SUN SHADE SAILS: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE (WITH 5 BEST DESIGNS)

March 09, 2022 55 Comments

SUN SHADE SAILS: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE (WITH 5 BEST DESIGNS)

Shade Sail Benefits

Shade sails have a unique set of attributes that makes them particularly advantageous for shading an outdoor area. As opposed to other shading structures (like pergolas, umbrellas, and covered porches), shade sails are made out of a breathable material that allows hot air to escape while still blocking up to 98% of harmful UV rays. Because of this, shade sails can make an area up to 25% cooler than solid shade structures, and reduce the ambient temperature by at least 10°.

But the shade sail’s cooling power doesn’t stop at the outdoors - they can also help you stay cool inside. By inhibiting solar radiation, the solar heat gain that would otherwise contribute to higher indoor temperatures is reduced . This makes you less reliant on air conditioning on those hot summer days, which can save you money on electricity.

Aside from their functional attributes, shade sails are also:

  • Attractive: Shade sails can create an aesthetically unique vocal point to your outdoor living space. With so many creative arrangements and styling options to choose from, shade sails provide a look that can’t be matched by any other shade structure.
  • Versatile: They can be used to cover a customized area with a huge amount of creative license. As we’ll see later, there is a variety of possible arrangements you can use to cover any space you could imagine.
  • Easy to install: Shade sails are easy to install, move, and remove by yourself which makes experimenting with different locations and arrangements possible. They can also be used to provide temporary shade for an outdoor event (like a party) to be easily taken down afterward.
  • Affordable: Shade sails are a fraction of the cost of other shade structures that provide comparable shade coverage. This makes their value truly unmatched.

What is the Best Sun Shade Sail For You?

Sun shade sails come in two primary shapes: square/rectangular and triangular. Each has their strengths and weaknesses, and the one you choose depends on whether you are using it primarily for form, function, or a combination of the two.

Sun Shade Sail Triangle

Not only are they pleasing to look at, but triangular shade sails are the perfect choice for shading smaller areas. Because of their smaller size they're also perfect as temporary outdoor shading solutions, as opposed to the larger rectangular sails (see below) that might require more sturdy supports. Triangles are also more popular as aesthetic fixtures for outdoor living spaces, making them an excellent focal point in your exterior design layout. While square and rectangular shade sails are better suited for larger areas, multiple triangles can be used in a wider variety of creative layouts.

Sun Shade Sail Squares & Rectangles

If you’re looking to shade a large outdoor area, square or rectangular sails might be your best bet. Just be aware that because of their larger size, they may require sturdier support structures than their triangular counter-parts. You can also increase the strength of these sails by creating a three-dimensional effect or by attaching one corner significantly higher than the other corners. Not only does this make the sail stronger, but it provides a distinct and stunning look. Just like with triangular sails, you can also install squares at a slight vertical incline to prevent moisture accumulation and sagging.

Top 5 Sun Shade Design Layouts

The diverse design layouts available with square and triangular sails is truly remarkable. Below are the five most common layouts used in outdoor living spaces.

  1. Rectangle or Square Design

The parabolic design using a single square or rectangular shade sail is incredibly popular since it combines all the best shade sail elements: it looks great, it provides excellent shade coverage, and it’s more resistant to wind and rain than a flat, 2-dimensional layout. To accomplish this effect, you simply need to have two opposing corners secured at a low point the same distance off the ground, and the other two opposing corners secured at a higher point the same distance off the ground.

  1. Multiple Squares or Rectangles

Combining multiple square or rectangular shade sails is a great way to shade a large area. To do so, you can either install the two shade sails side-by-side, or with a slight overlap. Overlapping the shade sails has the benefit of avoiding gaps in shade coverage that would otherwise exist with a side-by-side installation. When overlapping, it’s recommended to maintain at least a 12 inch distance between the sails to avoid damaging contact chafing between the fabrics.

  1. Slanted Triangle

Another attractive option is the slanted triangle. The angle provides aesthetic appeal while also allowing moisture run-off. It’s generally recommended to have a slope of at least 15 degrees to allow for the best run-off.

  1. Multiple Triangles

Multiple triangles can create unique, beautiful designs capable of covering spaces a single triangle or square couldn’t. Just like the squares and rectangles, you can attach them side-by-side or with a slight overlap. The same overlapping considerations apply for the triangles: maintain at least a 12 inch distance between the sails to avoid chafing.

There are several design layouts to choose from:

  • You can create a polygon by having two triangles facing one direction that sandwich a center triangle facing the opposite direction
  • You can also create an eye-catching folding fan effect by staggering multiple triangles.
  1. Rectangle/Square & Triangle Combinations

Combining squares and triangles creates a distinct appearance that can shade large, customized areas.

