A Do-It-Yourself Shade Arbor


Argh, Lumber, Tools. Argh, Build. Last week I built a covered sandbox. Here in Florida you need some shade or your goose is cooked. I was going to put a shade canopy on it and you can find those plans on my website. However, I’ve always wanted to build a pergola, or is it a shade arbor? I didn’t know so I consulted professor google and apparently the difference has to do with the’ thing.aaaa, you know I still have no idea. Ahh, I’m just kiddin. A pergola is usually attached to another structure on one side where as an arbor is usually constructed over a walkway and generally you don’t sit under them. Well this is sort of a cross between the two so yeah I still don’t know. A quick trim on the miter saw will give me the lengths I need and those lengths can be determined. This is going to require a lot of glue so Ill just make sure to top off my glue bottle before I begin.

I’ve gotta work fast because I’m sandwiching all the posts together into one glue up so Ill be racing the open time on my glue. Because I didn’t want treated lumber and that is all I could find locally by way of 4x4s I decided to make my own. Instead of using two 2x4s for each post I’m using one 2×4 and one 1×4. The 1×4 is a different length from the 2×4. You’ll see why later. Just a fair warning I’m taking liberties all over the place with this project. With those in the clamps time to work on the cross beams. These are 2x6s that I’ll trim to size. Then measure a mark here, Connect the and measure a mark there. Connect the two dots. And its off with the jigsaw. Simple really. Clean that up a little bit. The rafters are just 2x4s. They just get a simple 45 degree angle cut in both ends and the miter saw takes care of that job no problem.

The diagonal cross pieces. 2x6s. Ill shape these a bit differently and to do that Ill need to break out a highly calibrated, piece of equipment. Don’t feel bad if you don’t have one as top shelf as mine. I’m all about class here at simply easy diy. That trash can had this funny lip on it which I don’t want my final profile to be like that. So precision is the name of the game now. . Hands like a surgeon Jigsaw, take it away. After that I need some angles cut in those ends and Ill just lay these out so I can mark a rough line just to help me keep my cuts headed in the right direction. Miter saw gives me what I need here. And that’ll work just fine. By this time my posts are dry and out of the clamps. Ill just clean these up by running them through my table saw so I can take off that mess. But, now I have these sharp corners which I do not want. A round over bit in my trim router makes short work of those.

If you don’t have a router or a round over bit, not to worry. A sander with some 80 grit sandpaper will take care of ya. Or you could just deal with the sharp corners. Its your boat. Float it like you want. Time to put some stuff together. Liberties warning! The size of my arbor slash pergola affords me to be able to lay out the cross beam and set the posts across it like so. Ill just make sure the two pieces meet at the end of my taper. A large drywall square will be my lovely assistant today to square of the posts to the cross beam. If you don’t have one of these no problem. A regular framing square will do just fine or you could use the 3, 4, 5 method. Whatever works for you. Screws instead of bolts. Use bolts if you want. Don’t judge me YouTube. Cats all she wants is food. Flip the whole thing over and attach the diagonal braces.

See told you all she wanted was food. Now some of you may have a question about now and if you ask that question in the comments I’m just going to say Website. Ill discuss it over there. Installation time. Our arbor is going over the kids sandbox. So Ill just slide one side up to where I want it and start digging some holes. Now I can not possibly go over every possible situation or outcome one may encounter while building a project like this. It cant be done. You’re just going to have to know a little about where you live, your ground characteristics, building codes, things like that and go from there. I will show you what I did and if that helps, great. 18 inches is what I’m going for.

This is a liquid rubberized material that is often used on roofs. There are several types of material you can use for an application like this but it needs to stay pliable so that it will expand and contract with the post. If it doesn’t, you’re going to have problems. Some gravel at the bottom of the hole is going to help with drainage. A lack drainage is a big reason why posts fail prematurely. Alright here we go. I do not use concrete to set posts anymore. A hurricane or two will break you of that habit pretty quick.

Also concrete holds moisture next to the post causing premature rot. I might talk a little more about that over on the blog post. Check the description. Ill have the links in there. Now as long as I dont compact the dirt around the post just yet I can still adjust it this way or that so I can make everything plumb and level. Same thing for the front side. The difference here is I wanna make sure the two sides are level with each other. So Ill lay out one of the rafters across them and check a level. I’ll do that for both sides. I also want to make sure the posts on both sides are the same distance from each other, and adjust as needed.

Now I’ll lay my rafters in place. and set the front overhang. Then I’ll mark those lines. Take the rafters back to my shop and use that line as a guide to drill some pocket holes. Lay them back in place, line up the marks to the beam and do the thing. For the side trellises I’m just using a basic vertical slat design. Ive seen some pretty cool setups on these things so it all depends on how intricate you would like to be. But that my friends I will leave to you. As for me I will throw some stain on here, lay some shade cloth over the top and my job is done.