How to build a wood canopy

Written by nat fondell
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How to build a wood canopy
The basic canopy design can be adjusted for any project. (pergola image by titi 78430 from Fotolia.com)

A wooden canopy is an excellent addition to any garden and a great way to expand your living space at minimal cost and effort. With shade and protection from the rain, a wooden canopy provides a lounge area for cooking and dining. It can also be used to grow vine plants such as grapes or tomatoes and will provide a focal point for an otherwise empty backyard. A good wood canopy can be made with few materials and the basic tools of any home-owner.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Wooden beams
  • Shovel
  • Drill
  • Drill bit
  • Galvanised bolts
  • Galvanised nuts
  • Galvanised washers
  • Socket key or standard wrench
  • Canopy material
  • Carpenter's stapler
  • Staples
  • Ladder, if necessary

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Design your own wood canopy in order to purchase the appropriate number and type of materials. The basic canopy design is four long posts 3 metres (10 feet) high and four cross beams 3 metres (10 feet) long. These beams can be any size, but a good standard size is a 10 by 10 cm (4-by-4 inches). These measurements can be adjusted to fit any space, but additional support posts will be needed if the width extends beyond 3 metres (10 feet).

  2. 2

    Drill holes all the way through the four support posts, in the centre of each beam about 10 cm (4 inches) from the top. This hole will be used to attach the side beams of the roof using bolts.

  3. 3

    Dig a hole for each post about 90 cm (3 feet) deep. The holes should be in a square about 2.75 metres (9 feet) apart, in order to allow a little stylish overlap of the 3 metre (10-foot) beams. Centre a support post in each hole, and fill the hole in with tightly packed dirt.

  4. 4

    Drill a hole through one of the 3 metre (10-foot) side beams, in the centre of the beam about 15 cm (6 inches) from the end. Line this beam up with the vertical support post, and secure it with a bolt, making sure to put a washer on each end to prevent wear on the posts. Tighten the bolt loosely.

  5. 5

    Hold the other end of the beam up to the corresponding support post, and mark where the beam lines up with the pre-drilled hole. Drill a hole in this place, and pass a bolt through, placing washers on both sides of the bolt. Continue to add all cross beams in this manner. Once all four beams have been installed, tighten them all completely.

  6. 6

    Attach the canopy material by stretching it tightly across the top of the canopy. Staple one side down securely on the top of one of the beams, then staple the opposite side down while stretching it out completely. Staple the other sides in this manner, being sure to keep the canopy material tight the entire time.

Tips and warnings

  • For extra support, use concrete in the post holes. Allow plenty of time for the concrete to set, but be sure that posts are in the right spot.
  • Different materials can be used for different types of canopies. Screen canopies can merely be used for shade, while waterproof fabrics will make your canopy a rain shelter but will block the sun to any plants and grass that will be growing underneath.
  • Never climb or play on your canopy, as it is not designed to hold that much weight.

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