Monday, June 22, 2009

The shade pavilion goes up

After designing and calculating and ordering and measuring and cutting and priming and painting (which all happened over the winter months at the School House Electric Company factory that my husband runs) last Friday evening it was finally time to bring the pieces home and build the shade pavilion* and what better day than the 2nd rainiest day of the year? (almost an inch if rain fell Friday in Portland, breaking our old record for the day and making it the 2nd rainiest day of the year thus far).
The frame went up quickly, thanks to my husband Andrew’s careful calculations and the help of our friend Edik.
Saturday we saw a few sun breaks and we (ok mainly Andrew, with me safely on the ground handing him things) got the rafters up.
Sunday the corrugated metal roofing went on. I tried not to worry while Andrew crawled around on the rafters. It was making me dizzy just watching him; I have a serious fear of heights. Since it rained while the roofing was going on we already have been treated to the "pitter patter" of the rain drops on the roof. LOVE that sound.
And it’s done! Now that we can set back and look at the finished product there are a few things we would do differently, but for a first go at such a project we are both pretty happy with the end result.
Originally Andrew wanted something that was reminiscent of a Park Service building, like you might picnic under at a National Park. I wanted something out of the pages of Dwell magazine. Then during a visit to Cistus nursery last summer we were inspired by their shade/rain structures and their straight forward construction and simple design. This ends up being a little bit of all that mixed up together. Another thing that I really like about the finished pavilion is the way that its height balances the wall of green on the north side (below), now when you are on the patio you feel enclosed on all sides.
There is one thing missing though. Have you already noticed? We need more plants to soften the hard angles! Darn! More plant shopping!

*yes there is a new name…the shade shack is now the shade pavilion. Sometimes I name just doesn’t fit after you see the finished product…and, well, the designer (husband) sort of objected to the word “shack” – although I did enjoy hearing the B-52’s Love Shack in my head every time I said the name.


  1. Looks like it was meant to be there, dg. I really like the color and the overall effect in your modern landscape. You'll enjoy sitting out under there in both Portland summer weather conditions: warm rain and hot sun!
    I too was thinking B-52s and Love Shack when you originally dubbed the structure the Shade Shack. But it's pretty sophisticated for a shack - I think 'pavilion' suits it just fine.

    Now get out there and buy more plants!

  2. I think you win -- looks more like Dwell than National Park, but, let him think that if he wants to...

  3. Denise SchreiberJune 22, 2009

    I LOVE the Shade Pavilion! It turned out wonderful!!

    I have to admit as I scrolled through the shots of it going up I was having a hard time imagining the finished form, but then I landed on the final photos and my jaw dropped! It’s beautiful!!!! Build one for Mike and I next! :)

  5. What a nice project - good for you! I'm sure in Portland it's especially important to have something that keeps the rain out while you enjoy the garden.

  6. Nice work team danger! It's such a treat to be able to sit and watch the garden while it rains, so I like to think of it as a rain pavilion too. It came together really beautifully, a whole new room in the garden.

  7. Vision and craftsmanship---you guys make a great team. The shade pavilion looks fabulous, and I'd love to have one in my garden. Great color too.

  8. I think the appeal of outbuildings must be primal. When I was a kid and we ran wild on the streets, we were forever gathering materials and planning outdoor structures--cabins, forts, girls/boys only clubs. Amazing the things we could imagine considering our abysmal problems of execution. No shortage on either front here. Fabulous.

  9. Uh, okay, wow, I'm jealous. Hubby who builds you stuff for the garden? Worth his weight in diamonds. Seriously. What a cool structure! I can see the Park Service influence a little, but also the modern twist from you. Ooh, ooh, how about green walls???!!! Or a really big vine growing up each side on a metal trellis like Megan has for her akebia? Well, just more plants, that sounds like a good idea for sure, however you arrange them. Congrats! And I'm also jealous about the rain, we haven't got squat since mid-May and the plants are suffering!

  10. Thanks Jane - yes we figured it would do double duty, both shade and the occasional summer rain. Glad you agree with the name change. More plants! I am excited...I have more shade now...all new plants!

    island gardener - uhm...sounds like you speak from experience...with the husband I mean.

    Thanks Denise, I'll tell O.M. - hopefully you will feel the same when you are drinking under/or near it.

    Andrea - thank you...our neighbor John came over to have a look-see while it was going up and asked if it was a kit. I can't decide if I think that is a compliment or not.

    VW - oddly once summer comes to Portland we have very little rain (last weekend being an exception) and it will mainly be for the sun, but come fall when it's still warm but wet it will be fun!

    Thanks Megan - you are right it does feel like a new room. Even though we don't have meandering paths the garden does unfold in distinct areas and this was the last one to be realized.

    Pam - Andrew really did a fabulous job. Going into it I had no idea how much thought and work was involved. He really did it "right".

    Patricia - If we were really channeling our inner child we would have a look out in the that would be fun!

    Karen - actually the whole thing was his idea! He is the shade lover, but once I realized it would be a rain cover for plants in the winter I was on board. I told him about the diamonds and he wonders exactly how I will go about calculating his "street value". I had planned a horizontal trellis attached to the back but now I want to move it out a bit, so it is almost against the neighbors fence. Passion flower would be fun don't you think? I can't believe our rainfall is that different?!

  11. Your shade pavilion is brilliant. It must rain differently in Oregon, though. A pavilion shaped like that here in the Ozarks would most likely not shelter you much from the rain, with the winds we get with our storms the rain would blow right through it!

    However, I am trying hard to dredge up sympathy for your plight of having to shop for plants. You poor thing. I volunteer to help!

    Seriously, though. Some kind of vine climbing a trellis would make a lovely green wall. I have a wisteria on the pergola just outside the kitchen door, it is beautiful but very destructive of the supports it uses. I'm not sure I would recommend it and have been contemplating removing the whole thing and replacing it with a sweet autumn clematis or a grapevine.

  12. healing magic hands, for the most part our summer rains are casual affairs, however you aren't far off. We intended this mainly for sun protection with rain being an after thought. Last weekend we learned that if its a hard rain there is only about a 3 ft wide area down the middle that is protected. Ah well, live and learn. Next time...

  13. Now I want one exactly the same! And I have shade!

  14. I love the patio cover, very nice!


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