How to Build Shade Structures


The heat and the direct sun of the summer can cause damage to plants, especially vegetables. While most vegetable gardeners know they need to adjust water consumption for summer vegetables, many do not realize the benefits of shading their plants. Shade provides plants with a break from the heat and sun and may help prevent sun-bleaching.

Things You'll Need

  • 2 pieces of 10-foot plastic conduit, 1 ½ inches thick
  • 2 pieces of 10-foot metal conduit, ½ inch thick
  • Shade cloth or plastic tarp, about 12 by 12 feet
  • 2 zip ties
  • 4 hand clamps, 2 inches
  • 1 box of large binder clips
  • 1 old 13-inch tire or a metal conduit bender
  • Heavy hammer
  • Cut the plastic conduit pieces in half. Cut them at an angle to create points at the ends.

  • Measure a 5-by-5 foot square in the area of the garden requiring shade. Mark the edges of the square with rocks, or by drawing an X in the soil. At each corner, drive a piece of plastic conduit about 1 foot into the ground. If the soil is dry and posts do not enter the ground easily, use a hammer to help drive them into the ground.

  • Bend the metal conduit at a 30-degree angle, using the old tire or conduit bender as a guide. Bend slowly and carefully to prevent the wire from kinking. Keep about 6 inches at the end of each side straight.

  • Measure to make sure the metal conduits will fit into the plastic conduits. Place the conduits into the plastic tubes at opposite corners. This will lock the plastic tubes into place, making a tent-like structure.

  • Use zip ties to secure the metal conduits together at the peak of the tent. Place the shade fabric or plastic tarp evenly over the structure. Secure the fabric to the metal ribs by folding the fabric and holding it in place with a binder clip. Once the fabric is secured to the ribs, secure it to the plastic posts using the hand clamps.

Tips & Warnings

  • When in doubt, purchase an excess of shade cloth. If the cloth is too large you can always trim it to fit the structure.
  • Adjust measurements to make a larger or smaller shade structure.

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  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/ Images
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