Build a Shade Arbor
Hosts Jodi Marks and Pat Simpson show how to add a shade arbor to your backyard patio in a few days.
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A shade arbor can provide both comfort and privacy.
metal wedge braces
galvanized screws and nails
cardboard template cut to size
exterior paint or sealer
1. Research and follow the building code requirements for your area before starting the project.
2. Measure and mark 13 feet out from the house at the two outer corners of the area to be covered and make a chalk line connecting the two points (figure A). Make marks at the 2-foot and 16-foot points along the chalk line. These will help center the posts.
3. If installing posts into the ground, be sure to dig below the frost line to prevent frost heaving, which will cause your posts to be pushed up in cold weather. To attach posts on grade, use post anchors on the concrete slab (figure B). The brace is also important to keep the post from absorbing moisture from the patio surface.
4. Use the 6-8-10 rule to square the corners. Measure 6 feet along one side and mark. Measure 8 feet along the adjacent side and mark. Measure diagonally between the two points, and it should be 10 feet (figure C). Mark these positions for the post anchors.
5. Secure the post anchors with wedge anchor bolts. Drill holes in the slab with a hammer drill then hammer the bolts into place (figure D). Place the post anchors over the bolts and secure the nuts with a ratchet driver (figure E). Repeat the procedure for the second post anchor.
6. Position stakes to support the 2x4 bracing boards which steady the posts. You'll need to drive stakes in on two sides to make sure the post is plumb. Determine the location for the stakes and drive them into the ground (figure F).
7. Check to make sure the post is plumb, and then temporarily secure it with a brace to hold it in place. Now check the adjacent side to make sure post is plumb in both directions and temporarily secure with second support 2x4 (figure G).
8. Stand the 6x6 posts in place and secure them to the anchors with galvanized screws (figure H). Use 2-1/2 inch galvanized screws to secure the posts in the anchors.
9. Prime and paint the arbor components before constructing. Apply a sealer or use an exterior paint to help the arbor weather the elements.
10. Cut a cardboard template for decorative ends of the 2x10 boards. Trace the pattern on the wood and use a circular saw to cut out the design (figure I). Wear safety glasses and a dust mask when working with power tools.
12. Drill two holes through the 2x10 boards and posts. Hammer in carriage bolts and permanently secure the assembly with washers and nuts (figure K).
13. Trim all the rafters to size with the circular saw. You may want to mark angles and cut the outside ends for a decorative touch.
14. Pop a chalk line along the side of the house to create a line to mount the joist hangers and help align the rafters (figure L).
15. Attach first two rafters, one next to the post, and one along the outside edge of the boards (figure M). Measure the distance between these two rafters and divide that by five rafters to determine the spacing of the interior rafters.
16. Attach the rafters to the side of the house using joist hangers installed with 3-inch galvanized nails (figure N). To secure the other end of the rafters, toenail the rafters to the support beams on both sides. Repeat this process for all the rafters (figure O).
17. Attach the 2x2 perpendicular boards across the rafters. Measure between the rafters to make sure the spacing remains equal and nail the 2x2s to each rafter using galvanized nails (figure P).
19. Cut trim pieces from 2x4s to create boxes around each post to hide the anchors (figure R). Place shims between the trim pieces and concrete so they won't sit in water when it rains.
20. Measure and cut the fabric to provide shade panels over the arbor. Attach grommets to the fabric, and hook the grommets in place along the rafters with bolts.
If you or your kids love baseball as much as I do, you'll love stepping up to the batter's box and taking a whack at this project.