with the plans or source so that i can also build one. thanks, david

  5. How did you research how to build a pergula? Do you have links to instructions that you can share? This is something I would like to attempt but have no idea where to start.

    1. We started in the summer by reading about it and watching youtube videos to understand how they’re built. There’s a lot available online.

      Then he spoke to two different neighbors who have the same size porch as us, and took the measurements for their very different pergolas. One of the neighbors is a contractor who was very helpful in sharing his specific shopping list. We did things a bit differently than him, but he was very helpful in answering questions that came up.

      We decided to keep it simple and build a pergola that covers just 2/3 of the porch, according to the size of standard lumber. We initially were going to cover the entire porch, but decided against it since it required much bigger and harder to handle beams (since we didn’t want to have a supporting beam in the middle of our porch).

  6. We also built a pergola before succot last year because my husband was tired of struggling to put up the Succah every year. With the pergola, it’s a breeze- a few minutes and the Succah is up! Wish we’d done it many years ago. Looking forward to seeing pictures of yours, it sounds lovely.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

WP-SpamFree by Pole Position Marketing