Any patio with some shade covering will probably get a lot more family use. A lattice cover provides the same effect as having a shade tree over the area. A lattice made of wood strips or vinyl can provide a space for climbing vines to grow as well. The best part of working with a lattice is that it's relatively inexpensive to purchase and install.
Allow roughly one-half of the patio for a lattice covering, if you don't want the entire area to be shaded. It's nice to have a space to sit that's out of the sun. But most people like to sunbathe on a patio as well. By covering half of the patio with shaded material, you can have the best of both worlds. Wooden lattice sheets will work for the project, but vinyl lattice will last much longer and won't need painting for several years.
Frame the Covering
Use post material to construct the framework to support the overhead lattice covering. You can purchase 8-by-8-inch post material for all corner posts and allow for a support post approximately every 6 feet. Roof framing can be constructed with 2-by-6-inch boards forming rafters every 24 inches. The roof framing can be built flat, since the lattice will be secured directly on top of the framing.
Incorporate Stainless Steel
It's best to put the lattice covering framework together using stainless steel nails or screws to avoid rust. All patio hardware for hanging baskets or hardware to install bamboo blinds, for example, should be made of stainless steel as well. Any shelves built on a wall covered with a lattice should include brackets made of non-rusting metal or stainless steel.
Install Lattice Sections
Secure the lattice sheets to the wooden framework with a nail gun, screws or nails. Attach the sheets, which typically come in 4-by-8-foot sections, only on the corners until you're satisfied with the placement. Go back and install nails or screws every 2 feet to hold the lattice in place. Work from a tall A-frame ladder, so you can work above the roof rafters one section at a time.
Use Side Wall Shading
To create more privacy and increased shading, secure the lattice to one side wall. Nail 2-by-4-inch boards every 2 feet along one wall. These framing boards can run either vertically or horizontally, so the lattice can be attached securely. You can install a shelf on this wall for additional plants or for serving food. Build a cabinet along the bottom half of the wall for storing grilling equipment or lawn supplies.
Get Expert Help on Electricity
If you want to run electric lights or media equipment to the patio, consult with an electrician. You can build a weather-tight cabinet that fits on a side wall to hold a TV, DVD player and a CD player. Design the roof area over a cabinet holding these items to be securely covered rather than open latticework--or construct a cabinet covered in plastic or vinyl to keep out the elements.
- Photo Credit side verandah. image by mdb from Fotolia.com
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