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.”
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 Amazon.com. 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 boards 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!
- 2 – Potting/Whiskey Barrels $39.98 ea. at time of writing this
- 3 – Bags of cement $4.70 ea.
- 2 – Bags of potting soil $9.97 ea.
- 1 – 8 x 48 inch cardboard cement tube $8.35
- 1 – Sun Shade Awning $39.99 May vary depending on size. This is 12′ x 16′
- 1 –Package of quadrilateral hardware set $10.99
- 1 – Package of Easy Gardener Sun Shade Snaps $4.48
- Your Favorite Flowers
Total Price…Approximately $177.83 + tax and flowers
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!