How To Build A Diy Retractable Pergola Canopy
- Working Time: 4 – 6 hrs
- Total Time: 4 – 6 hrs
- Skill Level: Intermediate
- Estimated Cost: $150 to $400
A pergola is a fantastic addition to a yard, deck, or patio, lending an architectural flair to your landscape. But one thing that a pergola does not provide is adequate shade. Traditionally, the solution to the lack-of-shade problem has been to intertwine trailing plants or vines, such as grapevines, jasmine, or wisteria. But plants take time to train upward, and many homeowners don’t like the shedding leaves and debris. Plus, some trailing plants may not cover the middle sections of the pergola.
The low-cost solution for many homeowners is a retractable pergola canopy. Building a do-it-yourself retractable pergola canopy is a moderately easy way to provide an instant cover for your structure, at a fraction of the cost of commercial canopies.
Attach The Drawstring To The Canopy End
Cut two pieces of nylon rope, each the length of your pergola plus another 4 feet. Tie each to the end support bar, one at each end. Drape each drawstring over a horizontal support beam at the end of the pergola.
Pulling the drawstrings down will move the pergola canopy horizontally along the wire ropes to extend it. Loop the drawstrings around the cleats to hold them in place. Retracting the canopy will involve removing the drawstrings from around the cleats, and sliding the canopy back to the fixed end by hand.
Poolside Post And Beam Pergola
Placing a pergola at the head of a pool is classic. The structure is beautiful and practical, but when your focus shifts to the reflection of the pergola in the water something magical happens which is hard to put into words. Lighting a pergola of this natural is a great idea. Some people cut the lights into the patio and cover them with tempered glass. Others put the light fixtures up high and shine down. Either way… Beautiful.
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Stain The Support Bars
Cedar wood naturally weathers to a silvery-gray color and its oils keep it protected for many years. But if you would like added protection or a different look, you may choose to treat the cedar boards with semi-transparent stain or solid color stain.
Let the stain dry fully before proceeding to the next step.
Bring Easy Shade To Your Outdoor Structure
Adding a new structure to your backyard will give you hours of rest, relaxation, and entertainment with friends and family. But what happens when the overhead sun gets too hot, or the early morning or late afternoon sun is in your eyes?
Consider our EZShade canopies or curtains they provide temporary shade and privacy to your pergola, pavilion, or gazebo, without taking away from the beauty of your structure.
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When To Build A Diy Retractable Canopy
A retractable canopy is appropriate in situations where you want to enjoy sunny conditions some of the time but also want the ability to block the sun at other times. For example, you may want to grow potted plants but also want the ability to provide temporary shade when it’s time for entertaining. A retractable awning is ideal for such multi-purpose spaces.
An ideal time for the construction of this retractable canopy is on a dry, coolish day when winds are minimal. A day that is cloudy might be preferable, as you’ll be looking up upward into the sun much of the time as you build and hang the canopy. A bright sunny day in midsummer can be both blinding and unpleasantly hot for outdoor construction work, while a mild, overcast spring day can be ideal.
Wind & Rain Resistance
ShadeFX retractable canopies are a fully framed canopy system when extended, with the strength to withstand most winds and even heavy rain. ShadeFX has canopy wings that spread out from the drive beam support points unlike roll up awnings that rely on fabric tension for support between their front and back without support in between. For this reason, roll out awnings are not recommended to be left extended in the wind or the rain.Read the ShadeFX Story to learn more about the limitations of roll-retractable awnings that inspired the creation of ShadeFX Canopies.
- Standard and Irregular Shape Canopies
- Designed to be Retracted in Wind
- Minimum of 20 Degree Slope Required
- Standard Shapes Only
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Install The Wire Rope On The Eye Screws
Looping the ends of the wire ropes around the screw eyes is a somewhat tricky operation:
The three wire ropes should now be anchored to the support beam at one end of the pergola, with the opposite ends of the wire ropes still hanging free.
Add Extra Shade & Privacy With A Colorful Pergola Canopy
Canopies are fade resistant, easy-to-clean, and block over 92% of UV rays. Made in the USA.
Create a beautiful shaded area by adding a colorful canopy to your Pergola Depot pergola kit. Custom-made to fit our pergolas, our pergola canopies are an affordable way to transform any outdoor living space. Choose from popular industry-leading outdoor fabrics and colors to enhance your pergola. Add an Infinity retractable pergola canopy to any of our attached pergola kits or our freestanding pergola kits in sizes 8×8 up to 20×20 to create extra shade and privacy. The canopy sizes listed on our website are for our standard pergola kits and are custom-made to fit Pergola Depot pergolas. Canopies ship within 4-5 weeks of paid order. Canopy panels ship separately from the canopy hardware.
