|Such is widely the case with exterior curtains that are made out of common painter's drop cloths; for instance this example.|
|Some makers appear to have overcome the rust potential by using shower curtain hardware. While preferable to interior grade drapery hardware, that approach has the downside of making the resulting patio curtains resemble, well, shower curtains. Image screengrabbed from this site.|
- Rust proof, or at least highly rust resistant.
- Could stand up to some pretty strong winds.
- Durable enough to be be left in place for long periods of time.
- Had to fit the "organic industrial" vibe of our home.
- Had to appear substantial. Our patio is 10' x 14' with a 3' concrete surround, which is fairly large. Small hardware would be under-scaled for the space.
- Curtains had to be easily movable across the full span of each rod, scooting across with no effort on the part of the user. This is important for easy sunning and airing-out of the curtains to prevent the development of mildew.
|This maker solved the rust problem by using a galvanized pipe as a curtain rod, and by avoiding clips altogether. However, the rust avoidance was achieved at the expense of convenience, because it would be very difficult to re-position rod pocket curtains across wide spans without actually climbing up to the rod (which in my case is a full 8 feet above the floor) and hand-bunching each time to achieve uniformity. Plus this approach looked a bit too traditional for my taste.|
|Let's start with the sourcing and yes, I included SKU numbers! (Tap to expand for clearer resolution). Unlike many makers, I was not aiming for lowest price because I was taking a penny-wise-pound-foolish view of this project. My intention was to maximize durability and longevity - I wanted to create curtains one time and then hopefully enjoy them for years to come with no additional work other than periodic laundering. Most of these materials listed above came from the Big Orange Retail Giant (BORG), aka Home Depot.|
|The chain link fence tension band and the carriage bolt with the nickel coated brass grommet shown sandwiched in there as a sizing illustration. Half inch grommets were the best size to function with these other components.|
|The grommet kit is very easy to use. You hole the fabric using the included punching tool (the kit also includes a small block of wood not shown in this pic, to place under the punching area)...|
|I basically created a shallow upper hem and chose six fence compression bands for each of the six curtain panels, simply because it "looked about right" when laid out with six.|
|I did all this work on the patio itself (nice clean sealed concrete post here), hauling the sewing machine and ironing board outdoors to do it. My whole point in improving this patio is that I want to use it more frequently like the full room of the house that it ought to have been functioning as all along during the past five years. That full use will require drawing the curtains when the sun is too strong or when the mosquitoes are too thick.|
|When you are dealing with a pitched patio floor, the best strategy is to just pin up each pair of curtains and see what looks best, ignoring minor irregularities. Here on the north side of the patio, I barely had enough length to make a decent hem...|
|The one thing I will say, though, is that pinning and ironing at each step is key. You don't want the final product to turn out to look too crudely made.|
|I made the table runner by cutting a chunk off the bottom edge of my extra drop cloth and hemming the cut side. It ties the scene together.|
Information on additional design elements also seen here:
Patio concrete sealant.
Ceiling paint color.
Repurposed TV-VCR stand as outdoor sideboard (seen in photos farther down).
Outdoor rug sourcing.
Drainage culvert planters - those contain blueberry bushes that must have specific soil chemistry (we harvested a few quarts of blueberries this year).
|I'm pleased. The fabric softens up a space that was previously all concrete, brick, and cement board.|
|Looking back whence I came.|
|Another night shot, repurposed TV-VCR stand in the background.|
UPDATE JUNE 10, 2015:
What I said at the beginning of this blog post. About 48 hours after I finished this project, I was sitting in my brand new little patio oasis blissing out and enjoying the job that was finished when this happened:
|It came barreling out of nowhere and that purple part (the most severe storm conditions) passed straight over the top of us.|
|So much for my peaceful moment of contemplation. You can see from the wet mirrors at left that the wind-driven rain was so strong that it traveled ten feet into the patio and hit the wall.|
There is no question in my mind that if I had used lighter gauge hardware here, the curtains would have been ripped loose. And probably deposited in Liberty County. In sooth, a good DIY call, because they are still perfectly fine after all that.
UPDATE JUNE 13, 2015:
Oh good grief!! We can't seem to catch a break on tropical rainfall this season!
|You don't even need to know what the colors mean. Just know that it's a LOT of rain, and they are currently predicting a 30% chance of cyclone development in the next few days.|
|I wouldn't go to this much trouble for a normal short-term rainfall event, but what we've got going on right now is not going to be normal. This too shall pass, and my patio will once again let its hair down.|