A simple shade structure adds character as well as shelter to a garden. A sitting area, protection for delicate plants or a place to grill steaks are all possible benefits and uses of a shade structure. Shade is commonly provided by awnings, trellises, lath patio covers, and prefabricated stand-alone structures, but for something unique and inexpensive try using an old satellite dish.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Things you need
- 1 10-foot metal mesh satellite dish
- 4 to 6 4-by-4 posts, 8-feet long
- 4 to 6 mounting brackets
- 4 to 6 bags quick drying fence post cement
- Post hole digger
- Nuts and bolts
- Socket set
Locate and procure an old metal mesh-type satellite dish, at least 10 feet in diameter. Remove all the extra hardware so all you have left is the basic structure of the dish.
Measure the diameter of the dish carefully. Pound a stake in the centre of the space where you intend to install your shade structure. Attach a string that is 1/2 the diameter of the dish to the top of the stake. Using the string, walk the diameter of the space, marking it with spray paint or stakes. If you have a helper, simply place the dish where you plan to install it, mark the ground around the edges, then move the dish out of the way.
Attach mounting brackets to the top of each post.
Dig four to six holes with the post hole digger, at least two feet deep, spaced at an equal distance around the inside edge of the dish. Mix the cement with water according to the instructions on the bag and install the posts, using a level to make sure that they're vertical. Allow at least 24 hours for the cement to dry.
Recruit at least one, preferably two or three helpers, and lift the dish onto the posts. After centring the dish so it is resting on top of the poles, bolt it to the brackets.
Decorate your shade structure with an old chandelier, patio lights, candle holders, wind chimes, a hummingbird feeder or other fun garden items. Attach curtains with metal curtain clips to make it like a Moroccan hideaway.
Tips and warnings
- Galvanised metal poles can be used instead of 4-by-4 posts.
- Electricity can be provided with a heavy duty extension cord plugged into a GFI outlet.
- Use caution when transporting the dish.
- Use a mask, safety glasses and gloves when working with cement. The dust is bad for your lungs.
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