Canopy Fabrics and Accessories
A favorite for outdoor use, Sunbrella fabric offers excellent fade and weather resistance and blocks 100% of UV rays. The fabric is water repellent, yet is also soft and easy to work with. A wide selection of colors are available for retractable canopies built for Pergola Depot pergola kits. Functional and durable, Phifertex Plus Mesh fabrics block 92% of UV rays, are easy to maintain, and are resistant to mold and fading.
Adjust your canopy with the included pull cord or upgrade to a magnetic latch or pulley & rope systems. The magnetic latch keeps the canopy in the shade position, and the rope and pulley keeps the canopy where you leave it.
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Install The Eye Screws On The Support Bars
Stretch out the canopy and lay it on a clean surface. The canopy can be oriented so that the wooden support bars are either above or below the canopy fabric. Installing the bars above the fabric gives the cover a clean look that emphasizes the draping. Installing the bars below the fabric means that the bars will be visible from below. This is a stronger attachment since the support bars, not just staples, are holding up the fabric.
Attach three of the #10 eye screws on top of every support bar. Space the eye screws so that they match the spacing of the three eye screws you previously installed on the pergola beams. Be sure to drill pilot holes to avoid cracking the wood.
Install The Eye Screws On The Pergola
Next, you’ll install the six eye screws on the support beams, three on one beam and three on the opposite beam. The support beams are the pergola’s chief horizontal load-carrying beams, often 2×6 or 2×8 lumber, upon which the upper structure rests. They are not the top-most lattice , nor are they the cross members directly below the lattice. The support beams are the structural members that rest on the vertical posts.
Using a ladder, drill three equidistant pilot holes on one beam, slightly smaller in diameter than the eye screws. Position the holes as high as possible, while maintaining a 1-inch space above the holes so that the canopy will slide freely and clear any structural components directly above. Screw the three eye screws fully into place. Repeat for the opposite side.
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And Plugged Screw Heads
We carefully design and notch our pergolas to make the structure more beautiful, stronger and easier to assemble. You just match the notches up and it slides together. No measuring is required. We include mahogany plugs to cap the screws. Mahogany is another of the woods that last for decades outdoors. The worker in this photo is inserting plugs to complete an installation.
Benefits Of Shade For Your Backyard Structure
Our line of EZShade products provide temporary shade from the sun, as well as privacy from your neighbors.
The canopy and curtain fit all our vinyl and wood structures, and feature easy, one-handed operation. They are made with durable fabrics that block UV rays and are resistant to mildew, stains, and fading.
You have several color and pattern options to reflect your style and taste.
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Size The Canopy Fabric
When fully extended, the canopy must be the size of the pergola’s area, plus at least 20 percent longer to accommodate draping. Heavier cloth such as sailcloth will sag more muslin and linen will sag less. Determine the look you wish to achieve when the canopy is extended. Tighter cloth has a trim, finished look. Cloth with deeper sags gives your pergola an airy, fanciful look. Find the area of your pergola by multiplying its length by its width.
Attach The Support Bars To The Canopy
To attach the canopy fabric to the support bars:
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A Modern Backyard Oasis
Pergolas have a unique beauty that surpasses that of most standard awnings. They have a very sculptural and architectural design, and they can help create visual interest in an otherwise basic backyard. Many different styles of pergolas are available, ranging from simple, modern designs to ornate, elaborate, and elegant structures. Pergolas are well-loved by gardeners, because they provide a medium for displaying the beauty of plants. Purchase the pergola size and style you desire, and get the protection from the elements your family needs while improving the aesthetic appeal of your property. Our attractive pergolas will make you feel like you are on vacation at your favorite resort, without having to leave the comfort of your home!
Trim The Wire Ropes And Attach Turnbuckles
Extend each of the turnbuckles out as far as they will go by turning the two ends counter-clockwise to each other. Attach the three turnbuckles with the hook end to the three remaining eye screws on the pergola. Extend the free end of each wire rope to the eye end of the turnbuckles to get a general sense of where to cut the ends. Add 4 inches to your measurement and cut there, using wire cutters.
