A Low Cost, DIY Shade House

 I've needed a shade house for some time - although I did not want a permanent structure, did not want to spend much money on a solution and wanted it quickly. I also did not have space in my backyard - so a compromise had to be reached. I bought a bunch of pvc, sacrificed half our lawn and a section of bedraggled garden in order to make a level and weed free, shade house utopia.

A low cost, pvc frame shade house
PVC Shade House


Materials to build the structure were mainly pvc pipes and fittings as you can see below. The 4"x4" table legs are from some 50yr old, redwood fencing we just had replaced. After removing the rotten ends  - the redwood was in surprisingly great shape.

PVC Shade House frame
PVC Shade House Frame


By far the most expensive part of this project was buying lumber. Had I saved some of the old fence boards or looked on a "free cycle" site I probably could have saved $100+. Oh well. I have had wood sitting around for years before waiting on a project... I just didn't want to be that guy again.

Another way to save money would have been to go with a "hoop house" design and avoid the need to buy most of the expensive pvc fittings I used in my pitched roof design.

DIY Shade House
Shade house tables completed


Next it was time to secure the 20' x 12' section of shade cloth I'd ordered online. I secured the lower edges with nylon cord to pressure treated lumber attached to the frame. "zipties" were used in other places to secure the cloth to the pvc frame.

Putting on the cloth of a DIY shade house
Adding cloth to the shade house


After tightly securing the shade cloth it's time to add some plants! Its worth noting that this yard is subject to hours of 15mph - 30mph sustained winds and gusts on a daily basis during Spring and Summer. Drives me crazy to be honest.

DIY Backyard Shade House with plants

Most of these trays are not great for optimizing space... I built the tables deep enough to hold 2 flats, each of which can hold 16 x 4" pots. I'll have to pick up more of the right sized trays.

Young plants in a DIY Shade House
Young Agave in the new shade house

These young plants will be transitioned to full sun (and larger pots) once they've become acclimated to the life under this 40% shade cloth (blocks 40% of the sun's UV rays).

Happy Growing!


  1. Another impressive and innovative construction, Hans! It looks like you have a good amount of work space - and the area surrounding your new shade house looks like a bonafide plant nursery ;) I regret that my husband and I didn't make my lath house larger so I could use it to support my own propagation efforts as well as a display area for shade plants, but then space is always a problem.

  2. your plant babies look very content in the new shad house -- you're going to wonder how you managed so long without it!

  3. Great work! Shade cloth protection does wonders.

    Had to chuckle about "wood sitting around for years before waiting on a project... I just didn't want to be that guy again." comment. A friend's husband is "that guy" and rats living in his lumber collection just chewed up the wiring in his SUV for the second time.


Post a Comment

Popular Posts