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DIY Garden Shade Cloth

This isn’t a post filled with pretty pictures today, it’s a functional DIY garden idea that I use over and over again and thought you might take something from it.

How to Make Garden Shade Cloth On a Budget | DIY Garden Shade Cloth | CreativeCainCabin.comEvery year I add shade cloth to my garden veggies that can’t take the sun beating down on them all day. You can’t find actual “shade cloth” where I’m from so I’ve designed my own on the cheap…..and by cheap I mean pennies compared to the real stuff. 

How to MAke Garden Shade Cloth On a Budget | DIY Garden Shade Cloth | CreativeCainCabin.comMy secret is Nylon Netting. You’ll find it in the fabric department by the yard and it comes in every color you can think of (I normally get green but they were out this time so I got dark blue). If you use shower scrubbies that’s what they’re made from, so you’ll recognize it when you see it. I always buy mine at Wally World because it’s dirt cheap there, normally 39¢ a yard. 

How to Make Garden Shade Cloth On a Budget | DIY Garden Shade Cloth | CreativeCainCabin.comAll you need are 4 plant stakes, sticks, or whatever you can find to serve as corner posts, nylon netting, and zip ties (another favorite thing of mine). Measure and cut the needed yardage, put your corner posts in the ground and zip tie the netting to the posts at an apppropriate hight for the plants growth and watering needs. You now have shade for your wilting plants. I find my spinach, lettuce, and cucumbers do better under nylon netting. The soil stays moist, they get relief from the heat, and the rainfall still gets through. 

How to Make Garden Shade Cloth On a Budget | DIY Garden Shade Cloth | CreativeCainCabin.comHere you can see how much it actually blocks out. I have learned the dark colors of the netting block more sun so look for that if there’s a selection. I like at the end of the season the netting goes in the trash and I don’t feel wasteful. Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram for more ideas.
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42 Comments

  1. Great idea, Dawn. I might do this for my hydrangea that gets too much sun!

    xo
    Claudia

    1. I have some food netted umbrellas made to keep bugs off food outdoors. They have white netting. Is white okay or should I get dark net? Our condo only has west side facing windows for my plants. for

  2. That works great Dawn. I use old garden umbrellas set up around the plant tables. Though so far this year I’ve only had them up a couple of times. Lately we’ve had lots of rain and wind and cloud cover.

    1. Linda same here a lot of rain. I’ve only watered myself a few time. I use umbrellas in my potted plants, the cheap ones from the dollar store.

    1. Shirley, now if I can just keep the rabbits from trying to eat the garden.

      1. The same fabric will protect your plants from rabbits and squirrels, just wrap it around a cage that you put around your garden box or plants (like tomato cages). The fabric can be used for multiple seasons – sometimes called tulle.

  3. I use old sheer curtains, the ones that feel silky. I wash them off with the hose in Fall, let them dry and reuse them the next year. I put mine up yesterday as we finally are getting some heat again after a month of cool weather. My lettuce and kale was looking a bit wilty with an 85 degree day so I took pity on them and whipped out the curtains. I planted my lettuce and kale behind the tomatoes so they would shade them but they aren’t tall enough yet.

    1. Pam, I keep my lettuce and kale in pots on the deck that only get the morning sun so that helps them immensely. Brilliant idea about the sheer curtains they have them at thrift stores all the time for almost nothing. Our weather is rainy and cool lately we need some sun. My tomatoes are about knee high and loaded with golf ball size tomatoes. Hope it’s a good crop this year.

  4. What a great idea, Dawn. Thanks for sharing. xo Laura

    1. Laura you’re welcome. Have a wonderful weekend!

      1. Del Duerr says:

        Really like the netting idea. Do you have to remove it for more sun in the summer or leave on entirely? Want to try gardening this summer, as long as I can stand it, I live in Florida.

  5. Cheryl Major says:

    What a great idea Dawn. You have such great tips Thanks !!

    1. Thank you Cheryl, now I wish I had a way to keep the bunnies out of the garden, lol.

  6. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    What a savings using the cheap netting fabric!

    1. Nancy and it seems to work just as good. Im in the garden every night cutting spinach for my morning smoothie and it’s not burnt up by the sun.

