7 Creative DIY Shade Ideas for Raised Garden Beds That Are Easy and Affordable

How are you? I’m back with another do-it-yourself garden project I think you’ll love. During the hot summer months, giving your plants some shade in their raised beds can really help them grow. But buying those garden shade structures from the store can get pretty pricey.

That’s why I’ve put together this list of 7 creative DIY shade ideas you can make for your raised beds on the cheap. These are easy projects using materials you probably already have around the house and yard. I made most of these myself this year and wanted to share how they turned out!

#1: Make a Shade Structure from PVC Pipe and Shade Cloth

This is one of the simplest and most useful shade structures you can make yourself. To make a frame, all you need is PVC pipe, shade cloth, and ends.

I used 1⁄2” PVC which is lightweight but sturdy enough. You can make the frame as big or small as you need depending on the size of your raised beds. Simply push the PVC pipes into the connectors to form a rectangle or square.

Then use cloth clips, zip ties, or even duct tape to secure the shade cloth to the PVC frame I found some 70% shade cloth on sale that worked great. It cuts down on sunlight but still lets some light through.

This PVC and shade cloth combo allows air flow and is weather resistant, I’ve had some up for over a year now and they’re still going strong! You can take them down easily in the winter and store the PVC pipes

#2: Upcycle Old Doors into Mini Shade Screens

Got some old doors taking up space? Put them to use as mini shade screens for your raised garden beds! You can use full size doors or smaller patio/closet doors if you have them.

I cut my old doors down to fit the width of my raised beds using a circular saw. But if the doors are already small enough, you can use them whole. Just attach boards perpendicularly across the back for support.

Prop the doors up behind your beds with sturdy stakes in the ground. Position them so they block the sun at peak times but allow morning/evening light. I stained mine for extra weather protection but paint would also work.

Upcycled doors create nice looking slatted shade, provide good air circulation, and can be moved wherever needed. Such a practical way to reuse old doors as functional shade screens!

#3: Make Roller Shades from Bamboo and Shade Cloth

Here’s another semi-portable shade idea that works great and looks cool too. I used leftover bamboo sticks from another project to make the rollers.

You can vary the length depending on your raised beds Just attach the sticks at each end to create a long roller. Then staple your shade cloth along one edge of the roller I used 70% shade cloth again but you could do burlap or screen mesh too.

Attach rope to each end to hoist the shades up and down. Tie the rope to stakes in the garden when not needed. Otherwise the shades roll up neatly when not in use. The bamboo sticks keep them hanging straight above the beds.

These roller shades allow quick access to sunlight when needed but provide cool relief from the hot midday sun. I may even paint my bamboo sticks to make them extra cute!

#4: Craft Sun Shades from Old Umbrellas

If you have any old patio umbrellas collecting dust, transform them into handmade sun shades this year! Umbrellas make the perfect adjustable shade structures.

Cut the fabric off the umbrellas with good, sturdy poles. Then use the poles and umbrella hardware to create free-standing shade structures wherever you need them.

You can either secure the fabric back on top or attach something else for shade material – like shade cloth, burlap, bamboo matting, etc. I attached some 70% shade cloth to mine using the rib tips of the umbrellas.

The best part is you can easily crank the umbrellas open or closed to control how much sun reaches your plants. And if a storm comes, just close them up! It’s genius to repurpose old umbrellas like this in the garden.

#5: Craft DIY Shade Sails from Scrap Fabric

Adding a shade sail to your raised beds is super easy and makes a huge difference on hot sunny days. The great thing is you can custom make one to fit your space using almost any type of scrap fabric.

I used an old flat bedsheet and some nylon rope. Just cut or fold the fabric into the size and shape you want. Try to make the corners rounded. Then use rope to secure each corner of the sail to posts or stakes around the bed.

The key is getting the height right so the shade sail blocks overhead sun but allows air flow. It also helps to pull the corners tight so the fabric is taut. Add ties halfway down on the ropes to easily adjust the angle.

Scrap fabric shade sails work awesome and you can take them down anytime. Change the fabric if the current one gets worn or faded. Any lightweight sheet or curtain material would work!

#6: Build a Lattice Wood Shade Canopy

For a more permanent shade solution, you can construct a simple wood canopy. I built this lattice canopy to fit over two of my larger raised beds. It provides dappled shade all day long.

I used 2×3 boards for the frame and 1×2 slats for the lattice top. Just cut the wood to size and screw in place at corner angles. Make sure the frame is tall enough to allow good head room. Then add your slatted lattice top.

For extra shade, I grew vining plants like peas and beans on the lattice. The leafy canopy filters the sunlight even more. And I got vegetables along with shade!

The lattice frame will last for years with proper treatment. Take it apart and store away during the winter or leave up year round. Just a nice looking and effective way to add permanent shade with basic lumber and lattice.

#7: Make an Adjustable Shade Structure with Tarps and Poles

My last idea for DIY shades is good if you need to cover a larger growing area on a budget. All you need are some long wood poles or PVC pipe and heavy duty tarps or shade cloth.

Insert the poles into the ground or use brackets to attach them to raised beds or posts. Then drape your shade material over the top part of the poles. Use bungee cords, rope, or zip ties to secure in place and adjust as needed.

I used several poles and a large brown tarp to cover my whole main raised bed area. The tarp is thick and provides excellent shade for my veggies. And I can easily raise or lower the sides with the bungees to allow more sun when I want it.

Cheap tarps and poles let you make a customizable shade canopy for any size raised bed garden. You can find 20×20 ft. tarps pretty affordably. A great budget-friendly option!

How to Build a SHADE COVERING for a Raised Bed Garden


How to shade your raised garden bed?

Shade cloth can be used for raised garden beds that have solid arching. You can drape, cover and wrap shade cloth to any requirement that you have.

How do I shade my garden for cheap?

A shade cloth can be DIY, such as an old white sheet, floating row cover, window screen or a piece of lattice. It can also be a roll of lightly woven material purchased to shade your SFG. Whatever kind you use, it will reduce how much heat can reach your plants via sunlight.

How to protect raised garden beds from sun?

It’s not all about cold weather! Many garden covers, like shade cloth, can be used in summer, especially in warm climates. This simple shade cloth tunnel helps delay bolting of greens like lettuce in late spring.

What is the best shade cloth for growing vegetables?

The most popular option is polyethylene (PE), which is very affordable and offers excellent UV protection for plants. Polypropylene (PP) is arguably the strongest shade cloth material.

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