Choosing The Right Shade Sail

What is a shade sail?

Shade sails are a great way to add a versatile and semi-permanent shaded area to your outdoor space. They are made of fabric and come in a variety of shapes and sizes to suit your space. Sail shades can be fitted to a variety of surfaces such as walls, trees and structures to give you shade anywhere you need it. They are also great for sun protection, the Kookaburra range has a minimum of 90% UV ray protection to provide a safe and shaded outdoor space for the whole family.

With such a big range of shapes, colours and sizes, it can be hard to know what will work best for your outdoor space. We’ve created a guide to help you decide which shade sail is right for you.

Decide on the space you would like shaded

You’ve most likely got an idea of where you want your sail shade to be installed in your garden, however, unlike more permanent shade solutions and structure, sail shades are easily moveable.

Identify the structure you want to attach it to

Attaching your shade sail to existing structures such as your house or garage is a good start. If that is not suitable, then you will need to consider buying posts to hold your shade. 

Most importantly, you will need to install at least one corner of the shade sail lower than the others to allow any rainwater to run off. If the sail shade is either not taut enough or installed at an insufficient angle, rainwater will accumulate on the waterproof shade fabric like a bag causing the fabric to stretch or tear. We recommend at least a 30-degree angle of incline for each shade sail, providing the shade is sufficiently taught.

Find a suitable anchor point

Find a suitable anchor point for each corner of the shade sail, such as those listed below. Bear in mind these need to be strong enough to take the strain of the shade sail material when tensioned and in windy conditions.

Fixing points should be at least 7ft 10inches above the ground. This could be:

  • A wall or strong beam
  • A suitable tree
  • A wooden post at least 100mm diameter set in the ground
  • A metal pole at least 48mm diameter set in the ground
  • A metal pole at least 48mm diameter fitted into a sleeve in the ground, like a rotary washing line.
  • Posts Wall or Fascia Trees. If you need to install posts, these should be 48mm wide galvanised steel which is 4mm thick. Posts should be angled away from the centre of the shade sail by at least 10 degrees to provide additional strength and stability.

Choose your material

Shade sails are available in 2 materials. We’ve made it easy to compare which one is right for you.

Waterproof Shade Sails:

  • UPF 50+ (Blocks over 98% of harmful UV rays - certified)
  • 2-year manufacturer's warranty as standard
  • Waterproof, ideal for unpredictable weather
  • High-density polyester (160gsm UV stabilised)
  • Machine washable at 40 degrees Celsius
  • The whole length of each side is strapped for tension
  • Grade 304 stainless steel D rings at each corner
  • Rot proof, easy to clean

Breathable Shade Sails:

  • UPF 15 (Blocks up to 93.3% UV rays - certified)
  • 10-year manufacturer's warranty as standard
  • Made from 320gsm HDPE mono-filament commercial grade polymer weave fabric (don't be fooled by cheaper low quality, lightweight versions)
  • The knitting process leaves tiny holes in the weave enabling heat to escape through the fabric whilst maintaining high UV protection
  • Extremely strong, durable, fully recyclable knitted fabric
  • Grade 304 stainless steel triangle rings at each corner - very strong 8mm diameter
    The whole length of each side is strapped for tension (not just the first 12")
  • Rot proof, easy to clean.

Choose a shape

Shade Sails come in a variety of shapes to suit the space you need shaded. Triangle and Right angle Shade Sails are great for protecting an outdoor corner sofa whereas Rectangular and Square Shade Sails will fully cover a patio or decking area.

Choose a size

Measure the area you need to cover bearing in mind that when the sun is at its hottest, it will be directly above you. As a general rule, the material of your shade sail should begin about 12 inches from your anchor point.

Choose a colour

Unlike some other shade solutions, Shade Sails are an attractive way of creating shade. They come in a variety of colours to suit your outdoor space. From Azure blue to Charcoal grey and our bestseller Ivory - add a pop of colour or complement your colour scheme.