  7. Brilliant Dawn! Does this shade netting allow you to plant lettuce or spinach longer? What a great idea!

    1. Yes Yvonne it keeps the sun off them and you can plant and harvest all summer long. I eat spinach every day in my smoothie and I need at least 25 plant to keep up with my use, normally in the hot sun they quit producing but not with the shade cloth.

  8. Dawn,
    I have some younger elephant ear plants made for full sun, but are not doing well in the extreme sun here in South Carolina. Have you found a noticeable difference in using this rather sheer material?

    1. Chaz, yes I notice a huge difference. They grow and produce so much better with just that small amount of filtered sunlight.

      1. GREAT…….because have you priced real shade cloth?!?

        1. Chaz, yes I have and it’s pricey 🙁 I have a fellow blogger that uses sheer curtain, you can pick them up for pennies at thrift stores and it works the same, so that’s another idea!

  9. Do you have any recommendations for any other household items that could be used to shade a large potted plant? It gets intense AZ heat!

    1. Lynn, have you ever tired poking an old umbrella into the soil to use as shade for the plant?

  10. Thank you. This was for a neighbor and her plant. She has since removed the plant, as she decided it was not salvageable.

  11. Grace Fernandez says:

    Do you think this can be used to protect plants from frost in the winter?

  12. Does this type of material help prevent sun scald on peppers? Here in AZ, the sun gets to a lot of my peppers before I do.

  13. Leona Bell says:

    Live high up on the west side of the Rockies where we get mostly hot, dry sun all summer. I tried using this nylon net idea, but did not get enough shade for my plants that need it. Would have had to use 3-4 layers to achieve what I need for shading plants. Good idea, though!

    1. Leona, yes I double mine so it has two layers of cloth.

  14. Tina Yager says:

    OMG you are a life saver !! found it at wallie world for $0.55/yd 72” wide !! im getting ready to plant okra, brussel sprouts are 5” tall and ready for raised bed and I’m planning early cabbage for august. but when it is 80 degrees at 6am, I’ve been really worried. I’ll send you pics !!

  15. “I like at the end of the season the netting goes in the trash and I don’t feel wasteful.” seems very confusing and ironic. You’re actually throwing it away :l

    Why not just keep it for the next season?

    1. I agree, couldn’t it be folded or rolled up and re-used… Another poster on here did give me a curtain idea for shading plants on my balcony – do you think an old lace curtain could be used to give it another life? Although it would probably disintegrate in sun and rain a lot quicker than shade cloth

  16. Was very happy to read this! I too, am using a cheap sheer white curtain from a thrift store, and it’s working great.

    I’m trying to grow a container garden on my scorching hot south-facing balcony in the Nevada desert and the fabric shading is making a huge difference.
    I staple-gunned the corners of the curtain to the balcony railing, & then used fishing line hung from the awning overhang to hold up the remaining corner with a removable clothes pin.

    I had one potted Swiss Chard plant still sticking out in the sun, and another one fully underneath the curtain, and the one in the sun visibly wilted, while the one under the curtain didn’t at all, proving the fabric definitley helps! Thanks for the inspiration and money saving idea!

    1. Reeny, Good for you, it’s so nice hearing others are finding ways to keep their garden cool on the cheap:)

  17. Host as were taking a beating since loose no major shade tree! This general idea has helped a lot till later in year when I can renegotiate the to much sun issue.. wish I could post a pic!

  18. “I like at the end of the season the netting goes in the trash and I don’t feel wasteful.” – how is disposing nylon netting in trash not wasteful?

    1. Looks like there’s no reply’s to the non environmental side of people posts… ‘ Just toss it and choke the wild life !’ Maybe if they had to eat their plastic waste they’d rethink it. I’m trying cotton muslin, (using in the greenhouse with suction cups and or stick on Velcro), it’s in many colours and washable, not too expensive. Here’s to growing together !

  19. Wind picked up earlier this week and bent the green stakes in half, and crushed my garden.

  20. I totally need this! How do you zip tie the netting to the stakes? I can’t quite seem from the pictures. Thank you!

    1. Mollie, I first tied the cloth around the stake and then ziptied it around the knot to keep it in place. Hope this makes sense.

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