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How To Install A Patio Sun Shade

How To Measure A 5 Degree Lean On The Post

If the angle of the post is not exactly 5 degrees from the vertical, it is not a problem. Some suggest 10 degrees and other sites do not even mention having the pole at an angle.

Make a temporary mark on the post; anywhere along its length but usually just above where ground level will be works well. Then measure up the post 40 and make another mark . From the bottom corner of a spirit level measure up the spirit level 40 and make a mark .

Hold the bottom corner of the spirit level at point A against the post. Keeping the spirit level vertical lean the post away from the center of the shade until the distance between points B and C is 3 1/2 .

Increasing the distance between B and C increases the angle; for ~10degree lean make the distance 7 / 18cm.

What Is A Sun Shade Sail

A shade sail is made from a flexible membrane that is stretched between anchor points to create outdoor shade. The design resembles a ships sail. 

Shade sails provide protection from the sun and are fantastic alternatives to a covered patio, pergola, or outdoor umbrella. Plus, you can easily remove them in the cooler months.

Shade sails come in different shapes and sizes. The sail we installed is a rectangle, but they also come in a triangle. The size of our shade sail is 16×20 and as you can see it covers a lot of our backyard, which we LOVE!

Turning The Wooden Posts Into Solar Power Lights

This summer, we took on the project weve been wanting to complete since installing this shade sail canopy.

We turned these wooden shade sail posts into outdoor lights. But not just any outdoor lights.

We turned them into solar power outdoor lights! I got the solar panel on Amazon and mounted it to the first of the 6×6 wooden posts.

I attached lights to the top of both wooden posts, and added a little birdhouse-like box to house the battery and controller.

Check out the full post on how to make solar power outdoor lights using your shade sail posts. 

Attaching Sun Shade To A Tree

YES. Using a tree as a mounting point is often easier than having to install a new post but do consider it for temporary use and make sure it is large enough for the sail. It is very difficult to judge the amount of sideways loading a tree can withstand but as a guide for anything more than about a 20sq / 6m2 sun shade, the tree should be 250 300mm diameter at the attachment point. 

To avoid damaging the tree it is suggested that rather than using metal screws or fixings to attach to the tree you instead pad the tree and then wrap around it a couple of times with a length of steel wire / cable and then attach your turnbuckle to that. 

How To Install Shade Sails

How To Install Patio Shades

Installing your shade sail is a pretty simple job, so long as you ensure you make several key steps. Here is our handy installation guide, complete with easy-to-follow photos.


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1. Choose the right location for your shade sail

Selecting the position of your shade sail is the key first step before you commence installation.

To find a suitable location, check the sun direction and measure the area where you would like to enjoy shade in your garden or patio area. Also check where you would like to barbecue. Do not use your barbecue under your shade structure.

Take your time browsing for your desired sun shade sail there are many different kinds to choose from, as youll have read above. Select a heavy duty high-quality shade sail thats best for your needs and desires.

Always pay attention to the color scheme in and around your house to check if the color of your shade sail matches your outdoor decor.

Remember to select a heavy duty sun shade that blocks out at least 90% of UV rays. Pick up an awning attachment kit to help string up your shade sail correctly, too, as most of the less expensive types dont come with this kit.

Shade sails are not only practical, but they look pretty stylish too, when strung up correctly. Just be sure to choose a suitable location before you commence installation. Consider the size of the shade sail, sun direction, strength of existing structures, the right attachment point and fixing point, and more. 

Go Upscale With A Cabana

Cabanas include a pretty wide range of shade shelters that can be anything from fabric to wood, since pretty much any type of structure that is next to a pool or on the beach and has an opening facing the water is generally considered a cabana. This means that this option could fall into more than one of the above-mentioned categories, but it is worth mentioning separately here, because they are often considered more upscale and they do differ a bit from other options.

For example, in order to call it a cabana rather than a pavilion, most people would say you would need to have patio curtains on at least three sides so that it can be closed off to make a room. Since cabanas are often used as changing rooms for swimming pools and beaches, it would be best to have curtains on all four sides. You could also add curtains to a covered patio with a stick-built roof that is near your pool to turn it into a cabana.

The combination of a solid roof and curtains makes cabanas a particularly good choice for adding shade to outdoor living areas.

