Building a Metal Shade Cloth Structure
Not long ago we talked about shade cloth and its benefits to bonsai. Because of our toasty summers here in Oregon, USA, we decided to put up shade cloth for part of the yard—the area of the yard devoted to some tender deciduous and sun-sensitive native Northwest conifers, like Englemann spruce and Mountain Hemlock.
After considering several ideas, we settled on a metal structure. It’s quite a bit more expensive than a wooden one, but the minimal and simple aesthetics were appealing, and that seemed to offset the cost. It also helps (a lot) to have an apprentice who has logged some hours welding…
There are many simpler things one could probably do, but just in case you want more hassle and expense, we offer this option:
So many things start as long straight sticks…
Matt Reel barely needs a ladder to reach the top of this 10′ riser.
Matt’s long arms were also very useful when we over-filled one of the holes and had to remove some gravel.
Long straight sticks in need of shortening.
Our ringer, Bobby Curttright, doing the welding of the top bracing.
The day we put all 8 posts in the ground with concrete.
How we attached the cable in the corners.
All that expense for such a minor amount of shade…this is 30%. Less than that would have been ok, a touch more would have also been ok, but it was the best compromise between the trees that need a little bit and the those that wanted a bit more. 50% shade cloth and more are mostly for understory plants that actually prefer shade, or for climates with very severe summers. 30% will take the edge off in strong sun. The pines and junipers, in our relatively mild climate, are on nearby benches but not under the shade cloth.
The full structure with shade cloth attached. It needs a few 45’s in the corners, but otherwise it’s complete. The grommeted shade cloth was simply ziptied in place. We’ll need to take it off for winter to avoid the random snowstorm.