I would like to enclose parts of my outdoor patio that has a very high metal canopy. Does anyone have any ideas on what type of material I can use that isn't too expensive? I live in a mobile home park and we can't have any fences or anything that is considered permanent. I'd like some type of curtain that could be drawn and then tied back.
By Lorraine from Bristol, CT
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If it was me I'd enclose it with screening first. then you could put curtain rods across and hang curtains if you wnated to. But the screening would keep the flying insects out.
I can't do anything that is of permanent construction. These are park rules that's what makes this so difficult for me.
I was thinking of putting some pvc piping painted green and attached to the uprights of the canopy (hard awning) and then buying some kind of material (not gaudy) and installing grommets and sliding it on the pvc piping but don't have the money for expensive material.
The best thing for easy care is closely spaced plastic lattice. It comes in many colors, white, dk. green, light. & dark brown. It's not cheap, but not to expensive either (an 4' x 8'' sheet is about twice the cost of wooden lattice but it's light weight & flexible (unlike wood) & you can spray it down with a hose to clean it & NO painting or upkeep & it lasts & looks like new forever! You can buy matching end-caps & lock-in brackets etc for this plastic lattice. So it's fairly easy to set up. It's sold at Home Depot. If that's not to your liking you may want to try PVC pipes & outdoor fabric & maybe screening. You can remove the lettering on the PVC with solvent. Also, if you have a surplus or a place that sells supplies from torn-down buildings you can get recycled lumber & other supplies at discount prices. Here in Seattle we have Boeing Surplus, maybe you have a similar store like this in your area.
I also live in a mobile home, but it's on my own property with a porch. I hung large plastic roll-down shades from my porch (they come in all sizes up to 10 feet). I then tied them down with cording (for the wind) & they stay up year round. It's been 4 years & they still look like brand new. I didn't buy white, but beige instead which hides the dust. They also sell woven bamboo fencing material, but this doesn't last as long or look as good as the plastic shades.
I built something like you want in my back yard too (for privacy). I decided that 3/4 inch PVC pipes would be the least expensive frame I WAS going to use a plastic outdoor fabric (This outdoor fabric looks like that webbing they use to make outdoor chairs & lounges with in the 1960's) but I decided to instead use the roll-down plastic blinds instead on the PVC frame using zip-ties. First I drew up a plan then took the drawing to home depot for someone to help me decide what fittings I needed to attach the PVC pipes together for the sturdiest frame.
I decided to split the PVC into 4 foot wide sections with a PVC t-joint adjoining a vertical post every 4 feet (like squares hooked together every 4 feet). You can paint the PVC but you have to use a special spray paint made for painting plastic. To hold the PVC squares upright (& you want to do it the easiest way) buy metal fencing posts. Not the kind for chain-link (unless you need a longer piece), but the kind made for temporary fencing at construction sites (at Home Depot). They are made to be pounded into the ground then be removed quickly & easily. They even sell a tool for $20 to bonk them into the ground, I bought one because it cost the same to rent one, then I found out I could just step on the foot pegs & it penetrated my soft ground. Just pound one into the ground evey place you need to anchor the PVC framing. Besides the PVC, a cheaper frame for the roll-down plastic blinds would be steel cattle panels.
You'll have to paint these panels or they will quickly rust! ...I also had the idea of using metal display grids (like they use for displays in stores) To find these sturdy grids, look in the yellow pages under "display". They come in many sizes & I think mine are 8 feet x 3 feet. I bought them for half off because the paint was chipped in the clearance area. If you're setting this up over pavement & not into the ground they sell stands for standing up these grids.
I built my cats enclosure out of those white pantry or closet shelves... They cost $1.08 per foot at Home depot & come in lengths up to 12 feet (which they will cut to ANY size you like) & come in a narrow width (for closets) or a wider width (for pantry's). I made my cat's enclosure with these wire shelves & zip ties attaching it to the porch with only 4 screws and 2 special brackets they sell to attach them to the wall. These wire shelves aren't as sturdy as PVC or the metal display grids, but they're cheap & if you don't go too high with them, they might work to hang the plastic roll-down blinds to.
The plastic roll-down blinds aren't sold all year long, only in the summer time. They tend to sell out quickly & also have them at Walmart. As I said, they come in many widths from about 3 feet to 12 feet. Be sure to zip-tie them down or tie them down because of the wind. You could also use lumber to frame it, but this wouldn't be as light weight. They also sell tin or plastic roofing panels in all colors. These lock together. They have clear panels with UV screen or charcoal-tinted ones & dark opaque green, etc. These need to be hooked to a frame of some kind & can't bend or they will break.
Another idea I had was to use a metal canopy frame. They had a simple modern style black queen-size canopy bed frame for $60 at Big Lots store. I figures I could just hang the roll-down blinds around the metal canopy bed frame. You could even take the bedframe apart & use it in sections. In fact I bet you could find a cheapie 'holywood" style metal bed frame & use this to hold up the blinds or outdoor fabric. & if you bought 3 all the same size you'd be all set, just set them up on end, sideways! You'd have to install an X with plastic coated steel cable so the bed frame didn't sway from side to side. Another idea, you may want to call some Army Surplus stores & see what they have that you can use. Also, they sell those sheds you put together yourself, you may be able to rig up an inclosure with the sides to the shed set up in a different configuration.
Lastly, you could buy hospital or airplane curtain cable & hang weighted outdoor drapes from this. but you'd need a couple of sturdy trees! Also at Walmart they sell the booths you use for farmers markets for $80 & they also sell Velcro-up screens that go in them. The screens are 10 feet long & 8 feet high. They are made for outdoors & as I said they attach with Velcro tabs. These EZ-ups are made to go up & be taken down in minutes. The screens fold up & are easy to attach. At the surplus store "Big Lots" they now have a much nicer & more permanent one of these shelters made of metal with a nice roof & very subtle colors of browns & greens. The one they have at Big Lots is about 14' x 14' & costs around $300, but is very sturdy & you could leave it up until it snows.
Hope I've given you something to think about. Let me know if I can help you any more. I've got lots of ideas & have built these things for privacy in my yard & they look professional & classy. Not tacky or "trailer-trashy". I like the way I can see out (with the blinds) but my neighbors can't see in!
My vote is for the 3/4 PVC pipe with either outdoor fabric with grommets, plastic lattice or roll-down plastic blinds attached with zip-ties or stainless S-hooks. But if you want something very temporary, how about building 2 or 3 simple tripods from wood or PVC pipe. These would fold up when not in use, & you could hang a cable to them with an eye bolt then hang a curtain on this. The tripods could also hook together with wing nuts, washers & bolts & you could store them under your trailer when not in use!
Let me know what you decide on! Cyinda
All the home improvement stores are selling those portable canopies, although some have to be installed into the ground. If you want to use your metal canopy, how about sheer drapes that can be pulled closed as needed. The main issue is the weather, however. Is there a way to put a plexiglass top on the canopy to keep the rain out?
I like your idea of using gromets on the fabric. If you have thrift stores in your area try there for fabric, or you might try freecycle (I believe it has been discussed in this group, if not just put 'freecycle' in your search engine and it will come up). Good luck in finding some material to complete your project.
I don't know if you want screen but they do have those portable screen house you can use! Just adjust it some to fix your patio.
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