Saturday, June 23, 2012

That seems shady to me

When we bought our house, our main complaint was that there was no shade in the backyard. We have a couple of nice trees out front but just nothing in the back. The yard was part of the appeal of the house and we enjoy having people over and cooking out. For the past two years, we have made do with various umbrellas and portable shade canopies. They all work but none of them were quite what we wanted. I mentioned to RF that I would like a roof over our patio but since we are planning to expand the patio in the next few years, we didn't want anything too permanent (or anything that took up too much space, since the patio is kind of small). One day a few weeks ago, he drove past a house that had used PVC pipes and canvas to make a semi-permanent canopy and we decided it couldn't possibly be that difficult and set about doing it this weekend. We started by getting 3 5 gallon buckets and filling them with 60lb bags of concrete mix. Then we sunk 2" PVC pipes into the wet concrete and set bricks on the top of the bucket to stabilize the poles while the mix set up.
After the mix was set, RF attached the cross pieces across the top with 90 degree elbows and PVC cement.
Then we got 3/4" PVC and cut it to fit our canvas (more on that later). RF drilled holes in the cross pieces and screwed in eyebolts. He did the same to the 3/4" pieces. The eyebolts in the cross pieces were 5/16x4 and into the 3/4" was
Then we attached the 2 pieces together with quick clips. 3/4x80mm
RF drilled above the gutters and attached eyebolts there as well. The eyebolts into the house were 5/16x5
To keep the frame stable, we attached tension ropes to the frame and staked them out in the yard. The weight of the canvas pulls the frame in and the ropes help pull it out and keep things tight.
I can do a lot of things, but sewing is widely outside my skill set, so we called my mom and she brought over her sewing machine and helped us sew rolls in our canvas. As a note on the canvas, you can go to Joanna's and get colored or patterned outdoor canvas. At our local store, it runs about $11 a yard. Or you can go to your local hardware or paint store and pick up canvas drop cloths for around $20 a cloth. We ended up getting 9x12 foot drop cloths because none of the other sizes fit our patio correctly. We did 2 9' panels and cut the excess off the 12' side. My mom sewed a hem on the cut side and then sewed the roll. We went with 4.5 inches, so it was large enough to slide over the eyebolts, instead of having to take them off to slide the fabric on the 3/4" post. We had planned to have 2 eyebolts on each post but because of the size and weight of the canvas, we ended up putting a third one in the center to support the weight.
The final product! Plenty of shade for all of our gatherings!