  • You can create a pentagon shape by installing a triangular sail atop a square
  • You can hide the seam of two side-by-side squares with an overlapping triangle in the center
  • Or anything else your imagination comes up with.


55 Responses

Dan
Dan

March 17, 2022

The sail is really nice. It stretched and relaxed a little more than I was expecting

Michael A White
Michael A White

March 17, 2022

Good sun shade. Easy to install. We don’t keep it up in bad weather so it doesn’t get damaged but it works great to keep the deck cooler and the sun from broiling you.

gary steward
gary steward

March 17, 2022

This is the second one I’ve purchased. First one was for myself and this second one for my mother. I built her a pergola and placed this on top. Looks great !!!

ceaseit99
ceaseit99

March 17, 2022

Strong sturdy material. Also helps protect from rain.

Kimberly
Kimberly

March 17, 2022

This is my 2nd one. I love these! We use them for our goat pen to provide more shade.

 Jen Z.
Jen Z.

March 14, 2022

This has helped so much in our AZ home blocking the afternoon sun. I’m bummed the price went up so much since I ordered because we would love a 2nd one to cover our kids playground.

 Kymber
Kymber

March 14, 2022

I highly recommend this product. Please mark if you find my review helpful. Thank you so much!
Cindy
Cindy

March 14, 2022

This shade sail is excellent. It is made of high quality materials and it is sewn well.

 RBG
RBG

March 14, 2022

Love this shade sail! Perfect size, durable, and pleasing to the eye. It does the trick, and gives me the shade I needed. It was pretty easy to put up too. I would definitely recommend this product.

 Kate
Kate

March 14, 2022

We needed to create shade in our backyard. Ended up buying multiple shades. They seem well constructed. We are pleased with them.

 Craig S.
Craig S.

March 14, 2022

Used for shade over my pool. Appears very sturdy only had it up for a few days now.

 Jonathan W
Jonathan W

March 14, 2022

These shade sails are well made with reinforced edges and stainless steel D rings at the anchor points. I’m impressed with the build quality.

 Jeanette H.
Jeanette H.

March 14, 2022

I bought and returned 3 different sets of shades and these are perfect! Glad I finally found some that work and are as described

 RIO
RIO

March 14, 2022

We love the color and shade it gives. Stretches really well. We bought the largest size. Very nice and good price.

 Jen Z.
Jen Z.

March 14, 2022

Very well built. We have used this shade for two pool seasons now and it is holding up well.

 Christine Wainwright
Christine Wainwright

March 14, 2022

I order the sand color and it is a great color.

 Rebecca
Rebecca

March 14, 2022

It works great to add shade on my deck in the afternoon, and also add some privacy.

 jerrad
jerrad

March 14, 2022

Overall satisfied with quality & protection from elements! Compliments most spaces

 david santiago
david santiago

March 14, 2022

The sail it’s very sturdy it’s been install at the sun and rain daily and offer great shade. Also the price was great and the shipping was quick

Catman
Catman

March 14, 2022

I bought 4 of these shades. They look very nice, and well made.

 jo
jo

March 14, 2022

I have 2 other sunsails of different sizes. This one was for my goat and pig barn to extend shade and cover the kiddie pool for the pig. Perfect size and easy to hook up to our hooks and a t-post for shading the animals.

 HS
HS

March 14, 2022

We mounted this shade over the shallow part of our swimming pool. It works great and gives the pool some shade for most of the day. It does hold some water if it rains hard, even though it eventually drips through. I recommend

 T Kong
T Kong

March 14, 2022

I use this shade over a great big dog pen to shade them. It is great. Just what I needed. It ia big and so it was heavy for me to put up but it can be done. Water can go thru it.

Natalie C.
Natalie C.

March 14, 2022

it was easy to install it’s the perfect color and it works well for patio area

 PTS
PTS

March 14, 2022

A very well made reasonably priced shade sail for the south side of our home. Handles wind well.

 C. C.
C. C.

March 14, 2022

We love it! The color is perfect, sturdy and easy to set up. It arrived in one day, on Sunday! We enjoy staying under.

Marisol J. Marticorena
Marisol J. Marticorena

March 14, 2022

The perfect touch for small area in my patio. I have another one, rectangular, on the other side. I love it

Sheri
Sheri

March 14, 2022

We have had it up for two weeks. Looks great.

H. R. Barami
H. R. Barami

March 14, 2022

my small back yard in houston is breathing again in the dog days of summer. must have.

