How To Build a Double Shade Structure

Difficulty: Very Complex  |  Estimated time: 6 hours  |  Help needed: 12 volunteers

Shade is a very important topic for many communities when it comes to their children. The structure not only provides a bit of relief from the sun but also adds to the aesthetic quality of the overall playspace. The more inviting a gathering area is, the more likely community members will begin to treat it like the “town square” it should be.

Download Instructions

Materials and tools

Quantity: Materials:
2 4x4x12' boards
6 4x4x10' boards
16 2x6x8' boards
48 2x2x8' boards
4 pieces of 4'x8' lattice
16 ½"x8" galvanized carriage bolts
16 ½" galvanized nuts
16 ½" galvanized washers
5lbs 2 ½" deck screws
16 H2.5A rafter ties
8 LS30-R skewable angle braces
2lbs 1 ½" Simpson N8 nails
2lbs 2 ½" 8d galvanized nails
9 80lb bags concrete
Tools needed:
Miter Saw
Pencil
Tape measure
Safety glasses
Carpenter's square
Drill
Screwdriver bit
½" long drill bit
Ladder
Hammer
Level
¾" socket with ratchet or ¾" open-ended wrench
Sandpaper

Preparation instructions

  1. Sort all materials into piles by like items to ensure you have materials needed to complete project.

  2. Take the [2] 4x4x12' boards. Cut each into [4] 4x4x36" pieces, for a total of [8] 4x4x36" pieces.

  3. Set aside the rest of the lumber - it will NOT be cut.

  4. Angled Cuts:

    • Take the 4x4x36" pieces cut in step 2. Cut off 45° on both sides to create a 4x4x36" trapezoid. Repeat for the rest of the 4x4x36" pieces.

Build instructions

  1. Before building, inventory and sort all of your materials.

    Quantity: Inventory:
    6 4x4x10' boards
    8 4x4x36" trapezoids
    16 2x6x8' boards
    48 2x2x8' boards
    4 4'x8' lattice sheets
  2. First, the 4x4x10s must be set in the ground as posts. Each post will be buried 2' in the ground with concrete. The footprint of the shade structure is 14' long by 6 ½" wide. Holes need to be 24" deep with an 8" diameter.

  3. Your posts need to be level, both side to side and front to back. They also need to be in a straight line with proper alignment. A string-line can be helpful for this.

  4. Let the concrete set for several hours before completing the shade structure.

  5. Once the concrete has set, take [8] 2x6x8' boards and lay them on the ground. The 2x6x8' boards will meet in the middle of the center post and run parallel with the long side of the structure stretching roughly 10" past the outside posts. The 2x6x8' boards will run on BOTH sides of the 4x4 posts.

  6. Using two ladders, raise the headers to the tops of the 4x4 posts and level them (keep in mind the tops of the posts might not be exactly the same height; this is not necessary). Attach the headers to the posts temporarily with 2 ½" screws.

  7. Using the long ½" drill bit, drill [1] hole through both 2x6x8 headers and the 4x4 post in order to fit the 8" carriage bolt through this hole. On the center posts, each set of headers will get a bolt (2 bolts per center post).

  8. Place a carriage bolt through each drilled hole (there should be a total of 8 holes - 1 through each corner post and 2 though both center posts). Put the carriage bolt through the hole so that the head of the bolt is facing outward and the washer and nut are on the inside of the structure.

  9. Attach the 4x4x36" trapezoid braces. Make sure the 45° angle sits flush with the 4x4 post but also passes through the 2x6x8 headers. Attach the lower end of the 4x4 trapezoid brace to the 4x4 post using the angled brackets and the 1 ½" Simpson nails.

  10. On the higher end of the trapezoid brace, use the ½" long drill bit to drill a hole through both 2x6x8 headers and the 4x4x36" trapezoid brace. Place a 8" carriage bolt through this hole and attach using a washer and nut, again making sure the head is on the outside of the structure and the washer and nut are on the inside.

  11. Layout the remaining [8] 2x6x8 rafters above the headers. The rafters should overhang the outside headers by about 5 ¾" on each side. The rafters should be roughly 2'6" apart. The end rafters should be approximately flush with the end of the headers. There are 2 rafters, side by side, in the center (to cover the seams where the 2x2s will meet).


  12. Use the rafter ties to attach the rafters to the headers. Make sure that 2 rafter ties are used per rafter (one on each end). Use the 1 ½" Simpson nails to fasten the rafters to the headers.

  13. Next attach the 2x2x8s on top of the rafters using the 8d nails. They should be evenly spaced about 2 ⅝" apart. The 2x2x8s should meet in the middle of the shade structure where the [2] 2x6x8 rafters were placed side by side.


  14. Lastly, use the 8d nails to attach the four sheets of 4'x8' lattice onto the 2x2x8s. Orient the sheets of lattice as shown.