garden shade structure – flat top canopy – emt tubing, shade cloth

I started gardening with the pandemic – and by July it was clear that my yard gets too much sun for my plants – maybe I didn’t water enough? but I went with 50% and 70% shade covering.
Basics of shade structure: flat canopy corners, sides, middle pieces, 1″ emt tubing. the vertial EMT tubes each go over a piece of 1/2 x 4′ rebar pounded into the ground. and the corners/sides/middles are secured to the ground with a rope tied to 3 links of chain with a lag on the other end which is drilled into the ground.  The shade cloth is secured to the structure with rope.
19 best Burning Man 2015 Building a Home images on Pinterest | Burning man, Animal shelters and ...
The following includes some links to amazon which include my affiliate id (monetized), the other website links are not monetized.
my garden is roughly 20×40′ – so I used 4 corners: https://www.canopiesandtarps.com/ff3bcc.html $7
If you get these be sure to swap out the eyelets for regular bolts.
I connected these with 10′ sections of EMT tubing from Lowes https://www.lowes.com/pd/t/3129555 $10
cut them to fit with a hacksaw https://amzn.to/3fZyEIZ $20
I used rope to attach the shade cloth to the structure and to tie the structure to the lags in the ground https://amzn.to/3wO4a2O $17
https://amzn.to/3t9MhJh $58 – #50 3/8″ x 14″ lag screws – steel – zinc
take a lag with you to the hardware store to pick the right size chain to use (the sharp part of the lag should pass freely through the link, but the bolt should not)
The vertical pieces of EMT tubing were placed over 4′ sections of rebar pounded 2′ into the ground:
https://www.lowes.com/pd/t/3044826 rebar 1/2″ x 4′ $5
if you have the equipment to cut rebar it is cheaper in longer lengths
shade cloth:
https://amzn.to/3213GYT 10×20′ 70% green shade cloth $50
https://amzn.to/3mFABLV 10×20 40% shade cloth $30
home automation

replacing x10 light controllers/switches/motion sensors

c by GE is a wifi / blue tooth fairly low cost option for replacing your x10 wall switches, motion sensors, lamp controllers. It uses a smart phone app for setup, and optionally can be controlled by amazon/google/apple home automation products.

X10 has been great but with CFL and LED lights the wall switches bleed current to sense incoming commands and make lights flicker or glow constantly, so it will be nice to move on.

The main driving force for this pick was that the wired light switches do not require a neutral wire.


  1. The apps on the phones are not very good – the iphone app was better at upgrading firmware than the android app on some of my bulbs – once you start adding devices on one device only use that device to add items as other devices start over on the numbering scheme and things get wonky fast.
  2. I saw some posts online about building everything first in the c by ge app and then connecting to other home automation products otherwise there can be funky behavior.

I don’t really want any other connections so once I got it configured I was good.

My use cases are:

  1. Adding extra switches to other doorways in a room
  2. adding smart bulbs in other fixtures to the lights that go on with a wall switch or a remote only switch.
  3. adding plugs that go on with a wall switch or a remote only switch.
  4. timed front porch light
  5. entry way light goes on with motion at the front door.

Update 5/29/21: I recently had trouble with my wife and turned off my 5ghz wifi radio so my phone could only pick 2.4ghz – while I was connected to the 2.4ghz radio the ce by ge app seemed to very easily connect to my devices and update firmware, so if you’re having trouble with adding devices/lights first try renaming or disabling your 5G so your phone only has the choice of the 2.4ghz wifi, also if a switch or plug falls off of your wifi network I would try powercycling it before trying to factory reset and re-add it.

The short links below include my affiliate id (monetized):

https://amzn.to/3dVJxsL C by GE – no neutral wall switch $42

https://amzn.to/3mDaghr C by GE smart plug $15

https://amzn.to/3mCVLuf C by GE motion/daylight sensor $30

https://amzn.to/3sbs2JY C by GE wireless wall switch $24

https://amzn.to/2QbhSvB C by GE smart bulb $22


I was considering using Lutron but the cost was prohibitive and they don’t have smart bulbs.

https://amzn.to/2QbiBwP leutron wall switch $50

https://amzn.to/3235mRz lutron wall switch and remote no neutral – out of stock was $65

https://amzn.to/322KQ3p lutron smart plug $45

https://amzn.to/2RqCOzt lutron smart plug with remote $50


The z-wave option for no neutral which I didn’t find before buying a bunch of c by ge stuff

https://amzn.to/323hr9j inovelli $43 (see disclaimers about no neutral and potentially needing an extra component if load under 25 watts)


Forecast: daily rain in your garden

If you think you have a black thumb try automatic watering of plants like radishes, turnips, kale, lettuce, spinach, carrots, chard, beets, zucchini or crookneck squash.

plant them twice as deep as the seed is tall, if the seed in flat plant it on edge, if the first round doesn’t come up in a few weeks start them indoors in the window with potting mix, and then transfer after true leaves have formed (first set of leaves are different).

soak the soil when planting and then start with watering with 5 minutes daily, if wilting increase the time or shade the plant, if yellowing take a day off and then cut back watering time – you can also adjust the drippers(emitters) to put out more/less water.

Simple DIY hose connected irrigation from amazon:

The number of drippers you can put in one circuit will depend on your water pressure and how much you open the emitters.

The following short links include my affiliate Id (monetized):

https://amzn.to/3g1uQqG $4 plumbing tape

https://amzn.to/323iZQF $6 back flow prevention

https://amzn.to/3g6aYTv $11 hose splitter

https://amzn.to/3wMfyfd $6 adapter

https://amzn.to/31ZNS8K $50 valve

https://amzn.to/31ZOb3o $14 connector (20 pack)

https://amzn.to/3dVy7F8 $12 1/2″ tubing

https://amzn.to/3dY3P50 $21 drippers

https://amzn.to/3s6OmV2 $8 1/4″ tubing

https://amzn.to/3uGzYoo $10 punch and goof plugs

https://amzn.to/3fXrzIP $10 T’s, exension, right angle, end kink


If your water pressure is popping things apart you can adjust the opening of the hose splitter above or get something like this:

https://amzn.to/3a0zv8F $25 adjustable pressure regulator


Just found this: if you only have 1 circuit and want to combine a valve, a pressure regulator, an adapter and add a filter.

https://amzn.to/32o92gS $32 orbit valve, filter/pressure regulator and adapter to 1/2 drip tubing.”

If you have a unused channel on your automatic sprinkler controller you can use this instead of the battery operated valve above. (you’ll also need some 18 gauge wire to connect the two together).

https://amzn.to/2PQha76 $13 valve