Shade: Sail and Screen

January 12, 2007, 4:53 pm betterhomesgardens

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Create a shady haven in your backyard with a sail structure and a privacy screen.


Check with your local council first whether you need approval to build a shade structure. The sail comes in kit form. Order poles separately or use treated pine poles.

You'll need:

For shade structure

Part Size
Long pre-painted steel poles 3.8m
Short pre-painted steel poles 2.7m
Hyperbolic knitted sail & fitting kit 4.5m x 4.5m
(Sarlon Entertainer Shade Kit 1800 644 404)

Concrete (about 4 bags per hole) 16 bags

For privacy screen

Item Part Size
A Posts (4) 90 x 90 x 3000mm
B Rails (2 per panel) 70 x 35 x 1745mm
C Uprights (3 per panel) 70 x 35 x 1730mm
D Slats (17 per panel) 90 x 19 x 1745mm

E Concrete 8-12 bags

Extras: nails and suitable screws

Tools
Claw hammer (570g)
Smoothing plane (no. 4)
Marking gauge
Combination square
Steel tape (3 metres)
Bevelled-edge firmer chisels (10mm, 18mm, 32mm)
Cross-cut saw (650mm long)
Tenon saw (300mm long)
Nail punch (3mm)
Set of twist drills
Set of screwdrivers (slotted, pozi, Phillips)
Oil stone
Sanding cork
Variable-speed power drill
Jigsaw

Spirit level

Here's how to make the shade structure:

  1. First make sure you have the right place to put it. The site should be flat or nearly so and be away from pipes and wires. Don't install a shade above a barbecue - smoke and sparks may damage it. To erect a sail structure on a sloping site, you'll need to vary the pole lengths.
  2. The Entertainer sail size is 4.5m square. Study the path of the sun and decide on the best position for the structure and which two diagonally opposite poles will be the highest.
  3. Set out the position of the pole holes. For a 4.5m structure, the hole spacing is 4850mm, with the eye fixings about 500mm away from the sail corners. Now, dig your holes! Embed the long poles 800mm into the ground and the short poles 700mm into the ground, with each hole measuring 400mm x 400mm. (If the site is sloping, you'll need longer poles and to increase the embedment depth correspondingly.)
  4. Poles are factory pre-drilled for fixings and pre-finished. Fix the top eye fitting to each post, winding lock nuts on until the bolt just appears through the nut. Add bottom bolts to locate the post firmly in the concrete so it can't twist.
  5. Set each post in place and fill holes with a fairly dry concrete mix. Make sure they are vertical, with the eye bolts facing the post diagonally opposite. Nearly fill the holes with concrete, then lift each post to make sure their undersides are covered with concrete. For shorter posts, move the top of the post 150mm out from true vertical to take the strain of the shadecloth; move long poles out 225mm. Tamp concrete firmly. Let set. The dry mix should hold posts in place, otherwise brace them. Let the concrete cure for 24 to 48 hours.
  6. Connect the fixed hook section of the strap to each eye bolt.
  7. Spread the sail on the ground, its label facing down. Lift the corners to the strap and then, moving round the structure, tension the sail evenly to remove all creases. Feed the loose strap ends through the hook ends and secure.
  8. During periods of high wind, remove the sail by slackening the straps and unhooking the sail. Re-tension as necessary over time.
Here's how to make the privacy screen:

  1. Set out the screen on the ground. Our posts (A) are centred at 1835mm for a 1745mm clear spacing. Embed posts 600mm and set in concrete with a small amount of concrete under the posts, the same way you did for the steel posts for the shade sail. Make sure they are plumb. We also anchored them to the timber platform's sides.
  2. When the concrete has set, measure the space between the posts. Cut rails (B) and uprights (C) to suit.
  3. Lay out the rails and two uprights on the ground and nail together. Add the middle upright, then check the frame is square by measuring the diagonals.
  4. Cut and nail the slats to the frame, leaving a 16mm space between the slats. We used an offcut of timber trim as a spacer. Start at the top so you can leave a slight gap at the bottom where it won't be noticeable.
  5. Mark the position of the top of the panels on the posts using a level to make sure they are the same. Insert the panels and screw in position. Cut off the top of the posts as necessary. Finish as required.
Source: Better Homes and Gardens

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