ANDREW Z
ANDREW Z

March 14, 2022

I have had this up for almost 2 months now and had a hand full of strong storms with high winds come through and it has held up great!

Mollieisms
Mollieisms

March 14, 2022

We bought one then ordered a second one for interest and coverage. We actually have received compliments on the look of these. We have had these for about a year. Some fading but of course that’s expected in full sun in Texas. I would buy again.

Amy
Amy

March 14, 2022

I have been eyeing shade sails for a couple of years.

Ed V
Ed V

March 14, 2022

I initially ordered one to see if it would work for temporary shade for a community moorage party. It arrived earlier than expected and I immediately ordered two more. They gave us the perfect amount of shade and the quality of the fabric is exceptional.

Bajasparky
Bajasparky

March 14, 2022

Absolutely gorgeous I wish I had the yard to do these things

Henry N Smith
Henry N Smith

March 14, 2022

You’re so helpful because you explain everything

Dalena Baker
Dalena Baker

March 14, 2022

What an awesome blog. Just what I needed.

JCQLYN
JCQLYN

March 14, 2022

Thank you for these ideas!

momshops
momshops

March 14, 2022

My son had this installed within an hour. It looks so great my friends are considering purchasing one.

beeintn
beeintn

March 14, 2022

Great quality, like the shade it provides, especially with summer coming, great price!

Rachel
Rachel

March 14, 2022

If you’re like me and can’t stand direct sun you need this. I didn’t have posts installed so I had to get creative and use my nearest trees and longer rope. The tension springs still make them very taught desite the extra distance I have. Love sitting on the deck now.

Hilario Hernandez
Hilario Hernandez

March 14, 2022

So easy to install. Finally after 7years we are able to enjoy eating outside during the daytime. This enhances the shade from the redwoods and cools the area by at least 10 degrees.
Love it!

Karen A. Parker
Karen A. Parker

March 14, 2022

We love this small size triangle sun shade in our back yard. We have a small area up against the house that is pretty to sit in and watch the birds, but a little hot in the afternoons. This sun shade cools the area down significantly, and not we can have some potted plants there also and they don’t cook in the sun. Very happy with this!

Mrs Reiser
Mrs Reiser

March 14, 2022

I bought this for a shade over my horse trough. I had to install a wooden post 10 foot high but it was well worth it.

Barbara Begam
Barbara Begam

March 14, 2022

I used this for a shade cloth in my ghse! So much prettier than a boring old shadecloth or the patio screen door I had on roof of ghse! It adds a touch of class and artwork to my ghse!

Tim90210
Tim90210

March 14, 2022

We live in a canyon with nothing above us so having one of these really diffuses the sun and helps keep leaves off of the deck and patio. It does become a giant sail with high winds but I definitely think it adds a little character to the yard

Designer
Designer

March 14, 2022

So far so good. I bought the white sail and it looks really nice.

VHC Media
VHC Media

March 14, 2022

Purchased to increase the privacy and provide some shade.

Kimberley vidal
Kimberley vidal

March 14, 2022

I was going to use this on my back porch, it would have worked great.

Jamie
Jamie

March 14, 2022

We bought 3 for our back patio in southern California. It provides some nice shade and the color is great. We will definitely buy 2 more to complete the whole thing.

Vincent G.
Vincent G.

March 14, 2022

I use this shade to cover my sun shy garden plants. They get enough sun to thrive without burning in the 100+ weather. This shade actually provides reduced sunlight, not like those super cheap ones that are basically just netting that lets full sun inbetween. Great value. I may order another to expand my garden.

Mary
Mary

March 10, 2022

Best thing about my transformed backyard! It’s now a whole new space that I can use 1/2 the year!! LOVE it!

Kshicks
Kshicks

March 10, 2022

My husband and I built a pergola this spring where we live, but it only gives us so much shade during those hot summer days. We added this shade along part of the top of the pergola, it has been perfect! We have also had some massive wind storms and it has withstood them great. I’m hoping we will get a couple of summers out of these, I would definitely purchase again.

Diva Warrior
Diva Warrior

March 09, 2022

Thank you for these ideas!

Rob
Rob

March 09, 2022

I love how these sails have enhanced the empty space on the side of my house. It has turned an otherwise unusable space into a cozy second patio. With the addition of some string lights it is now quite inviting.

Anna
Anna

March 09, 2022

Best shade, it was well worth it. These sails not only block the sun, but the rains too. You could stand under this in a downpour and not get wet. They are also very aesthetically pleasing, gives a flowy nautical vibe.

Leave a comment