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Shady Places; Pergola Update; Anything Pretty

01 July 2010

Hey I'm Jenny from Anything Pretty, I am so excited to be over on here today and am so excited to share you all my cheap and quick way to get some shade in an outdoor space.

Our deck was hot and sunny….a combination that did not bode well for spending time out there.  Especially because I am not a fan of sweating.  We had a rickety pergola that the previous owners had installed but the slats were so far apart that it did not do much in terms of providing shade.  Oh yeah we also installed lights when we moved in for some ambiance.  I still love the light set, but our installation method…..well let’s just say it was straight and rigid.  Not exactly evoking feelings of summer casual fun.  Behold the before-
Before/After sailcloth project
Before/After sailcloth project
But how could we get some shade without adding a roof or another layer the the questionably stable pergola?  Ultimately we would like to have plants climb it and provide shade, but that will take years.  And patience is not one of my virtues.
And then when I was admiring the famous drop cloth curtains I had an idea.  Why couldn’t we use cheap paint tarps as the canvas to cover the pergola with?  Brilliant!
So I head to the nearest home improvement store and bought two 4x15 drop cloths.
IMG_1175 I worried that if I left them this size that rain and wind could have negative consequences.  So I sliced them in two and did a quick seam in heavy duty thread.  No measuring or preciseness…..I cut where they were folded.  I am not fast on the sewing machine and got four done in in 35 minutes.
Then I added two grommets on each end to attach to the pergola.  Again this step did not take very long at all.
With the husbands help, we took down the lights and wove the four strips of drop cloth into the pergola all the way across.  They were attached with screws through the grommets that can easily be taken down in the winter.   An “above” pic from the window.
Before/After sailcloth project
Again no measuring was involved….we just eyeballed the spacing.  Then we added the lights back in a more casual way to get this- Before/After sailcloth project

Before/After sailcloth project

And at night…

The table is now shady and we can pretend we are in a fun restaurant when we are just eating in our own backyard.  It would have been easy to add another two strips to bring the shade to the end of the pergola…..but you see that green tarp?

Before/After sailcloth project

That would be the BBQ and I do not think flame and canvas are a good mix even in the name of style.
The entire project cost less than $50 and a 2 hours of time.  Will it fade…..yes but I do not care as a lighter color will still work.  Will it last 20 years….no but it was cheap and easily replaceable.

Well worth it for some shade and ambience in my opinion.  And even if you do not have a pergola in your backyard, drop cloths could still be used on other structures or even between a couple of poles.  Who knew that they could be so multi-functional?


alissa July 1, 2010 at 7:37 AM  

Great idea Jenny! I love how it turned out. It definitely looks like an outdoor area at a nice restaurant. Perfect!

Jennae July 1, 2010 at 7:45 AM  

Such a simple, inexpensive change, but it's beautiful -- especially all lit up at night.

michelleml July 1, 2010 at 8:51 AM  

I wanted to do something like this with out costing an arm and a leg this is perfect thanks so much for the idea

Michele {The Scrap Shoppe} July 1, 2010 at 9:17 AM  

This looks fabulous! The drop cloth looks amazing. Such a fun place to have a party!

Carol July 1, 2010 at 11:47 AM  

This is brilliant! My kind of project: fast, cheap, casual, and cute.

P.S. That dog is ADORABLE!

Mr Remodelaholic July 1, 2010 at 2:13 PM  

Very nice! I love how it looks at night with the lighting. It really makes a difference to have the canvas and light together to provide the mode.

beachhouse etc. July 1, 2010 at 4:29 PM  

i love this idea and i love that it's cheap and not difficult i dont have much patience so this looks pretty painless lol have a great 4th of july suzanne

Prior July 1, 2010 at 5:22 PM  

Cutting them was a super clever idea. Great looking with the large lights... I mas use this idea... Lezlee

Stephanie July 1, 2010 at 9:51 PM  

I'd love to add this same sort of atmosphere to our deck - it's so lovely and such a great idea. Thanks so much for the inspiration!

Ashley July 2, 2010 at 9:37 AM  

What a great idea with the drop clothes. Looks like a little European bistro! We built a pergola last year too, but is used more as an walk-through space in our yard.

Ann @ makethebestofthings July 2, 2010 at 4:07 PM  

This is a wonderful solution, a lot of impact for not alottabucks! Love the lights and canvas in the evening, so very very cool! This gets 5 stars all the way. I'm looking at my deck now with a speculative eye....

Cynthia July 6, 2010 at 12:29 AM  

Love it! I have a very stable pergola but it needs some quality shade. I will DEFINITELY be stealing this idea. I might even add some fabric paint stencils to the canvas for added UMPH!

Bette July 6, 2010 at 6:26 AM  

Great idea. I might have to steal this idea since we are putting in a pergola this week and not adding any "roofing" to it.

Tisha July 6, 2010 at 11:18 AM  

PLEASE tell me where you got your lights!! I've been looking for lights like that everywhere!!

godsgirlsu August 16, 2010 at 12:55 PM  

how big is the pergola we are seeing? I would love to do this with a 10 by 10 pergola so how many drop cloths to purchase then? Thanks

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