How to Build Deck Awnings

What You'll Need
Awning material
Mounting brackets
Retractable 1/4 inch aluminium poles (like tent poles)
3 steel bars
Sewing machine
Measuring tape
2 large hooks

Deck awnings can make your patio area useable even in the heat of the midday sun. Prefabricated awnings are available, but the committed do-it-yourselfer might like to try to make one from scratch. Following these steps, you can create a useful addition to your patio for a fraction of the cost of a shop-bought awning.

Step 1 – Measure Your Deck Area

First measure out the area you wish to be covered by the retractable deck awning. You may decide to cover a limited seating area, leaving the remainder uncovered for potted plants. It will be easier if you choose an area that can be measured in whole feet.

Step 2 – Purchase the Awning Material and Rods

Now that you have the measurements, you can purchase the awning material. Some do-it-yourselfers use tarpaulins for this task, as they are water resistant and already made for outdoor use. However, if you are prepared to remove deck awnings in the winter, canvas could be a cheaper option. Don’t forget to purchase enough rope. You will need a piece of rope that is at least twice the width of the awning.

Step 3 – Sewing the Awning

Turn over the outer edge of the awning and sew to create a neat edge. Then sew 3 channels in the material, thick enough for the aluminium poles to be entered into. Sew the ends shut. You may have to sew these bits by hand, but as deck awnings are so high above people’s heads no one will notice if your needlework is less than perfect. 

The next piece of sewing involved is to enclose a steel pole in each wide end of the awning. When you have finished, the length of the awning sticking out of the house should be strengthened with retractable poles, and the width reinforced with a steel pole.

Step 4 – Fixing the Brackets to the Wall

Awnings for decks are heavier than you might think, so make sure that you purchase sturdy brackets. These need to be fixed carefully to the side of the wall. Given that deck awnings are retracted or removed in winter, make sure that the brackets are attractive, as they will be bare for part of the winter. Cast iron designs will suit the outsides of most houses. Place the hooks next to the brackets, at either side.

Step 5 – Fixing the Rope

Deck awnings need to be easy to pull back. The simplest way of achieving this is to fix the rope to one side to the material. Looping the rope back around the hook that is attached to the wall, you will have constructed a simple pulley system. Given that deck awnings are heavy and cumbersome, you will need a friend to help you place the awning on the bracket. When this is done, you can both enjoy the shade.