How to Build Your Own Deck Shading


Over the course of a weekend you can build a shade structure for your deck, using PVC piping for the frame and a homemade or purchased canvas covering for the roof. The best part is that the entire structure is portable; the legs are anchored in cement-filled 5-gallon buckets or decorative pots. When winter rolls around, disassemble the deck shade structure. The pieces are easy to move and store in a protected area until the hot sun shines again next summer.

Things You'll Need

  • Quick set cement
  • 5-gallon buckets or large decorative pots without holes in the bottom, 4
  • 2- to 3-foot lengths of 1/2-inch, galvanized piping, 4
  • 8-foot-lengths of 5/8-inch PVC piping, 4
  • 5/8-inch corner configuration T-coupling PVC fittings, 4
  • 4-foot-lengths of 5/8-inch PVC pipe
  • 5/8-inch straight-line T-couplings
  • 5/8-inch, 2-hole straight-line T-couplings
  • Canvas fabric
  • Grommet installer
  • Metal or brass grommets
  • Vinyl cord
  • Mix the cement one bag at a time following the manufacturer's directions. Pour one bag of mixed, wet cement into each of the four, 5-gallon buckets or large decorative pots. Insert vertically into the wet cement a length of galvanized pipe slightly smaller in diameter than the outside diameter of the PVC pipe. Lay a level along the pipe to ensure it is in the concrete straight up and down. Check the pipe several times with the level until the concrete hardens enough to hold the pipe steady.

  • Position the cement-filled buckets at the four corners of the deck shade you are building.

  • Slip the open ends of one of the 6- to 8-foot lengths of PVC pipe over each of the galvanized pipes embedded in the concrete. These pipes will be the supporting legs of the shade frame.

  • Attach corner T-couplings or fittings to the top ends of the upright PVC pipes.

  • Insert 4-foot lengths of PVC pipe into the open end of each corner T-coupling.

  • Attach straight-line T-couplings to the other end of the 4-foot lengths of PVC pipe on two opposite and parallel sides of the shade structure. Ensure the third openings of each of the straight-line T-couplings are facing toward the inside of the structure. Insert additional 4-foot lengths of PVC pipe into the other two openings of the straight-line T-coupling openings to complete the outside frame of the shade with 4-foot lengths of PVC pipe connected to each other with straight-line T-couplings. On the remaining two sides of the structure, attach the 4-foot lengths of PVC piping to each other using regular, 2-hole, straight-line couplings.

  • Fit additional 4-foot lengths of PVC pipe into the third hole of the T-couplings, to create an interior support for the roof of the deck shade. Connect the 4-foot lengths of PVC pipe to each other using regular, 2-hole, straight-line couplings.

  • Measure, cut and sew together the canvas for the shade. Create a large piece that is approximately 24 to 30 inches larger than the framework for your deck shade. It may be necessary to piece together three or more pieces of canvas to make a cover piece wide enough for your deck shade, depending on the width of the fabric. Measure the framework from corner to corner at the tops of the posts. Lay two adjoining parts of the canvas cover on a flat surface, stacked on top of each other with their right sides together in the center of the stack. The back, or wrong sides of the fabric will be facing the outside of the stack of fabric. Pin along one edge with regular straight sewing pins. Sew a 5/8-inch seam along the pinned edge, removing the pins as you go. Attach a third panel to the parallel edge of one of the two panels you just sewed together, first laying them right sides together and then pinning and stitching the seam. You will end up with a piece of fabric three times as wide as the widest width the canvas fabric comes in.

  • Attach a row of grommets to the outside edge of the canvas cover cloth, approximately 2 feet in from the outside edge. Space the grommets about 10 to 12 inches apart. Use a commercially available grommet tool and follow the specific manufacturer's instructions. Basically, attach a grommet to the bottom half of the grommet tool. Then, insert the fabric into the grommet tool at the point you want to install the grommet. Attach a matching grommet to the top half of the grommet tool. Next, squeeze the tool together and the two pieces of the grommet will fold together, forming a single unit attached to each other through the fabric. Simply remove the fabric in the center of the grommet with a razor blade tool or a pair of pointed, sharp scissors.

  • Install a second row of grommets about 4 inches away from the first row of grommets, offsetting them so the grommets in the second row lay between the grommets in the first row, similar to offsetting bricks in masonry walls.

  • Lay the canvas cover over the tops of the PVC pipes, lining up the grommets so the row closest to the edge falls right next to the outside framework of PVC pipes.

  • Secure the canvas top to the frame using vinyl cord. Thread the cord through a grommet, around the frame, through the nearest grommet in the second row, and so on until the entire canvas shade top has been secured to the PVC frame.

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