Pergola Shade Cover -DIY

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A few years ago we had this beautiful pergola built in our backyard. I love it. I planted vines on it, and have been patiently waiting for them to grow up and provide some much needed shade in our backyard. It’s year three, we’ve had one casualty and re-plant, and I’m getting a little less patient. It’s a really lovely place to sit, but it’s just too hot!

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I had an idea that I could make some shade, by weaving some fabric through the wood.

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I started out with a good old home depot drop sheet (blogger’s linen). I measured the spaces in the pergolas top pieces and cut the fabric in strips. I stitched up the sides on the sewing machine, and added grommets. The very helpful man at Home Depot said they wouldn’t rust, since they’re brass. I just followed the instructions on the package, and they turned out looking great.

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We wove the fabric strips though and tied them on the ends, adding a few staples for stability.

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It turned out really great, and best of all, it’s not so burning hot out there anymore.

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With a little backyard shade available, life really is a party.

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  1. Great idea and perfect to keep you cool this Summer

  2. I love your ideal and I’m going to do the same for our pergola! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Question: how does this fabric hold up to rain?

  4. Hi Nikki,
    It did great at providing shade, but it didn’t hold up as well as we thought it would to the weather. It discoloured over the season, we assumed the sun would bleach it, but it still discoloured over time. If I were making it over, I’d use sunbrella fabric. We have washed them a few times and it helps. Good luck.

  5. Does the rain collect in one place and weight it down?

  6. Hi Angie, We haven’t had any trouble with the rain collecting in one place, since the cover is made of fabric it just drains through. It did develop some black spots from being wet. We thought the sun would bleach it out, but it didn’t. I might consider an outdoor fabric if I were making them again, to prevent that, but then again you can’t beat the price of a drop cloth. Best of luck.

  7. Awesome idea! will do it this week end! : )

  8. I’m looking for something like this to keep the bird droppings off the hot tub. Any suggestions?

  9. Hi Angie, Not sure if this would work for you. The good thing is you can take them down and wash them. Best of luck, Dannyelle.

  10. My grandpa used to wax the fabric on his tractor seat and umbrella. I’ve seen canvas used to reupholster furniture, painted with chalk paint, then waxed to soften and make water resistant…

  11. Leone Evrenos says:

    I read that canvas drop cloth is the best to use and seen this to purchase on Amazon and eBay.

  12. hi where u buy the shade fabric please?

  13. Hi Leone, It is canvas drop cloth, I picked it up at Home Depot. Best of luck.

  14. hi this is a great idea, I wonder if you sprayed the canvas with any weather proofing type chemical. I’d be down to make my own shades if I didn’t have to deal with the unsightly spots. Think a spray might help?

  15. Hi Kevin,
    You could always try a fabric that is made for outdoor use, the kind used for patio furniture and outdoor cushions. It would cost more, but be more weather proof, and would not discolour or stain.
    Best of luck,

  16. Betty McCart says:

    Hi Dannyelle! So I’m seeing this post July 2016, about 4 years after your original post. I am wondering how this material is holding up. I see you have suggested using outdoor material, in your rplies, because of its durability. Based on the cost difference would you have gone the same route if you were doing this all over again or still use the same material?
    I look forward to your experienced opinion for we are looking to put material up over the yard since we lost our shade tree and are finding it difficult to see where we can put another one. Thanks so much! Betty 🙂

  17. Hi Betty,
    If I were doing it again, I’d still use the drop cloths -considering the price and how well they’ve worn. They’ve held up really, really well. We leave them up all season, and then wash with bleach and store for the winter. The sun helps bleach them too. We just put them up yesterday -since we had to do a little maintenance on the pergola and re-paint this year, they still look great.
    Best of luck,

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