A bit of shade

A weekend project, if you redefine a weekend as Friday to Wednesday.

I spend a lot of time on our deck. If the weather is at all tolerable, I set up my computer workstation and spend the day there, looking out to the Golden Gate Bridge and watching the array of birds and critters in the back yard. The deck has a pergola that creates some shade, but we’ve always had an umbrella to make it tolerable under the bright sun directly overhead. I’ve been thinking for a while that a deck-wide shade would be much nicer than the umbrella, so I decided to buy some parts and make what’s variously called a Roman or wave shade that can slide open or closed as needed.

Of course, last-minute design modifications and unforeseen constraints changed things a bit, but I’m still happy with the result. Here’s the pergola before:

The above image before I installed the shades but after I’d “cleared” both bays: the lights in the center were moved from either side of the beam, and the lights on the right beam moved on the outside. I also cleared 30 years of nails and hooks.

Here’s my parts list (sharp viewers will note I bought more materials than I used):

  • 3x Coolaroo 15′ x 8′ sun shade
  • 100′ 1/8″ 7×7 stainless cable
  • 12x lag hooks (to hold cable; better than eye lags: no threading)
  • 2x turnbuckles
  • 4x cable crimps
  • 16x 3/4″ x 1/2″ primed moulding boards (for shade ribs; 8 per shade)
  • 34x small eye screws (for shade ribs)
  • 1x plastic-covered hook screw (for shade pole)
  • 144 zip-ties (9 per rib)

First I installed the hooks in the corners and made a square of cable. The result is about 49 1/2″ wide by 20′ long. Here’s a detail:

Next I created the shades. I didn’t take a photo of the construction, but it took three of the four rolls I bought to make two 23-foot x 4-foot shades with ribs every three feet. I used zip ties to attach the ribs to the cloth, 9 on each rib — much easier than sewing.

Top is daytime, bottom is dusk. It’s not as completely protected as the umbrella provided, but I like the lack of umbrella in this space.