DIY Shade Fabric by the Yard


If the strong summer sun is keeping you from enjoying your yard, or if you don't have a protected porch, you can create your own shady haven with shade fabric---a lightweight, UV-resistant material available at hardware and fabric stores by the yard. A shade structure is easy to construct, and doesn't require spending very much money on materials. With the right preparation and tools, you can use shade fabric to install a DIY shade structure yourself in an afternoon.

Things You'll Need

  • Shade fabric (10 square feet)
  • Two 4 inch diameter wooden posts (approximately 7 feet long)
  • Two wooden crosspieces (1 inch x 2 inch x 10 feet)
  • Post-hole digger or spade
  • Four 16 inch steel pegs
  • Stepladder
  • Steel wire
  • Nails
  • Hammer
  • Staple gun
  • Wire cutter
  • Staples
  • Steel screws
  • Wall plugs
  • Drill
  • Measuring tape
  • Determine which wall of your house you would like to use to support the shade fabric structure. Mark the area for the shade structure: 9 feet out from the base of the wall and 10 feet across.

  • Use a post-hole digger or spade to dig two 12-inch deep holes at the corners of the shade structure, 9 feet out from the base of the wall. Place the posts in the holes, and pack the holes with dirt.

  • Use a staple gun to attach one end of the shade fabric to a wooden crosspiece, and then twist the crosspiece around the fabric once or twice.

  • Screw the ends of the crosspiece (with shade fabric attached) to the tops of the two wooden posts.

  • Measure a level line on the wall 10 feet above the ground, directly opposite the wooden posts, and pre-drill the wall along the line every two feet. Insert wall plugs into the pre-drilled holes.

  • Attach the opposite end of the shade fabric to the other wooden crosspiece with a staple gun, and twist the fabric around the crosspiece several times.

  • Screw the wooden crosspiece attached to the loose end of the shade fabric into the wall plugs in the wall. Wrap the fabric around the crosspiece before attaching to the wall to tighten the fabric.

  • Make supports for the posts by attaching a doubled length of wire to the tops of the posts with a staple gun. Wrap the loose ends of each doubled wire around the tops of two steel pegs (you will need two steel pegs per pole, or four pegs total). Drive the steel pegs into the ground so that the wire pulls the top of the posts outward, applying tension to the fabric structure and to the shade cloth.

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  • Photo Credit sunroof made from canvas image by Yali Shi from
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