Tuesday, August 9, 2016

$18 DIY Pergola Cover Tutorial and Pics

I'm finally back with our DIY pergola cover tutorial! Before I get started, let me show you an "after" picture...

diy cover for target pergola

We're so happy with how it turned out!

Now that I've shown you something pretty, let me refresh your memory with what our old cover looked like...

Yikes! That was less than a year's worth of rain, heat and humidity. 

We purchased our pergola about 6-7 years ago at Target. It came with a cover that lasted less than a year. We paid $100 at least twice to replace it again and again since then. We purchased the replacement covers directly from the manufacturer. The covers never lasted more than one season with our extreme heat and humidity. 

So when this last one bit the dust, we decided to try a little diy and make a cover with a canvas drop cloth. I've seen numerous bloggers use drop cloths (purchased at local home improvement stores in the paint section) for outdoor curtains, etc. so that's the route we took. Our pergola is roughly 9'x9' so one drop cloth would fit over the top perfectly. 

Here are the supplies we used.

We purchased this cotton canvas 9x12 drop cloth at Harbor Freight for $18.

And we bought this rope at Home Depot for $4. This package contains enough rope to replace the cover multiple times, if necessary. Since we can use this rope for several covers, I didn't include it in the total cost. 

We already had the grommet kit, but this is the one we used...

Grommet kit available on Amazon

And just so you know what I'm talking about, I made this cute key, explaining what the parts of the kit are called...

So, basically we folded over each corner of the drop cloth a couple of times, punched a hole in it, and installed a grommet. It's not necessary to fold the corners over, but we thought it might make the grommets a little stronger and keep it from tearing in the wind as it might do with a single layer of material.

Here's how we folded the corners over...

Next, we used this tool that comes in the grommet kit to punch a hole in the cloth. First place the cloth over a piece of scrap wood. Then just place the hole punch where you want the hole and hammer in. 

Then we put the base under the grommet...

And pushed it up through the hole in the cloth, keeping the base piece under the grommet.

 Then put the washer on top...

Cover with the flaring tool and hammer in. Make sure everything is still on a piece of scrap wood before hammering in.

And now you have a grommet installed!

We installed a grommet on all four corners, then draped it over the pergola, ran a piece of rope through the grommet and tied it to each corner. The entire process only took about 15 minutes. 

We weaved the cover in and out through the bars on top of the pergola. You can see in the pic below how we went over one bar, then under the next.

Here's how we tied it to the corners of the pergola. 

Definitely nothing fancy, but it works for us. 

It provides much needed shade during our hot summers. 

We've had it up for almost a month now and so far, so good. It's not a solid cover, so the rain filters through, but doesn't collect in it, so that's good. Our old cover wasn't solid either, but would always collect rain water in the grooves, which contributed to the mold and mildew. We're a lot happier with this version, not to mention the price. For only $18, we can make about 5 of these for the price of one from the manufacturer. I'll keep you posted on how long this one lasts. 

Thanks for stopping by! 



  1. Wow, this looks awesome, Lisa and I love, love, love the price!! My neighbor was just looking for an inexpensive solution to cover an open pergola...guess where I'm going to send her? ;-) Hope you are still loving your new shoes!

  2. Lisa, That is a great job on the cover. I agree so much nice than the store kinds. I hope you are getting to enjoy your outdoor space more. Blessings, xoxo, Susie

  3. It looks great....can't beat the price either! We have a shade sail we put over our Koi pond when it gets really hot but really it is too small so it doesn't cover the pond completely on the sides. I am going to tell my husband about your pergola cover because I think it might work for his pond?!?!

  4. What a fantastic idea! You can't beat the price of drop cloths. There are so many great uses for them. This is the first time I've seen one used for this purpose. I hope it ends up being everything you wanted. It looks great!

  5. It looks fabulous!You know how much I love drop cloth and this is a wonderful way to use it. Take care, Maria

  6. Genius Lisa. I think you need to go into business and sell these. What a great idea and the cost savings is amazing.

  7. Very cool! I've been thinking that down the road I would like to extend our covered patio and this is such an affordable way to do it!

  8. It looks really good! I also love your outdoor space!! It looks so inviting!

  9. Ya'll did a great job.. Looks fantastic.. and the outdoor space is really pretty, know you are enjoying it.

  10. It looks beautiful, Lisa! And especially for that price you can't go wrong! Your backyard is beautiful!

    1. Thanks, Kendra! So happy the pergola cover worked out for us. And the price was the best part! :)


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