How Do You Attach a Canopy to a Pergola? (14 Steps)

Pergola is one of the beautiful features in the backyard.

Pergola adds value and enhances the outer view of the backyard.

Though, a well covered pergola with canopy fabrics creates shade and beautifies the backyard. 

Pergola that is covered with canopy fabric makes our outdoor space useful for family to have fun, chat with friends, and enjoy the cool breeze.

Canopy add value to pergola, therefore, how to attach canopy to pergola is by:

Buy a canopy fabric or cut a canopy fabric size of the pergola. sew the canopy fabric. Cut the canopy’s fabric edges for support bars. Cover the pergola with the canopy fabrics. Install the eyes screw on the pergola and finally install the wire rope on the eyes screw to properly fix the canopy fabrics.

Therefore, a pergola is a structure in the backyard that doesn’t provide shade for unannounced weather like rain or wind, and heat.

Pergola at the backyard is a way of making our outdoor space lively — placing the users both inside and outside at the same time.

In this article I want to take you through 14 steps on how to attach canopy to a pergola.

Here are the 14 steps on how to attach a canopy to a pergola:

Step 1: Frame The Pergola

how to frame a pergola

This step is for those who have not built pergola yet. But for those who have should just move to the next step.

When you want to attach a canopy to your pergola, you begin with a frame. Framing plays an important part of a pergola structure. 

Frame determines how strong and durable pergola will be. Therefore, it requires you to pay more attention on frame. The framing process is:

Begins by securing the four post cores to a concrete pad with steel post-base anchors.

When you are not building on a pad, then, use longer posts and pass them in the earth below the frost line.

After the posts, set in the beams and plumb each properly. When you are done with the beams plumbing, put other wood in the top of the beams

By now, you may have done with the pergola frame. Let us move straight on how to attach a canopy to a pergola. 

Step 2: Choose Canopy Fabric

There are different types of canopy fabrics. The quality of the fabric varies.

Therefore the best canopy fabric depends on some factors that it may be subject to like, the weather, and your shade preference. 

Canopy fabric has different colors and their durability is different.

The table below shows some canopy fabrics and their qualities and it will guide you when considering the best canopy fabric to choose for your pergola in the backyard.

Different types of fabric canopy shows in the table below

Fabrics Names DurabilityWater ResistancesAttractive ColorDegree of drynessAcrylic or Nylon RipstopShadeUltraviolet
SailclothDurable YesyesDries Yes Ys No 
Mesh Privacy ScreenHighly DurableNo No Dries fasterNo Partial ShadeUV Protection
Muslin or LineNot Durable No NoYes No Yes No 

The above table headings are the factors you put into consideration when selecting a canopy fabric for your pergola.

Weather is also a determining factor for selecting pergola’s canopy fabrics.

Step 3: Measure The Pergola Size

The size of pergola’s area will determine the size of the canopy fabric you will buy. Therefore measure the area size. 

If the material is a heavy one, add extra 20% more length to account for the draping. Heavier cloth like the sailcloth will sag more than muslin and line.

Tighty canopy fabric has more finished look, while the sag cloth give the pergola more airy, fancy look

How to Calculate Area OF Pergola

To get the area of your pergola , multiply its length by it’s width. For example, if the length of an area is 40cm and the width is 20m, area is 20 x 5 = 100 square units.

The area of your pergola is 100 square units. This will tell you the size of the canopy fabric you will use.

Step 4: Cut The Canopy Support Bars

The canopy support bar has to be cut because it will be attached to the top of the canopy with staples, while the bar slides along the wire rope on eye screws. 

Use the electric miter saw to cut the two-by-two boards to the width of the canopy. You can space at your discretion.

Step 5: Place The Support Bars to the Canopy

Put the canopy on a clean surface. Then, use the carpenter’s pencil to mark the intended support bar’s location along the sides of the canopy.

For the canopy to slide properly, the support bars must be parallel to each other and all bars should be perpendicular to the sides of the canopy. 

Support bars should be located at each extreme end of the canopy, as well.

At each pair of marks, slide a support bar under the canopy and staple the canopy to the bar. Repeat for every set of marks.

