While you are waiting for climbers to cover a pergola, you can create instant privacy with fabric.
A billowing “ceiling” of translucent cotton or muslin adds a wonderful “Arabian Nights” feel to the summer patio.
People looking down into the garden from surrounding houses won’t be able to see through, but the area remains light and airy.
Cotton sheeting is ideal (you may even be able to recycle old bed linen) but any light, quick-drying fabric, such as muslin, will do: look for inexpensive remnants in fabric shops.
Vine eyes are sold in garden centers or DIY stores alongside training wire and plant supports.
You Will Need
- Fabric (width of pergola x 1½ times length)
- Cordless drill and drill bit
- Vine eyes and screwdriver
- Thick galvanized training wire
- Pliers or wire cutters
- Iron-on hemming tape
- Plastic clothes pegs and tablecloth weights
How To Build Step By Step
1. Drill pilot holes
Decide where the support wires will run.
Ideally they should lie beneath the cross pieces of the pergola.
Drill pilot holes, selecting a drill bit that is slightly smaller than the shaft of the vine eye.
2. Screw in vine eyes
Vine eyes and training wire are used to create supports for climbing plants and wall-trained fruit but they’re ideal here too.
Insert the vine eyes in the pilot holes and tighten with a screwdriver as shown.
3. Thread the wire
Thread wire through the eye, leaving enough wire spare to fasten off with.
Stretch the wire across to the eye on the other side, pulling it taut and twisting the ends over with pliers to secure.
4. Prepare the fabric
On the fabric, turn over any edges that can fray and finish with iron-on hemming tape.
This method is much quicker than sewing.
5. Peg in place
Drape the fabric over the wires, spreading it out to create even “billows”.
Hold in place using clothes pegs.
6. Add weights
Hanging tablecloth weights – available from haberdashers – from the four corners of the canopy stops the material from flipping back over the wires in the breeze.