Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Backyard Sun Shade Pergola

Building a sun shade pergola in our back yard for my wife

Difficulty Level (Easy, Medium, Hard, Insane):

My wife has always wanted some sort of a sun shade area in our back yard so she can watch the kids play and since our girl is still a bit too little to stay on our property without constant supervision, watching her from the deck just wasn't so practical.

I had been planning this for quite some time now, composed a sketch, got Mel's stamp of approval and then put together the lumber order.

This long weekend was a long-awaited (and I must say well-deserved) get-away trip for my wife and her sister. They were gone from Thursday afternoon until Monday evening all by themselves, no kids and I thought this would be the best time to surprise her with a fully finished shade area now that the weather is finally getting a bit nicer.

After they left I called the home depot to deliver my lumber just to find out that they couldn't do it until after the weekend so I had to improvise by packing up the 3 kiddos and lugging the lumber home in a few trips in the back of the van. NOT exactly what I had envisioned but once I got a project in the "GO" stage there's no stopping.

Thursday: After the first load of lumber was at my house and the girls were in bed I built a rigid frame and got my son to help me use a laser level (once it got a bit darker) to mark the 4 corners of the pergola perfectly level.

I dug out some 16"x12" pits, 8" deep and filled them up with 4" of gravel topped by 4" of concrete to the perfect height the back posts needed to be. Then I dug 4 holes (by hand, with the help of my neighbor's manual post hole digger and the kids who loved playing in the dirt), two feet deep and filled them with 4" of gravel and a 4" concrete base.

Friday: The next day, After another trip to the home depot with all the kids, I had the materials to get the basic frame started. I put up the posts and the support beams that would hold the rafters onto the concrete pads that had hardened enough to support their weight.

Once that was all done, I bundled up the girls (Nate stayed with a friend at his house), and drove up to Goguen Lumber in Cocagne to pick up the lumber for the roof as well as the railing because it literally saved me about $400 bucks than buying the lumber from the home depot. I should mention though that the price comparison is not quite "fair" as the home depot lumber would have been pressure treated whereas the lumber from Cocagne was not.

Once I had all the lumber at home and all the kids fed, bathed and put to bed I continued building the roof, then packed up for the night around 9:30

Saturday: After breakfast, while the girls were sleeping I spent about an hour in the shop cutting up the 4x2's into 2x2's and dato'ed the bottom and top plates for the railing. Once that was all done and the kids were fed I took them outside with me. While they played Nate and I finished the top of the roof and prepared the railing.

Once the girls were in bed (around 6:30) I put together the railing, the support struts for the roof, cleaned everything up and called it a night, again, around 9:30.

Monday: After a wonderful day off on Sunday and a great breakfast on Monday morning I filled in the area around the posts and cut up the shade cloth that I had ordered a few years ago for another one of my projects. Once I had it all cut to proper size, I wanted to sew up the edges nice and clean just to find out that something was wrong with my sewing machine so I had to Fix My Sewing Machine first. After that was done, all I had to do was put some hooks in the corners of the pergola and hang up the shade cloth. I am very pleased with how it turned out and my wife was very surprised and very happy with it.


A sketch of what I envisioned
After I dug out the 3 patches for the rear posts
After the 8" holes were filled with 4" of gravel
Getting the kids to dig in the dirt for the front holes (they loved it)
First trip to home depot with the kids
After the vertical braces were installed for levelling
Installing the front 4x4 posts
The van loaded with lumber
After the roof rafters were installed
Getting ready for the 2x2s at the top
The kids observing
Half-way done with the 2x2s
After the 2x2s were installed
A view from the deck
Getting ready to install the railing
After the railing was almost done
All done
A view from the top bedroom
Close-up of sewing the shade cloth
After the shade cloth was hung up
Another view from the inside of the pergola

Pick ax
Wheel barrow
Angle grinder with diamond blade
Chop saw
Manual post hole digger
Table saw with regular and dato blade
Chalk line
Air nailer
Framing nailer
Extension chords
2' step ladder
6' step ladder
16' extension ladder
Measuring tape

3 - 4x4-8' pressure treated (pt)
4 - 4x4-10 pt
2 - 2x8-24' pt2 bags of portland cement
2 wheel barrows of gravel
1 wheel barrow of sand
13 - 2x6-12'
20 - 2x4-8'
35 - 1x6 fence boards
10 - 2x4-10' pt
4 - 2x4-8' pt
2 - 4x8 sheets of "privacy plus" lattice
Galvanized 3-1/4" nails
3" Screws
6 - 6" lag bolts with washers
6 hooks
10'x14' shade cloth (80%)
1-1/4" staples for privacy lattice


25 hrs

Probably at least $1000 to $1500

It's really idyllic


Chris Eigenheer said...

i was shocked that you did this while I was away. I was NOT expecting it! thank you so much for giving up your time, while having the kids and making this for me. I love you and I adore how you show me how much you love me by doing things like this! you are the best hubby, the best daddy and I am so thankful I get to do life with you. i am truly amazed that you did this while i was away. thank you for giving up your time, i cant wait for the clouds to go away and the sun to shine to truly enjoy this.....now on to the next project.....cough...swing.....hahahaha

p.s i LOVE how you included the kids/family in this project. talk about amazing learning opportunity! and father/son time. nate is still talking about how he helped you!

Chris Eigenheer said...

hahaha you were signed into my blogger you nut. the above was written by mel! haha

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