Toja Grid Pergola Build | Whitney Beth Photography
All I wanted was a place to swing with my baby and watch my kids play.
That’s what started this whole thing. We hardly use the backyard and I wanted to change that. I knew if we had somewhere to sit and be we would venture out back more often. We use the front yard a lot, largely due to our covered porch and bench (that I made!) So following the principle of “If you build it, they will come.” I started researching the best way to go about it.
Couple of problems – first, we have a free standing deck off the main bedroom. Therefore negating any pre-fab pergola kit if I wanted to use the entire cement slab. Second, my house was built in the 70’s and with her age, things have sagged and shifted. Aka nothing is square and easy in the DIY world. I needed a solution that was extremely customizable and adjustable. And sturdy. Swings and little boys. Need I say more?
I started researching and the algorithm started “helping” and soon every other add was about a pergola or outdoor space. I found Toja Grid (pronounced Toy-ya) and gave them a follow on Instagram. I’d see their stuff from time to time and the idea of using them started to cement in my mind. Their system is totally modular and customizable to whatever configuration you need. I ended up seeing a friend use them for their backyard and that sealed the deal. I wanted to use them for my house. Only problem now was that I was about 7 months pregnant with Remmy and had missed my opportunity to get this done before baby got here.
So I tucked it away and visually built it in my mind dozens of times. When spring came and my baby was only a few months away from turning one, I started to revisit my plans. On a whim, I reached out to the company. I let them know that while I wasn’t their “average Instagram DIY’er” I knew my way around a Miter saw and I was also a product photographer. We started talking and ended with an agreement we were both happy with – product and publicity for product photos. So while this build is very budget friendly, it was even more so on my end thanks to this collaboration.
I drew up my plans and sent them these renderings I made in Procreate on my Ipad:
With my deck being the way that it is situated on the cement pad it worked out amazingly to have the different brackets to choose from.
Once I had done all the prep work to my cement pad (power washing, repairing a crack, etc.) It was time for the build! It was a lot of fun! And so easy. Honestly, if I didn’t have to do school pick up, take care of my kids, business and home, and had one or two extra pairs of hands to help, we could have knocked this out in a day.
But because I’m 5’4″ with three little kids under tow and a business to run, it took about a week and a half of working on it an hour here, two hours there and so on. I also had to wait until my brother and/or dad could come help be my muscle and hold things up while it was being secured. I also had to stain my wood, which I did not account for since I couldn’t find cedar posts in the lengths I needed anywhere. This also added on time since I had to let the stained wood swell and do all the things it needed to do before I could install it.
Everything went amazing – even with my house full of character. I loved that Toja Grid had an array of accessories to choose from to really make my pergola what I had hoped for. I was over the moon when I saw that they have hammock hanging brackets! So cool! You just slide them on the post and secure them wherever you want a hammock (or swing) to be.
Considering that a DIY almost never goes perfectly to plan, my drawing and the final product are pretty darn close. After seeing the scale of the structure I changed the direction of the rafters from the arial view to go width wise instead. It was hard enough finding boards that straight and I didn’t want them to noticeably warp overtime. I also changed where the hammock and swings would be. Largely due to give them as much stability as possible. So instead of being across the 12′ beam, they now hang across the two 7 foot beams. I also realized after buying a whole gallon of semi transparent stain, that I didn’t like it and wanted a solid stain. So I used it as my base coat and bought a quart of the solid to go on top.
Putting this all together with furniture I had been hunting down and finishing it off with twinkle lights was the best. Seeing it at night was even better. But the greatest part of all was watching my kids play on the swings and be outside enjoying the last bit of summer.
Cost Break Dowm:
- Toja Grid brackets and accessories – $0
- 4×4 pressure treated wood – $157.23 (I got a few on discount since the selection wasn’t great and I was able to cut off the nasty parts)
- Cement Anchors – $14
- Outdoor screws for attaching ledger – $9.88
- Semi Transparent exterior stain (gallon) – $49
- Solid exterior stain – 12.98
Total of: 243.09
But since you can’t really count it as just that here’s the cost break down with the furnishings too:
- Twinkle lights: 29.99 x2 (Instant rebate from Costco) = 59.98
- 8×10 outdoor rug – new from FB Marketplace – $50
- Two Melino chairs – used from FB Marketplace – $50
- Melino folding table – New from Costco – $27.98
- Two Person Hammock Swing from Amazon (waited for it to drop in price) – $80
- Spider swing from Amazon (waited for it to drop in price) – $30
- Baby swing from Amazon (waited for it to drop in price) – $35
- Chain to hang swing from Cal Ranch – $9
- Pots from At Home – $40 (had the rest on hand)
- Mosquito candle, Walmart – $1
- Three cushion Patio Sofa, on mega sale at Rendezvous – $120
- Cup hooks and other misc things – already had on hand – $0
Total of: $502.96
Grand total of $746.02
I originally budgeted about $500 for this, knowing I’d probably go over. If I hadn’t had to get stain and the hanging hardware that I thought came with my hammock I would have been about $100 over, so I was pretty close!
Enjoy of few pictures of the build and make sure you see the pictures of the pergola at night! Let’s all just take a second to admire how close the final result looks like my rendering.