My wife and I recently bought a new house. Our neighbor has a very large 5th wheel that he parks in his back yard. It is positioned so that it reflects the afternoon sun onto the back of our house and into our living room. We never had a problem with it until he took it for a trip this summer. Despite ambient temperatures being roughly the same as the week before, our house was MUCH cooler and our air conditioner cycled on fewer times. I would estimate about 6-7 degrees cooler.
So I decided to do try and build something to block some of the sun. I though about using trellis to obscure it but that would violate city ordinance for fence height. So I decided to make something that could be put up and taken down easily. Besides that extra heat reflecting off the 5th wheel will save us money in the winter. :)
My solution. PVC and sunshade or screen material.
What you will need:
1.5" PVC pipe cut to length (hereafter referred to as a vertical pole)(I used approx 10 ft lengths, one pole for every 5 horizontal feet of shaded area)
1.5"PVC Slip x Slip connectors (1 per vertical pole)
2" PVC Slip x Slip connectors (1 per vertical pole)
1.5" PVC Slip Cap (2 per vertical pole)
Screw Eye Hangers (2 per vertical pole)
Sun Screen Fabric or Window Screening (I used a 6' x 25' roll of Sun Screen)
Wood Screws (2 per vertical pole)
Drill or drill press & drill bits
PVC Cable Saw (~$5) Not necessary but very convenient
Screwdriver (Phillips or Thompson depending on type of screws used)
Step 1: Determine How Much Material You Need
Step 2: Make the Brackets
Flip the "C" shaped "brackets"Â so that the round side faces up and the notch is on the ground. Use a drill and drill a hole slightly smaller in diameter than your wood screws. The hole should be directly across from the cut out notch. Do this for each of the 1.5"Â Slip x Slip connectors.
Step 3: Bottom End Caps
Step 4: Top End Cap
From this point on that end is the top end. Take a screw eye hanger find a drill bit slightly narrower than the threads of the hanger. Drill a hole through the side of the end cap and into the pole. Now thread the hanger into the hole so that you have something that looks like this:
Do this to each of your vertical poles.
Step 5: Make Your Screen Attachment Point
Step 6: Hide Your Mess, I Mean Clean Up
Step 7: Mount the Brackets
Now measure down several feet (if your side of the fence is the picket side) or to the bottom 2x4 (if you are on the post side of the fence). The longer the distance, the better. Your vertical poles are going to clip into these and leverage needs to be considered. Leverage considerations with wind is the reason why we are using clamps instead of just mounting the poles directly to the fence. In the event of a strong wind the poles will just pop out of the clamps instead of ripping the whole fence down. (at least that is the theory). The greater the distance between the top and bottom clamps, the stronger the wind needed to rip out the poles.
Do this evenly across the area to be shaded. For me this was one set of clamps about every 5 feet. I am on the picket side of the fence so I tried to mount the brackets in the middle of the picket instead of near an edge so my measurements varied from set to set.
Step 8: Attach the Poles to the Screen
Now take a piece of wire, zip-tie, 550 cord, etc and attach the screening material to the eye hangers now on each pole. The top end cap should be attached to the top of the screening material, and the 2x2 slip connector should be attached to the bottom of the screening material. Repeat for each pole.
Step 9: Mount the System
Step 10: Enjoy
In the winter we are going to take it down and allow our neighbors 5th wheel to save us money on our heating bill (score!). When we take it down I may add additional 2x2 slip connectors to the two end poles to help prevent fabric stretching.