Bamboo Awning Ideas

Bamboo, long used for building in many Asian countries, has recently acquired a growing reputation as a green building material. Its natural strength and beauty, coupled with its rapid growth to harvest-ready size make this grass a common choice for eco-friendly builders. If you want to give your patio or family room a distinctly tropical or Asian flair, a bamboo awning may be the perfect finishing touch.

A Simple Bamboo Awning

One of the easiest ways to create a bamboo awning for indoor use is with a ready-made matchstick bamboo shade, a closet rod or curtain pole and a pair of shelf and closet rod support brackets.

Mount the pole support brackets about ten inches below the top of the window on either side of the frame. Hang the bamboo shade or blind above the window frame. Put the pole into the support brackets. Pull the bamboo shade out and drape it over the closet pole, then bring it back under and around the pole. Tack or sew the shade around the pole and then trim the bottom of the shade to allow a two to three inch overhang. Bind the bottom edge to keep the blind stitching from unraveling.

Attach Bamboo Blinds to Outdoor Awning Frames

Bamboo patio blinds are lightweight and available in very wide sizes. Extend the usefulness of your patio awning by attaching bamboo patio blinds to the frame. Because they're light, there's little chance that they'll damage or bend the frame. If you choose matchstick blinds or blinds with thin wood slats, consider attaching the blind to the house and unroll the blind along the frame to create a bamboo awning that screens the sun and provides privacy while maintaining the natural appeal.

Retractable Bamboo Awning

Create a natural retractable awning for your patio from bamboo poles and a length of linen or cotton canvas. All you need is two 3-inch-diameter bamboo poles and four 1/2 diameter poles, the desired length of canvas, a couple dozen 1-inch-diameter brass rings and a wall to serve as support for one end of your awning. The two thick bamboo poles will be the support for the other end of the canvas awning, and the four thinner bamboo poles form a framework that can mount between the wall and the poles. Sew brass rings evenly along both sides of the canvas and slide the rings onto the two side rails of the canopy frame so that it folds into neat Roman-shade style pleats when the awning is pushed back to the house. Try to use Tonkin cane bamboo, which is straighter and smoother than most other bamboo, for the side rails. The final effect—a breezy pergola that is the perfect fit for a patio or backyard with an Asian or beach-inspired aesthetic.

About the Author

Deb Powers is an avid urban gardener who works with a community collective to promote sustainable urban agriculture and build partnerships between local business owners and community organizations. Powers serves as a social media and marketing consultant for local non-profits and businesses, and is collaborating with a coffee roaster to publish a cookbook highlighting coffee as a culinary ingredient.