Sun Shade Sail Installation Ideas

In this article, well discuss several ways homeowners can install shade sails in their yards. Well discuss shade sail shape and various options for attachment points. Many of these options are DIY-friendly, but in some circumstances, it can be wise to look for professional help.

Now lets get started with our ideas and tips! Well begin with the most exciting one.

Shade Sails Look Great And They’re Built To Last

Shade Sail

We love that we don’t have to constantly move an umbrella around our table to have good shade, and also love that it floats above our seating area without a bulky pole to hold up an umbrella,” Scott explained in a recent testimonial.We  it down for the winter, so the weight of the snow wouldn’t damage it. We put it back up once that threat was gone, in late April this year.We have a unique configuration in our backyard, as we had two natural anchor points on our house, but none for the other two corners. I didn’t want to have to put up dedicated poles for it, so had the idea to use wire rope to anchor it to trees that are further in the distance. The result is wonderful: we’ve strung lights on one of the wire ropes for evening ambiance, and the shade gently rises and falls with the wind , yet doesn’t impact anyone standing underneath it.

Larger Shade Structures Are Best Designed Around Stock Pipe And Panel Sizes

Pragmatically, you design the structure to fit readily available stock fabric widths. Structure framework is generally made from stock 10 and 20 foot lengths of threaded galvanized pipe. Engineers generally specify more than one panel and design around the standard stock fabric widths of 6, 8, 10, 12, 20, 26 and 32 foot stock widths. Order in a stock width and no slitting of fabric is involved in production and panels are much easier to replicate consistently. Rather than a single very large shade panel, clients normally order several smaller panels. Then if a section is damaged, you only have to replace a portion of the whole shade structure. While a hip roof may be aesthetically pleasing, it dramatically increases construction, installation and removal time. Best practice is to design a flat roof. Water will percolate through fabric, so a steep pitch is not necessary when the panel is securely fastened underneath with multiple grommeted pinch pleats. Professional installers invariably begin large panel installation by lacing the center grommeted pinch pleat to central frame member and then pulling taut across width sides and finally tensioning across length, towards two ends in-turn.

What Is A Shade Sail

A shade sail is a patio or deck covering made from durable outdoor fabric that provides protection from the sun. Shade sails are installed by stretching the fabric and using tension to affix the corners of the shade to mounting points . Shade sails are considered a more affordable and versatile alternative to a hard-structure roof. Shade sails come in various shapes, sizes and colors to fit any style backyard.

Of course the main benefit of shade sails is sun protection. Most shade sails block between 90 to 95 percent of UV rays. There are some variations in UV absorption depending on the shade materials weight color and the tightness of the weave, but the differences are typically less than five percent. But if you want maximum sun protection, know that heavier fabric, a tighter weave and darker colors generally block the most UV rays.

You also might want your shade sail to block rain. Shade sails are water resistant but not waterproof. A light sprinkle will roll off the shade, so its important to install it at an angle. In a heavy downpour, water will drip through the shade because its made from breathable woven fabric, which allows air to pass through and keep the shaded area cool. If you want full rain protection, look for a shade specifically categorized as waterproof.

Strategically Place A Movie Screen

We love multipurpose features that play more than one role in your outdoor living areas. When it comes to patio shade ideas, one such feature is a strategically placed movie screen. When positioned correctly, your outdoor screen can provide shade during the day and the perfect spot for an outdoor movie night after the sun goes down.

Determine The Shade Sail Position

Do you want the shade sails to be positioned horizontally, or at an angle?

Horizontal Position

If the shade sails are flown horizontally, they wont pick up as much wind and therefore will exert less structural pressure on their mounting points. Horizontal sails are easier to deal with but offer less visual interest than angled sails.

And horizontal shade sails will provide the greatest amount of shaded area.

Angled Upward

If the sails are flown at an angle pointing upward, they will pick up much more wind. With this additional load, the quality of the mounting points becomes much more of a concern.

Multiple Layered Shade Sails

One great shade sail installation idea is to use multiple sails positioned horizontally at different heights to create a dynamic height environment. This gives vertical interest, but by keeping all of the sails horizontal and using multiple anchor points, this results in less stress on the structure.

Check With Your Local Building Official And Homeowners Association

Learn how to install a shade sail on your patio or deck ...

