Bonsai Shade Structure

Pergolas and similar shade structures can be expensive.  Today I’ll share with you how I built a shade structure for under $100 USD.

I’m building this over the patio area where I already have built a bench.  You can read the post on the bench build here. This area will be fully ready for displaying trees once this shade structure is up.

Here is a visual of where it is being built:

Posts are going at right and left corners

The first thing that had to be done was dig the holes for the posts.  I had one hole to dig in the yard, easy.  Then the next hold had to be placed where there was a brick walkway.  Not hard, just a little more work.

Before we get started here is the materials list:

  • 2- 2x4x12 foot boards
  • 1- 1x4x12 foot board
  • 4- 1x2x8   foot boards
  • 1- 60lb bag of ready mix concrete
  • 1- 12×20 foot Shade Cloth
  • 1- Pack of tie wraps (30 count)
  • 1- Box of Deck Screws (2 1/2 inch)

Some tools are required as well which are:

  • Hand drill, drill bits, screw driver bits
  • Level
  • Trowel
  • Water source
  • cut pliers
  • Ladder
  • hand saw, reciprocating saw, or any other saw you can make work!

I am going to use the fence and posts that are already on one side, so I only have to install two vertical posts.  This makes the job a lot quicker.

I got 12 foot posts, and 2 feet would be buried in the ground.  Here’s the first hole dug:


Removed a few bricks and dug the second hole:


Before putting the posts in I put screws in the posts.  This way when the concrete sets, the posts won’t get loose over time and pull out vertically.


After that we (my father and I) put the posts in the holes and leveled them. We did use a level, I just don’t have a picture of that part…


Thn we just used  a trowel shoveled some mix in the holes and added some water.


We let the water seep in for a few min, the pushed it down with a spare piece of wood:20170503_221245

Added more mix on top and repeated until the holes were full:20170503_213753

This we let sit overnight to cure and filled the remaining hole with dirt.

Once this was done it was time to put the upper frame up.

Across the front is the long 1x4x12 foot board. On the sides and back, are the smaller 1x2x8 foot boards cut to size.  I attached them with a drill and the deck screws:



Now all that was left was to cut off the extra piece of 1×2 sticking out of the front, and then attach the shade cloth.

The shade cloth along with the rest of the materials were all purchased at a local home improvement store.


To attach the shade cloth, I spread it out over the top first then used tie wraps to secure it to the frame:


At this point I was excited as it was almost done.  After tie wrapping it all in place here is what it looked like before cutting away the extra cloth on the sides.  There was a nice breeze that day:


For the sides I measured down the post to a comfortable level and tie wrapped the cloth to the posts.  The excess cloth, I trimmed with a pair of scissors.  You can use a utility knife as well.

It’s going to be easy to take down during storm season by simply cutting the tie wraps. Here is a picture of it with the sides finished as well:


Here is a picture where you can see the amount of shade it provides:


I could have finished it up a lot nicer, but all in all for the amount of work put in, and that it will only stay up for a few months a year it, I’m happy with it.

Good night!




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