A garden is the best alternative therapy.

DIY garden canopy

Before leaving for work this morning, I went online and checked the weather forecast for today.  The forecast called for a chance of thunderstorms this afternoon from 1 to 7 PM, so I decided to put up the canopy over the herb garden.  I built the thing for less than $20, using 1/2″ PVC pipe and clear 3mm heavy duty plastic sheeting, and it does a great job protecting the garden from the downpour of rain from the edge of the house.

The frame consists of four corner posts with corner joints installed on the top of each.   The back two posts were hammered into the very back of the herb garden (right against the back wall of the house) and the front posts were hammered in just outside the front of the garden so that the canopy overlaps the edge of the garden.  The front two posts were about a foot shorter than the back two, giving the canopy an angled-look and allowing water to run off quickly.  The back two posts were connected together by a piece of PVC running between them, as were the front two posts.  Using two “T” joints, I connected the back and front using one perpendicular pipe running down the center. I did this to give the plastic sheeting some added support so that the rain doesn’t just pool up  in the middle.

Then I simply used 1″ black binder clips to clip the plastic sheeting onto the frame.   By using these clips, the plastic sheeting is very easy to cover and remove, taking about thirty seconds.

It works like a charm.  I found that the canopy creates a sort of “wind tunnel” in a storm, so I soon learned that closing off one side of the canopy keeps the wind from blowing the garden to hell.   To do this, I just drape the excess plastic off one side and secure it with bricks.

I’ve also found that, even if it doesn’t rain, the plastic creates a sort of greenhouse effect inside.  The plants seem to do great even if they’re covered all day and it doesn’t rain.  Like today.  It looks like the meteorologists were wrong and have now pushed back the possibility of rain to a window of one hour later tonight.   I really didn’t think it was going to rain, but better to be safe than sorry.  A strong stream of runoff from the roof could destroy a few plants in no time at all.

Materials Used:

four 1/2″ 10-foot sections of PVC
four 90 degree corner joints
two “t” joints
one 9×6 piece of 3mm heavy duty plastic sheeting
mallet
8 1″ binder clips

Protection from the elements for under $20.

Protection from the elements for under $20.

One thing I would do differently:   I would apply a thin coat of PVC glue on the inside of the joints so that the frame doesn’t come apart.   A lot of wind has the tendency to loosen a corner every once in awhile, as you can see by the picture above (front right).   Other than that, it’s a DIY project I’m happy with.

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