Shade Sails: A Splendid Way to Control the Sun in Your Backyard

Written by  //  April 8, 2015  //  Construction Materials  //  4 Comments

One of elegant and stylish ways to provide a shade on a hot summer day is to install shade sails. In a nutshell, a shade sail is as strong strip of fabric, designed to withstand strong gusts of wind and scorching sun. These sails are best used with modern gardens and landscapes, where they make shade for patios or verandas. They are elevated on steel posts and fixed tightly without flapping or moving. By using shade sails so you can improve your garden landscape, whether you need more creative touches or need some neutral colors to break the sleepy hum of the greenery.

Advantages of Shade Sails

Because of their bold, geometric shapes, shade sails are best used with modern architecture and landscapes. Architects are unlikely to suggest them as a shade solution for an Early American or a Craftsman home. Their design and deployment allows them to be dismantled and taken down in winter, if the climate is harsh. In other words, it means that you can let more sunlight into your house in winter, which you cannot do if you have a fixed shade installation, as a wooden pergola.

How to Choose the Spot

Before you order a set of shade sails you’ll need to measure and examine the location you want protected from the sun. One of ways that landscaping experts recommend is to string the area you need shaded, to see where the shadow falls during the day. In this way you can adjust the final location of poles and the sail so that it covers the best part of the area that needs shade.

Principal Characteristics

Shade sails are not recommended with landscapes that have lots of details. On the other hand, shade sails fit well in plain, minimalistic architectural solutions. Additionally, shade sails are not cheap. Since they require a substantial amount of engineering in their design and installation, a wooden pergola with a lattice roof would be a more cost-saving option. The special material and weaving technique make shade sails capable of stopping 80-90% of UV light. However, unless we are talking about installing state-of-the-art waterproof shade sails, the ordinary shade sails won’t stop a sudden shower.

Installation Tips

When it comes to the installation process, you’ll be best advised to set a height difference of 4-6’ between the sail sides, so it can deflect the wind more defectively. What is more, using even bigger height difference looks very artistic, if more than one sail is used. Also, if you don’t have a strong reason to do otherwise, it is advised that you opt for neutral tones. They will always look good, while certain colors can go out of style. You can still experiment with color schemes, but remember that well-made shade sails will last for 20 years, with 10 years guarantee. 

Buy Quality Only

The cost of an average-sized sail goes around $6,000 to 8,000. In most scenarios you’ll need two or three individual sails for the good positioned coverage and the desired look. Still if you need to shade commercial installations like booths or stages, you’ll need to hire an engineer who will calculate and optimize the number of sails and their best arrangement. Online landscaping retailers are offering DIY sails for about $400-600. You should be wary of these killer deals, as these are mostly cheap designs which will last a season or two, while quality shade sails withstand wind speeds as high as 100 mph.

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4 Comments on "Shade Sails: A Splendid Way to Control the Sun in Your Backyard"

  1. Lillian Schaeffer January 27, 2016 at 2:57 pm ·

    This is some great information, and I appreciate your point that shade sails can be taken down for the winter to let more sun into the home. My husband and I just moved into a new house, and we want to put something in the backyard to provide some shade next to the house, but we like to let the sun warm our home naturally during the winter. We’ll definitely look into installing a sail as a perfect solution for both needs! Thanks for the great post!

  2. Paul Langley March 23, 2016 at 6:58 pm ·

    Wow, shade sails seem like a really great options for anyone looking to create a nice cool spot in their backyard. I have a small porch nestled between the two wings of my house, and this would be absolutely perfect for that, as it gets almost too hot to enjoy the porch at all. I’ll have to look more into getting a shade sail for my house, thanks so much for writing!

  3. Rockford Johnson September 12, 2016 at 11:27 am ·

    I learned a lot about shade sails by reading this article. I like how you explained that shade sails can help you to control the amount of sunlight that enters your home. I can imagine how helpful these types of shades can be when it comes to controlling sunlight in the winter and summer months.

  4. Shade Specialists of Arizona March 8, 2017 at 7:42 pm ·

    Great, easy to follow, tips and benefits of shade sails you’ve shared. Thank you for sharing post.

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