How to Make an Outdoor Sun Blocker Shade Blind

If you enjoy spending time outdoors in the summer, but are concerned about the dangerous effects of the sun's ultraviolet radiation, you will want to stay in the shade.

You can build your own sun blocking shade.You can build your own sun blocking shade.
Even if you don't have shade trees growing over your backyard patio or barbecue area, you can create your own sun-protection zone by building an outdoor shade. No highly specialized tools or equipment are required, and you can finish the project in an afternoon.

Measure an area for your sun-blocking shade adjacent to a wall of your house. The area should be 10 feet wide and extend 9 feet from the wall.

Dig two holes at the outside corners of your shade area, using a post-hole digger or spade. Each hole should be 12 inches deep. Place one 4-inch-diameter pole in each hole. Fill the hole with some of the soil you excavated. Tamp the soil firmly around the base of each pole.

Staple one edge of your shade fabric to one of your 10-foot boards. This will become your crosspiece between the poles. Roll the fabric around the board three times. The other end will be hanging free.

Place one end of the board with the fabric attached on top of one of the poles. Stand on a stepladder to reach the pole-top. Pre-drill a small hole in the board with your 3/32" drill bit. Screw the board to the pole-top with a No. 10 steel screw, using a screwdriver or a driver bit in the drill. Balance the loose end on the other pole-top, or ask a friend to steady the board while you work. Repeat the procedure to screw the other end of the board to the second pole.

Position your second board (crosspiece) horizontally against the wall of the house, about 7 feet above the ground. Use a spirit level to level the crosspiece. Mark six evenly-spaced drilling points on the wall along the length of the crosspiece.

Drill into the wall at the marked drilling points, using a 7/16" drill bit. Gently tap the 1/2-inch wall plugs into the holes with a hammer.

Staple the opposite edge of your shade fabric to the second crosspiece board. Wrap the fabric around it until it is taut when the crosspiece is held against the wall.

Mark the locations of the wall anchors onto your second fabric-covered crosspiece board. Pre-drill each hole with your 7/16-inch drill bit.

Screw the second crosspiece (screwing through the wrapped fabric) into the installed wall plugs. Use the screws that came with your 1/2-inch wall plugs to attach the crosspiece to the wall.

Cut two 16-foot lengths of steel wire with a pair of wire cutters. Staple the midpoint of each wire to the top of one of the wooden poles. Let the wire hang down to the ground.

Twist each of the loose wire ends around a 16-inch steel peg, then wrap each wire end around the eyelet of its peg at least three times. Secure the wire in place by looping it around itself to make a knot.

Drive each peg into the ground with a hammer, about 4 feet from the base of its pole, so that each pole is pulled away from the house. This will tighten the shade fabric and prevent water accumulation.

Things You Will Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Post-hole digger or spade
  • Two 4-inch diameter poles, 7 feet tall
  • 10 square feet of shade fabric
  • Two wooden boards, 1 inch by 2 inches by 10 feet long
  • Staple gun
  • Staples
  • Stepladder
  • Drill
  • No. 10 steel screws, 1 1/2 inches long
  • 3/32-inch drill bit
  • Screwdriver or screw bit for drill
  • Spirit level
  • Pencil
  • 6 wall plugs with screws, 1/2 inch
  • 7/16-inch drill bit
  • Hammer
  • Steel wire
  • Wire cutters
  • 4 steel pegs, 16 inches each


  • Always exercise caution when using a stepladder. Do not stand on the top step of a stepladder, and check that the stepladder is fully open and on level ground before stepping onto the ladder.

About the Author

Fred Samsa has been writing articles related to the arts, entertainment and home improvement since 2003. His work has appeared in numerous museum publications, including program content for the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and he was awarded a Presidential Fellowship in 2005. He holds a Master of Arts in art from Temple University and a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy from Brown University.