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Shadefx And Ez Shade Canopies
Garbrella Pergolas is an authorized dealer of ShadeFX and EZ Shade canopies. We offer retractable canopies and pergola side curtains as well. Pergola retractable canopies are easy to maintain and unassembled for winter use. You can also add a little character to your pergola with pergola curtains. These provide privacy and keep the sun under control.
If you are looking for a pergola canopy, you want quality among other things. When you are ready to buy a pergola canopy or curtains, we offer several different color and fabric options to choose from.
Cut The Canopy Support Bars
The canopy fabric will be stabled to 2×2 cedar supports bars, which will then be suspended from support wires using eye screws that allow the canopy to slide back and forth.
With a power miter saw or circular saw, cut 2×2 boards to the width of the canopy. Generally, plan on one board for about every 18 inches of the canopy’s length, though the exact spacing is up to you. Increasing the number of boards creates a scalloped, ribbed look. Fewer boards produce larger, lower drapes.
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Retractable Coverage At The Push Of A Button
Now with ShadeFX retractable canopies, there is a solution that addresses the needs of outdoor living spaces and the people that use them. No longer are you limited to small outdoor spaces attached to your home, umbrellas that offer little to no protection, or products that do nothing to enhance your outdoor living experience.
Be cool and dry
Only ShadeFX retractable canopies cover large areas and protect you and your furniture from sun and rain.
Easy to install
Adapts to all pergolas, arbors, trellises, and structures and installs easily by you or your contractor.
Style & substance
Each one custom designed to integrate with your living space and withstand the elements.
Attractive And Flexible Retractable Shade For Your Deck Or Patio That Also Adds Value And Hours Of Enjoyment To Your Home
- – canopies can last over 10 years with proper care!
- Adapts to existing structures or use our attractive and durable aluminum or vinyl shade structures
- Modular retractable canopies cover small odd-shaped, or LARGE areas – spans up to 24′!
- Choose from over 40 decorator awning fabrics
- Easy do-it-yourself awning and shade structure installation, or we’ll help you find an installer
- Helps reduce air conditioning costs!
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Shade Canopy For Pergola
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What Is A Retractable Canopy
With this retractable canopy design, the fabric is attached to horizontal 2×2 support boards, which slide along tensioned stainless steel cables, called wire ropes, which are hung from the pergola’s horizontal support beams. When retracted, this DIY pergola canopy tucks neatly away at one end of the structure. When extended, the canopy shades the underlying area in graceful drapes.
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Working With Wire Rope Hardware
Suspending the wire ropes that will serve as cables for the canopy is done with a special type of hardware, known as a thimble-and-wire rope fitting. The process involves first threading the horseshoe-shaped metal thimble onto a screw eye anchored to the pergola’s beam. Then, the wire rope is fed through the screw eye so it fits into the groove of the thimble. Last, the free end of the wire rope is doubled back onto itself and secured with a specially designed clamp. This type of hardware is necessary since the wire ropes will be stretched between beams under tension.
This hardware is stocked along with other metal cable fittings in your hardware store or home center and is also available from online retailers.
Stitch The Canopy Fabric
Since the canopy fabric rarely will come in widths that match your pergola’s width, you’ll need to decide whether you want to stitch together separate canopy strips or leave them separate.
For example, a 12-foot wide pergola would require two strips of fabric, each 6 feet wide. You can use a sewing machine to sew the two runs of canopy fabric together. Sailcloth is too thick to sew comfortably by hand, but muslin and linen can be manually sewn. Another option is to run two or more separate canopy strips attached to the support bars, without stitched seams.
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Ez Shade Canopy & Side Shade
The EZ Shade Canopy System will likely double your enjoyment of outdoor living. It is made from stainless steel fasteners, aluminum beams, and the highest quality weather resistant fabric. The EZ Shade Canopy is easy to operate and an affordable alternative to adding a retractable awning to your home. A terrific addition to your pergola! Available in several designs!
What To Consider Before Building A Retractable Canopy
Retractable pergola canopies have distinct benefitsbut it’s important to know about their limitations before embarking on the project. Among the advantages of building your own DIY retractable canopy:
- Cost is quite low compared to commercial canopies, which usually are installed by a custom installation team.
- It is relatively simple to build this version, using basic materials available at home centers.
- This canopy is easy to open and close, without the tricky mechanical gears and pulleys that commercial canopies feature.
But also keep in mind some drawbacks:
- This design is ineffective against rain.
- It can be susceptible to damage in high winds.
- Semi-translucent fabric doesn’t create complete shade.
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