Before you start your installation, be sure to check with your local building department to ensure that no permits are required for your specific install, and check with local utilities to be sure no underground wires or other unexpected surprises are present in the areas in which you may need to dig.

If you live in a community with a Homeowners Association, youll want to check with them to make sure that there are no specific rules and guidelines that need to be followed in order to set up patio shade sails.

Order At Least 6 Inches Smaller Than Interior Of Framework And Lace With Rope

Wind can whip a loose shade canopy, causing damage, which is why our standard is grommets on one foot on center with double-grommeted corners. A single grommet in the apex of a corner is much weaker, but never attempt to pull a panel from the four corners only. Always lace all four sides to the structure or cable using rope from every grommet to spread stress evenly. Best practice is to order shade panels at least 6 inches smaller than the interior of your framework and then laced in place trampoline-style with 5/16 or 3/8 inch diameter braided rope. The batten tape webbing on our sewn reinforced perimeter hem does not stretch at all. While possible to force a panel to distort and ‘pillow’ in the middle, it is not necessary, especially when  are installed in the middle. Best practice is to order at least 6 inches smaller than interior of framework to provide about 3 inches on each side to tension properly with room for possible variance.

Anchoring panels with fixed ‘static’ fasteners like screws, nail, wire, zip-tie, or chain link, instead of rope, is not recommended. We can make panels without any grommets, but it leaves no wiggle-room for possible variance and pulling knit fabric taut. Accuracy required to hit the middle of a 2by dimensional wood beam or rafter is not gauranteed. Pulling over the top and stapling a panel directly to the wood stresses the fabric and will affect longevity.

Step 1: Install The Shade Sail Posts

After we received our 16×20 shade sail, we laid it on the ground of our backyard. Once we were happy with the location of the shade sail, it was time to get to work. 

From each point of the sail, we placed a stake at least 2 feet away. The stakes mark where a post will be. 

SIDE NOTE: We placed our stakes along our fence line, so the stakes were farther away than 2 feet in our backyard. 

Also, if you are anchoring to a building, you will want to have a distance of about 1 foot from the building to the points.

After marking where each post will go, we dug a hole about 2 feet deep and wide enough for the cement forms. These will help to reinforce the base of the shade sail posts. The cement form has a length of 48 inches and we cut the form in half to make two that were 2ft each.

SIDE NOTE: You do not have to use the cement forms; if you decide not to, dig the hole one foot wide by 2 feet deep. 

Once the hole was big enough for the form to fit, we placed it inside the hole. Then, we set the 4×4 post on top of the gravel inside the cement form and poured 2-3 inches of gravel into the form base.

SIDE NOTE: I stained all the 4×4 posts to match our fence before installing them, using Ready Seal in Natural Cedar.

We installed these posts the same way that we installed the post for our gate/fence so you will find more detailed instructions on that tutorial. 

Next, we leveled the post and secured it in place by leaning some scrap boards against it.

Step 2: Attach The Shade Sail To The Posts

Next, we installed the anchor hardware to the poles, specifically the diamond eye pad. We decided to place ours at the top of each cedar post. 

After, we took the rope and tied a loop knot on one end; this loop knot will be attached to one end of the shade sail with a carabiner. There will be one of these for each corner of the shade.

Next, the shade sail should be unfolded and lying exactly where you want it.

For two sides, we tied another loop knot the distance needed to hook the Turnbuckle to the rope and eye pad hardware on the pole. 

SIDE NOTE: The Turnbuckle can be tightened later using the screws. 

The turnbuckle looks like this when installed:

For the other two sides, we decided to make a loop in the middle of the rope, then weave the end of the rope through the eye pad hardware and back to the loop. The rope is then tightened to make the shade tight. 

Here is how this side looked after it was tightened:

SIDE NOTE: I wrapped the extra rope around and around then weaved the end through the middle to give it a finished look.

And that is how we installed a shade sail in our backyard.

We love having shade in our backyard at any time of the day now. And if we need to adjust it, we just tighten the shade again after the fabric and rope are stretched out. An added bonus is that in the winter we can remove the shade sail and store it away until the warmer months!

I hope this DIY shade sail tutorial will help you have more shade in your yard!

