Introduction: Shade Arbor for Deck

About: I'm a professional recycler in Oakland, CA. I play & coach lacrosse and string a lot of sticks. I make most of my own furniture and like to build everything from houses to chicken coops. I make surfboards, …

We have a little 8'x 10' deck on the west side of the house. Its right off the kitchen & dining room and is great for grilling and growing herbs and sitting. But its very sunny, hot, and bright. So I decided to build a partial-shade arbor over it. My son is a good helper.

If you like the way it looks, please give me a vote in the Outdoor Structures Contest! Questions and comments are appreciated! Thanks for reading

Step 1: The Problem

Too much sun on this deck! We had an umbrella over the grill, but it didn't help much. The whole deck was so bright it was a bit uncomfortable out there in the afternoon. And the dining room windows had no shade, so any time we wanted to sit there in the afternoon, we had to close the window blinds.

Edit: my wife read this and said, "You never plan any of these things!" So to prove I do, I added my plan. Its a 2" x 2" post it note that I took to the lumberyard.

Step 2: Bolting Ledger to the House

The first step is to determine where the framing is inside the wall. Fortunately, doors and windows have king & trimmer studs next to them and headers above, so it was pretty easy to layout the hole pattern. Once we'd measured for placement, we pre-drilled the header board (2x6 redwood) and marked the wall through those holes while holding the board level. We drilled the stucco with a roto hammer and then the wood behind it with a twist bit. We filled the holes with silicon and installed the board. We ran another good bead of silicon along the top edge where the board meets the wall to ensure waterproofing.

Step 3: Posts for Outer Side

The outboard side of the arbor needed 2 posts to hold up the cross beams. One post is stacked on top of the existing one, and bolted through the stucco into the framing just like the ledger was.

The other post will be free standing, so it needs a better connection. For this one, we cut a 2' lap joint into the bottom end of the new post and a matching cut into the top end of the existing deck post. We then drilled through both together and installed 4 carriage bolts to hold them together. The flat cuts bear the weight and the long lap and carriage bolts ensure it stays together. Connections like this are very strong!

Step 4: Cross Beams and Center Support

We used 2 2x6 cross beams from one post to the other, level with the header that was bolted to the house. And then also 2 2x6 beams perpendicular to those, set 1.5" above, to set the layout and provide parallel structure for all the 2x2's.

The outer pair of beams was leveled and clamped in place for drilling and installation of carriage bolts through the 4x4 posts.

The perpendicular beams were hung with small hidden-flange joist hangers.

And then between the perpendicular beams, we hung a 2x4 to support the center of the 2x2's. We used 2x4 hangers for that one.

Step 5: Rolling Out the Shade Boards

We measured and marked the ledger to make sure all the 2x2's went in evenly. Then we cut and pre-drilled all of them so they wouldn't split when the screws went in. Each 2x2 was installed with 4 screws - 1 into the ledger at the house side, 2 into the outer cross beams, and 1 into the center 2x4.

Step 6: Finished!

The arbor came out just as we'd hoped. The deck is a much more pleasant place to spend time now, with half of the sunlight filtered out even at high noon. Another advantage is we now get shade over the dining room windows and can comfortably sit at the table in the afternoon without having to close the window blinds.

Outdoor Structures Contest

Runner Up in the
Outdoor Structures Contest