How to Build a Cheap DIY Canopy, Carport or Greenhouse in an Afternoon

July 23, 2021 3 min read 0 Comments

A pole bender allows you to build almost any sized cover to fit your needs. 

I'll walk you through a simple build of a lawn mower cover I did this morning. 


Parts, tools & cost are listed below. 


Heres a simple step-by-step as I did it.  


You can adjust to your length and width, but generally repeat the same steps.
Most of the parts are laid out here.  I already had the 'deck' built.  I really just wanted to keep the lawn mower off the ground, as our area is prone to flooding up to the top of the deck.
I used old ground posts from an old 6 ft greenhouse, so I didn't need to do any cutting, but all anyone would need to do starting with new parts would be to cut a 10-ft piece of the 3/4" EMT conduit in half.
I then marked each 5 ft piece at 36", which marked the ground point when hammering it into the ground.  
I used 4 ft spacing, but 3, 5 or 6 works too, depending on your preferences. 
As I hammered in the ground posts, I made sure it was level as I went.
Once all lined up, I was ready to put in the arches.
This is normally when you would bend the poles, but again, I was using spare parts.
 Watch how the pole bender is used in this video
Before putting the ground post in, I slid on my cross connector for later.
I marked each end of the arches at 6", as this is how much I slid each into the ground post. 
Once all the arches were in and appeared even from end to end, I screwed it all in.
Then I slid in the 'ridge' pole, or top pole with another piece of 1/2" EMT conduit.  I eyed it up for straightness and marked it.  
Then it was attached to the cross connectors. If doing a longer tunnel, it's best to measure between the arches before you screw it in.  Predrilling holes are recommended. 
Then I cut off the excess ridge pole and begun to prepare for the plastic cover.
I needed to attach a board the length of the cover so the lock channel would begin and end on a stud, and then the lock channel. Quick and easy.  
Once the sides are done, I installed lock channel around the arch of the 2 ends, using a clamp to assist. 
Once the bottom lengths are the end arches are done, the plastic was ready.  I simply laid it over top and starting from the top end of one arch with wiggle wire, then doing the opposite side, before finishing with the bottoms. 
The PVC coating on the wiggle wire keeps my hands and the plastic from unnecessary cuts.  
Watch how this is installed here
Once the excess plastic was cut off, I was done.  I started this project around 8am and finished around noon with several heat breaks mixed in between. 

Parts used:

 6 Foot Pole Bender $50

Wiggle Wire & Lock Channel (for plastic attachment, 8 pieces of each) $80
6 Mil Plastic Cover (I only needed 16'x10' for this project) $60 (on $/sq.ft. basis)
    1/2" Cross Connectors (x3) 4/pk@16.99
      3/4" Self-tapping screws 100/bag@2.37
        3/4" EMT Conduit (for ground posts) 3@4.56
          1/2" EMT Conduit (for arches)  3@$2.75
            Scrap wood running length of tunnel (for attaching lock channel).

                Total in parts - around $230 retail for roughly a 6.5'x10' cover.  $50 pole bender can be used for life.  Wiggle wire & lock channel can also be reused.

                Tools used:

                 Drill with bits
                Hacksaw with steel cutting blade
                Sludge Hammer (for driving ground posts)
                Ground Post Driver(don't bang directly on the EMT conduit)
                12" level 
                Knife/Scissors (for cutting plastic)

                  Heres one of our 20 ft wide greenhouse structures, done in a weekend, no problem. 
                  Links are either to our storefront or other part suppliers, some of which are affiliate links.