Sunday, June 12, 2016

Pergola canopy!

We've been wanting a permanent solution for a sun screen on our pergola for years now. In the meantime, we've made due with some cotton fabric, weaving it thru the boards, but it always comes undone in the wind and it's not flexible in terms of moving it as the sun moves, much less easy to put up or take down. I wanted a system that was all 3 - adjustable, easy to set up, easy to take down.

I'd scoured Pinterest for ages, never finding quite what I wanted. Most were permanent installations, which doesn't work when you can have storms with 70mph gusts as a routine part of your spring/summer (much less tornadoes). So I decided to make one myself based on my own designs. 

I went and bought a ton of fabric in a color and pattern we all (including the kids) agreed upon. Two 3 yard stretches that I then sewed together so that the pattern matched up.
It's a lot of fabric and I don't have a designated crafting area in the house. I use my dining room for sewing. But it turned out pretty good, I think. At one end, for about a foot or two the pattern gets a little bit off. But it's one of those things I think only I'd notice.

So then I went out and bought the supplies I thought we'd need. Basically my thinking was we'd put the screw eye in on each side, create a loop on each end of the cable using the ferrule and stop, then attaching the cable to the eye with carabiners.  
Originally I'd planned to just attach the fabric using ring clip hooks. Those, however, proved too flimsy to hold up to the wind - the fabric was bunching up and pulling out. And it didn't let us pull the fabric taut at all. Additionally, once the fabric was attached to the cable, we ended up with a large sag on the cable length due to the weight. So the fabric came down for the night and we planned Version 2. It had been a long day of 90ยบ heat and we were all hot, hungry and tired.

The next morning I sewed in two 2" pockets to run the cable thru. We also had ended up purchasing two turnbuckles to better control the tautness of the cable. The end result?
Not bad. Not bad at all. A view much improved.
Here's a closeup view of how it's connected. You can see the setup on one end with the screw eye, turnbuckle, carabiner and cable. 
And the carabiner attached to the cable and eye on the other. This allows a flexibility to remove the canopy within seconds should the weather require it.
I'm really quite pleased with how it turned out. Yesterday was a pretty breezy day, but the fabric stayed put all day long, just gently blowing in the wind. 

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