How to Build Shade Structures


Exposure to full sun results in excessive air, leaf and soil heat. Not all plants can tolerate this excessive heat and will die off in the middle of summer. Placing these plants under a shade structure will reduce plant heat and water loss. Shade structures also reduce leaf and fruit sunburn.

Step 1

Stand the three 8-foot wooden poles up so they are leaning together in a teepee shape. Keep all three pole bases on the ground and the tops even with each other.

Step 2

Wrap heavy duty wire around the top four to six times. Loop the wire under the poles as well as around the top. Twist the ends together to secure the wire.

Step 3

Spread the legs out the rest of the way so they are set firmly on the ground. Move the shade structure over the plants you are shading.

Step 4

Staple screen mesh material to two sides of the pyramid with a staple gun. Keep the material tight. The use of screen material blocks out part of the sunlight, but will allow the wind to blow through so the structure is not blown over.

Step 5

Trim off the excess screening material with a sharp knife so the edges are neat looking.

Tips and Warnings

  • Anchor your shade structures well if they catch the wind without letting it pass through. Shade structures will blow over if the materials used are too light or if the shading material billows out like a kite.

Things You'll Need

  • 3 wooden poles, 8 foot long
  • Heavy duty wire
  • Pliers
  • Staple gun
  • Staples
  • Screen mesh material
  • Sharp knife


  • University of Connecticut: Retractable Roof Greenhouses & Shadehouses
  • Purdue University Horticulture & Landscape Architecture---Cultivating Ramps: Wild Leeks of Appalachia
  • Washington State University Extension: Shade Structures for Ginseng
Keywords: shade structures, building shade, shading plants

About this Author

Karen Carter has spent the last three years working as a technology specialist in the public school system. This position included hardware/software installation, customer support, and writing training manuals. She also spent four years as a newspaper editor/reporter at the Willapa Harbor Herald.