Create a patio that goes from sheltered afternoons to silver screen evenings. Below I'll outline the basics of how I created my easily transformable patio space.
Step 1: Cool Shaded Afternoons
I wanted to create some shade on my patio that would at least last the summer and not break the bank. I decided to build a solid structure to drape a cover over. This would allow me to save money on lumber for the actual covering while creating a solid structure that could be added to in the future. When the weather cools down and I have a bit more cash, I'll be able to add a slatted wood cover to the existing structure.
Use a post hole digger and quick dry cement to "plant" 4x4 posts along the edge of the patio 4ft apart and 2ft deep.
At this point, you could screw some 2x4s to the top of the posts and be ready to make your cover. (Cost: $65)
I decided to spend a little more and add a little flare. I used 8ft posts and added height with the addition of a shelf. See pictures for details on construction. (Optional additional cost: $40)
When I did the math, the cheapest fabric by the yard was flat sheets from Wal-mart. I opted for cheap and not long lasting as I intend to replace it after just one summer. It will get sun bleached and weather damaged, but will continue to do the job for a few months at least. A more expensive weather proof option is another way to go.
Depending on how far your structure is from the house and how wide it is will determine how many you need, but I used 6. (Cost: $30)
Sew them all together to the point where they hit the structure.
Add eyelets to the corners and hooks at the roof edge. (Add an additional eyelet in the middle of each sheet if you are in a windy area.)
At the draping end, gather and tie each section. Use a small bungee to attach them to the posts. The "give" that is created by the bungee allows the fabric to move in the wind and not rip the eyelets out where they are attached to the wall. The patio during the day is quite pleasant, even in the Texas summer heat. It's great for backyard BBQs or watching kids play in the yard.
Step 2: Theater Screen
While the temperature is nice, we often host movie nights. I can transform the patio into a theater in about 15 minutes with a screen and all-in-one projector setup.
Upholstry vinyl is large and reflects the light from the projector well. (3yds at $20-Cost: $60)
Add eyelets to the top of the vinyl and nails along the wall. (You only need an eyelet every foot or so. I have lots more because of the way I store it.)
Add an eyelet in each bottom corner and use a small bungee cord to pull the screen taught.
Store it rolled to avoid wrinkles. (I roll it and hang it inside of our hall closet.)
Step 3: All-in-One Projector Setup
What you need:
(Cost: ?? The cost of these items depends greatly on the quality that you expect and what you already have lying around.)
Zip tie all the components into the milk crate connected to each other and plugged into the power strip. The cord for the power strip should hand out of the milk crate so it can be connected to an extension cord.
Step 4: Theater Nights
Last minute movie nights are no problem now. Just hang the screen, pull the projector setup out, and plug it in. You could be watching a movie with backyard ambiance and cool night air before the popcorn is done popping.