Step 6: fix the Eye Screws on the Pergola

fix the six eye screws on top of the support beams, 3 on one beam and 3 on the opposite beam. 

The support beams are the pergola’s main horizontal carrying beams. They are not the top-most lattice, nor are they the beams directly below the lattice.

The support beams are the ones that hang on the vertical posts.

Get the ladder to drill three equidistant holes on one beam with a drill bit slightly smaller in diameter. 

Position the holes as high as possible, while maintaining a 1-inch space above the holes so that the canopy will clear any supports directly above.

Screw the three eye screws into place. Repeat for the opposite side.

Step 7: Install The Wire Rope on The Eye Screws

Get three length wire rope. Each length of wire rope has to be the distance between the two sets of eye bolts, plus another 10%, minimum. Connect  thimble through one of the eye screws. 

Pass through the eye screw and over the thimble. At the other end of the wire rope, put a clamp over the rope and slide it up to the thimble area. 

With a wrench, tighten down the wire rope so that you get a tight loop over the thimble. Repeat for the other two wire ropes and eye screws.

Step 8: Fix the Eye Screws on The Support Bars

Put the canopy on a clean surface. You can fix  the canopy so that the support bars are either above or below the canopy fabric. 

Fixing the bars above the fabric gives the cover a nice look that places more emphasis on the draping.

Putting the bars below the fabric means that you can see through the below. The attachment will be stronger since the support bars, no  staples, are holding up the fabric.

Attach three  eye screws on top of every support bar.

Space the eye screws so that they fit the spacing of the three eye screws you previously installed on the pergola.

Ensure to drill pilot holes to avoid cracking the wood.

Step 9: Get the Size Of The Wire Ropes and To Attach Turnbuckles

Get each of the turnbuckles out so long they will go by turning the two ends counter-clockwise to each other.

 Fix the three turnbuckles with the hook end to the three remaining eye screws on the pergola. 

Ensure the free end of each wire rope gets the eye end of the tumbukles to have a general sense of where to cut the ends.

Don’t forget to add extra 4 inches to your measurement before cutting.

Step 10: Move The Canopy on The Wire Ropes

Get someone to help you, put each of the three wire ropes through the corresponding eye screws attached to the support bars.

Step 11: Put the Thimbles and Clamps to the Wire Ropes

Put the remaining thimbles and clamps to the ends of the wire ropes, so that you will attach them to the eye end of the turnbuckles. 

Ensure the hook ends of the turnbuckles are attached to the pergola eye bolts.

Clockwise turn the turnbuckle to tighten the wire ropes. Make them as taut as possible.

Step 12: Ensure You Secure One End of the Canopy

Ensure you secure one leg of the canopy by not allowing it to move.

Drive the 2 1/2-inch screws horizontally through the end-most, non-operable support bar to attach it to the pergola’s vertical posts.

Step 13: Fix the Cleats to the Support Posts

At the extreme end of the pergola, fix the two cleats to two of the pergola vertical supports around 48 inches high.

Step 14: Fix the Drawstring to The Canopy End

Make the length of nylon rope be the same thing with your pergola, including extra 4 feet.

Tie each at the end support bar. Hang each drawstring over a horizontal support beam at the end support.

Cut two pieces of nylon rope, each the length of your pergola, plus another 4 feet.

Tie each to the end support bar, one at each end. Drape each drawstring over a horizontal support beam at the end of the pergola.

Pull the drawstrings down in order to move the pergola canopy horizontally and extend it. Loop the drawstrings around the cleats to hold in place.


Pergola is more beautiful if you can copy it with good fabric.

The process of attaching canopy to a pergola is beginning with the pergola frame. Get a nice canopy fabric for your canopy .

Don’t just buy a canopy but consider the wearther of your area before buying a canopy.

Also know the type of shade you want before buying  a canopy for your pergola.

These are the few things you need to do for you to properly cover your canopy very well.

Take the steps one after another to learn how you can attach canopy to a pergola.

These steps are very simple to understand, just take the step one and after the other to attach a canopy to your pergola.