Building a Shade Structure for Your Patio

Building a shade structure for your patio can make it a much more pleasant place to spend time in during hot summer days. In a great deal of places, a patio can become too hot, which rather negates its usefulness, since many people want to enjoy their time outside in such weather. Building a patio shade structure can either be a complicated and expensive job, or something very simple. You have a wide variety of choices from a simple awning to something more like an outdoor room.

Tools and Materials Needed:

  • Hammer
  • Wrenches
  • Saws
  • Framing
  • Shade or awning

Step 1 – Decide on the Type of Shade Structure You Want

The first thing to do is decide on the type of shade structure which you want for your patio. You can have ones which you can easily dismantle and store in the winter. You may instead want one which you can use all year round. There are also some good energy saving alternatives, which can help to make the room next to your patio cooler in the summer months.

A shade structure can be something extremely simple, such as an awning which unfolds over the patio. You can also have a more permanent, and more expensive, patio shade, complete with columns and other more extravagant touches.

If you are going for anything more complicated, you should check with your local building regulations, before spending any money and getting any work done. You may need a building permit, which will require detailed and accurate plans to be submitted beforehand.

Step 2 – Assemble a Frame

To start building the patio structure, the first thing to do is to build a base of the frame. You should already have detailed plans to work by. If any of the structure of the frame is going to be installed on the ground, it needs to be installed into a concrete base. If you are using PVC rather than wood, you need to have an appropriate exterior adhesive to attach the joints. You also need to calculate the load on the roof, and use appropriately heavy hardware to hold the entire weight of the shade structure itself. The structure needs to be very strong, so that there is minimal risk of it getting damaged in heavy wind.

When you assemble the frame, dry fit any joints first, until you are satisfied that there placement is correct before securing them in place.

Step 3 – Adding the Top

Generally, you want to have a latticed top over the frame. This will act as the frame for the roof, upon which you can place the shade itself. There are many choices here, but you may just want to use a simple awning. In this case, the canopy canvas needs to be stretched out over the frame, and fixed into place. In some cases, you may want to make the shade look a little more exotic, such as by using palm fronds or some form of thatching installed over the frame.