DIY – Sun Shade – Sail Patio Awning

DIY – Sun Shade – Sail Patio Awning

DIY – Sun Shade – Sail Patio Awning

I decided to replace my visually and structurally heavy, dark patio cover with something more modern looking. The original patio cover was built around the same time as the ranch-style home, mid 1960’s. The fiberglass panels were replaced once during this time frame but are now brittle and unsightly. I needed the patio to feel light and airy, so this is the solution I came up with.

You CAN do this yourself with minimal tools and knowhow! I started this project by disassembling the old structure completely. As a side note, I counted the growth rings on the end of one of the removed 2×6’s. This lumber was cut from a tree that was over 160 years old in 1960! That places the sapling around the year 1800, before Lewis/Clark’s Corp of Discovery came through western Montana in 1805! If this 2×6 could only speak!

I used treated wood throughout to help keep maintenance low. I treated all cut ends with wood preservative. The 4×4 uprights are set on risers bolted to the concrete pad to help keep moisture off the bottoms. I trimmed two sides of each 4×4 with 2×6’s for visual appeal. The 2×6’s are set 1/4 inch above the pad so they will not wick water. Remember, these upright 2×6’s are for aesthetics only and do not add to the structure to the project.

I used three 4×4’s and ten 2×6’s on this project. It doesn’t take a lot of structure to hold up sun sails! Speaking of sails, I purchased seven Coolaroo awning shade sails from Costco but only used five. The remaining two are for backup in case problems arise in the future. They are 13’ triangles but will stretch some. Incorporate material stretch in your design. I used stainless steel hardware and stainless steel chain to take up the slack when it happens. All other hardware such as lag bolts and eyelets are galvanized.

We live in Montana so I will remove the awning sails for winter. The sails will let water through but snow and ice will weight them down and will destroy them. It will be a simple task to unsnap the fasteners at the seven mounting points. This will allow the five awning sails to stay attached to each other making folding and storing the sails a breeze.

Our winter sun is limited but it will be a welcomed commodity through our previously dark kitchen window and dining room sliding glass door. We can even see the surrounding mountains from inside our home now that the patio cover has been redesigned. Let the “Big Sky” of Montana shine in!

My goal was to replace the heavy, dark patio cover with something that was light and airy. I feel I accomplished this goal. Best of all, material costs were under $700! Wife happy!

Costco for 13′ Coolaroo Awning Shade Sails, Pebble Color
Lowes Home Center for lumber, fasteners and stainless steel chain
E-rigging for stainless steel connectors and galvanized eyelets
My lovely wife for funding this project

Aerial shots captured with a GoPro Hero 3 Black on a DJI Phantom 1 quad copter (drone). Ground shots captured with a Samsung Galaxy S5 smartphone. Video edited with Microsoft Movie Maker.

Music is “Marty Gots a Plan” Kevin MacLeod (
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
Direct Link:
ISRC: USUAN1500015
© 2015 Kevin MacLeod



Brian Runk says:

This looks great. Do you have actual plans written up you can email me? I am thinking of doing something similar.

cherise briscoe says:

thumbs up. 👍 to a beautiful awning. thumbs down to showing us how u did it.👎 showing pics is nice, but seeing to do it is now some of us learn from others.

Blake Hussey says:

Very well executed, music is kinda goofy. Overall great video 🙂

Rusty says:

That was the most useless and boring 2.5 min.

iakopof79 79 says:

Really great job! iam not a sail type person but thks for vid'!

Ahmad says:

Great Job man. Where did you order the sails and the supporting hardware?Thanks,

Drone Girl says:

Wow just love that patio! 🙂 Well done! 🙂 Thumbs up from me! 🙂

Bradley Horn says:

Looks great. Just curious what the measurement is to the top of highest point?

AuggieDogProduction says:

Really like the finished look of it as well as function. Am curious about how much 'flapping' sound it might generate in a steady breeze. Looks like there is enough space between them to keep it from becoming a real 'sail'. Nice job.

Saw Dust Maker says:

I like how it turned out.  Nice job!!

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