Backyard Awnings – Porch Coverings

Do you wish you could spend more time on your back porch after a long day at work but it is way too hot because of the direct sunlight? I’m sure you’ve seen many commercials for retractable awnings that are too costly and don’t really match your backyard theme. I’m going to show you an easy and pretty inexpensive way to make you own backyard awning and it will look great too. I will provide a list of materials below.  “As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.”

Determine what size and how tall you want your awning.

First you need to determine how big you want your awning. With this backyard awning, size only matters because of the covering you will need. I used a covering I found here on After you choose your awning size you will need a way to hang it. I have provided this link here for a quadrilateral hardware set so it’s easier for you to find these related pieces together.

For my backyard, two sections of my house surround the back porch on either side. My backyard faces south and here in Colorado the sun hits it all the time. With so much heat from the sun it is hard to watch the kids play in the backyard.

Pick out your materials

You’ll want to go to your local hardware store such as Lowes or Home Depot. I chose this style of barrel often called a whiskey barrel. Some have rounded side like a whiskey barrel cut in half. Others, like mine, have a straight side.

I first searched online to find the barrels I wanted. Once I found what I liked I went to the store to get them. I was very disappointed because the rings around the barrels were rusted and I didn’t even want to touch them. The barrel shown in my picture was not my first choice but I like them and am glad I chose them.

Now, you have two barrels. You’ll need two 4×4 posts, often used for fences and two or three bags of cement. I chose to get a cardboard tube found by the cement. These tubes are basically a round tube that come in 8, 10 or 12 inch diameter.

You will also need a couple bags of your favorite planting soil

And last but not least for favorite flowers or plants to put around the post.

Mix the Concrete to hold posts up.

I wasn’t sure how much concrete I would need when I started this. Your needs may be the same depending on the size of planter/Whiskey Barrel you use. I got three 80 lbs. bags of concrete and used about 1 1/2 bags per barrel.

Place the posts inside the barrels. I cut the cement cardboard tubes to be 4 inches below the top of the barrel and then placed the post inside the tube. I would recommend getting a couple of Post in Barrelboards for each barrel. You will attach these boards near the top of the post and let the bottom of the board hit the ground close to a 45 degree angle. The boards will hold the post level as you pour the cement.  I wish I had taken pictures of this but I didn’t think about it at the time.  I did get a picture of the cement tube.

Mix the cement and pour around the board. I filled my barrels about 4″ high and around the outside of the cardboard tube. I then filled the tube with cement. This allows for a more sturdy post because you have more cement going up the post rather than just four inches at the bottom.

THIS IS IMPORTANT – Let your cement cure for a short time. Before it is hard use a trowel or large nail and create a channel in the cement leading from the post to the barrel. As you move away from the post make the channel deeper, so the deepest part is at the side of the barrel. Drill a hole through the barrel at an approximate 45 degree angle as close to where your cement channel meets the barrel. This will allow excess water to drain from the barrel and not float you plants.

You might say, I never water my plants that much to fill the barrel. I didn’t think of the above tip but was told by someone else who experienced this firsthand. Many people won’t think about torrential down pouring of rain when making this beautiful backyard awning but the rain will fill the barrel so it needs somewhere to go.

Attach your awning

So now you’ve got these two weird looking posts sticking out of barrels. Now we need to attach the awning. I got these and these to attach my awning. They work really well and protect the awning from ripping. My awning attached to my house and to the two poles. Look at the photo provided for an example of you to attach the hardware.

Place your potting soil and flowers

After your cement has cured fill the remaining barrel with potting soil. Then plant your flowers. My wife decided to put this winding plant thing that wraps around the post. I didn’t know what she was thinking but I really like it and that’s why I leave decorating to her!

Materials list


You’ve created a beautiful backyard space that will block some intense summer sun. Depending on what awning you chose will determine how much shade it creates. There is not an awning out there that I know of that will block the sun for the entire day as the sun moves across the sky. This project is simple and inexpensive compared to retractable awnings. It will take half a day to complete as it takes awhile for the concrete to set up.

For further questions or comments please feel free to reach out to me. I am happy to help you with this or any other project you have. Now go enjoy that backyard!

“As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.”







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11 Replies to “Backyard Awnings – Porch Coverings”

  1. Jeffrey,
    Love your article on backyard awnings. You have described a super easy to follow step by step guide. Honestly I had no idea it would be this easy!
    I live in Missouri and we have a double deck with a walkout in the basement on the lower level and another one off the kitchen on the next level up. I’d like to put a covering or awning over the top level of the deck but would hesitate to have that kind of weight on the upper deck. Any suggestions?
    I do have a good friend who I was talking to last weekend about this very subject. He wants to put an awning over his back deck/porch area and this would be perfect. I just emailed him the link to your article.
    Thank you,

    • Hello and thank you for looking.   The weight of the concrete per barrel is only around 120 lbs, less than adult.   If you had one on each side of the deck near a post I would imagine it would hold the weight because it would be like a peron standing there.  

      Not sure without seeing it but I totally understand the worry.

      Thank you for sharing the link to your friend too. 

  2. Your awning looks great and I like the climbing plant that your wife chose. We’re about to do something similar with our patio, since it is basically unusable during the hotter months. Awnings are nice to keep sun off the windows, too, so hopefully it reduces heat indoors. Did you find that yours helped with that?

    • Hello,  yes and it helps block the light coming in when watching tv…lol.  it’s helped a lot.  Awning is easy to remove for winter if you choose and cheap enough to replace seasonally. 

  3. Awesome post. Definitely a low cost method to provide shade to an outdoor sitting area. The whiskey barrel idea is very innovative and I will try this with my rain chains, as downpipes are boring and can become an eyesore. Can you please give me some ideas on what plants are good for a barrel with rain chains?

    • Hello, we love to use seasonal flowers, or ones that don’t come back every year. My wife likes parenting the flowers so this gives her an opportunity to change it up. You can use you favorite flower type.

  4. This is a great tutorial on how to put in a DIY backyard awning. I particularly liked what you said about making sure to use 4×4 posts in concrete for holding up the awning. I wish we could do this in our backyard, but we won’t be able to put in posts like that since there isn’t really a spot for them. I guess we’ll have to try a more traditional awning, or maybe a retractable one! I’ll have to do some more looking around.

  5. Jeff

    This looks like a fun project with a great result. Seems like a better option than digging holes to support the posts. I am concerned that some strong winds may cause the barrels to move/sway. Have you found this to occur with your planters and posts?


    • Yes this was a very fun project. I was actually surprised to find that the posts do not move with the weight of the concrete in them. The sun shade has actually ripped and come off from heavy winds. I’ve learned to simply un-clip the sun shade from the posts if expecting high winds.
      I agree, I did not want to dig holes in the grass or drill mounts into the concrete. This way is it always removable and the added flowers make it very appealing.

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