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Re-Purposing: Portable Shade Structures

Re-Purposing: Portable Shade Structures post image

In Gentle World we believe in not only “Reducing, Reusing and Recycling” but also Re-purposing! (often called Up-Cycling)

We practice and teach modern environmentalism, in part by reclaiming items that may have been headed to the dump or recycling center (remember: although recycling is very important, it still takes energy and other resources – keep recycling; just re-purpose first!)

We use reclaimed treasures like old fencing, PVC pipes and rope to create useful and eco-friendly items for our garden and household. One of our long-term volunteers (38+ years!) Sky Weil is a MASTER of repurposing. Creating sheds, green houses and compost bins completely out of reclaimed material is one of Sky’s specialties.

The pictures below are from one of his newest projects: “Portable Shade Structures” or “Portable Climbing Structures” for the Gentle World veganic teaching garden.

These structures can be used to shade young or fragile plants in the garden, or to support pole beans, tomatoes or other climbing plants.

They are made from:

  • reclaimed aluminum framing from satellite dishes
  • old fencing
  • paint can handles (to wire aluminum frames together)
  • used shade cloth scraps (strips)
  • reclaimed PVC pipes
  • twine from packages we’ve received (you could also use non-working electrical cords or speaker wires, neatly trimmed.)


This is a picture of one complete shade structure and some supplies for creating more:


As you can tell, the shade cloth has not been attached to the structure yet, but at this angle you can see how Sky crossed the two aluminum satellite supports to create two “V’s”. He then laid the fencing over the V’s connecting them together and creating an “A-Frame” portable shade structure.


After he had completed four structures, he put the two pairs at opposite ends of a garden bed and ran reclaimed PVC pipe between them so that the entire bed was covered.


Here you can see the pipe, and look down the nicely shaded row!

When the plants are strong enough to weather the sun on their own, these structures can easily be moved from one bed to another!


Related Stories:
Three Ways to Save Water and Money
How to Grow Great Green Beans
Great Reasons to Shop Secondhand