A Host Of Good Better Best Options Just Like Any Project

There are more ways to install a shade panel than there are installers, so installation tips are always presented with Good, Better, Best choices. Best installation practice is lacing with rope from each grommet to structure or stainless steel cable. Large 3/8 inch diameter braided poly best displaces “loft and sail wind-load” evenly onto all perimeter grommets. Always lace in a zig-zag ‘trampoline-style’ pattern using all the grommets. Rope goes through grommet and then around the framework and then back through the next grommet in-line. Never lace a panel such that the rope stretches horizontally between two grommets, since this will cause damage to the un-sewn hem tape surrounding the grommet and void your warranty. Avoid using bungee balls or bungee rope as they degrade in the sunlight too fast and allow the panel to flex too much. Avoid using stiff nylon rope, fine cordage, or wire since they will not flex, like a soft pliable double-braided poly rope. While possible to simply run a stainless steel cable directly through the grommets, lacing with rope from grommets to cable is best practice. Avoid corners-only attachment directly to just the four corners of any shade sail or panel. With grommets every foot  around the perimeter, the cable or structure receives all the stress, abrasion, and tension from the rope lacing, while keeping the patio cover taut without abrasion.

Where And Why Do People Install Sun Sail Canopies

Here are the 5 most common uses:

  • Transform a driveway into a carport.
  • Keep a pool or hot tub cool.
  • Provide shade over a patio.
  • Entertain on your deck before the sun goes down.
  • Make a playground more comfortable for kids.


What about the rainwater accumulating in it, you ask? Yes, that is the issue you cannot disregard. The simple solution is to install the sail at a slight angle. Another is to use a triangular shape instead of a square one. The triangle accumulates less water. There are not many other options, really. Some water will always accumulate. Make sure its manufactured from strong canvas that is tightly stretched. A professional installer will generally recommend that a least one corner of the sail be lower than the others to allow for the rain to run off. If thats not an option, periodically tighten all of the hooks and push the accumulated water out and onto the ground simply by nudging your sail with the long pole.

Weve enjoyed ours for years now, with no problems.

Attaching Sun Shade To Bricks / Cinder Block / Breeze Block / Cement Block

YES. Attaching to bricks can make for a very secure mounting point but it is necessary to make some initial assessments to ensure that is the case. It will also help you to decide if you should use a Pad Eye, with multiple fixings required or simply a single Eye Bolt. The Pad Eye is good as it reduces the load on any one of its fixings but it does require more holes that may not be in ideal places. The Eyebolt has the benefit of only needing to have one mounting point but that point needs to be stronger as it will have all the load.

When drilling into brick walls you will then need to decide if you drill into the brick itself or the mortar. A brick / block in good condition will usually offer a better fixing and will support more load than mortar but there are other things to consider.

For the loads involved with the sun shade, ~60-100lbs just in installation, not including the additional dynamic loads when the shade is wet or in windy conditions, you will require deep holes and expansion-style anchors / rawl plugs. Therefore if you have old, fragile brick drilling into it may not be the best choice. Deep holes weaken the brick and expansion anchors can create enough circular stress to crack the brick. If your bricks show signs of cracks or spalling, drill into the mortar instead. That way the anchors circular expansion forces push against fully intact bricks.

Attaching Pad Eye to Masonry.

Mixing The Concrete For The Shade Sail Posts

I worked with concrete to erect our rebuilt mailbox last year, so I was confident in my concreting skills.

Instead of just 60 lbs of concrete used for that mailbox though, Id be using 320 lbs for this.

I started with just 2 bags at a time in my wheelbarrow.

I kept adding in more and more water with my hose, mixing each time with my square head shovel, until I got a slightly runny consistency that I liked.

Then, I made sure to give the concrete a thorough mixing. I didnt want any unmixed powder pouring down the shade sail post holes and creating weak spots.

Heres a picture of the concrete being mixed in the wheelbarrow.

Notice one of the wooden 6 x 6 posts in the background with the temporary support strips keeping it in place:

How To Properly Install A Shade Sail

Outdoor Sun Shade Sail Courtyard : The Creative Room ...

When it’s hot outside and you want to barbecue, it’s nice to have some shade. If your deck or outdoor area is lacking in overhead protection, one way to get it is to install a shade sail. This relatively inexpensive option does take some basic tools, but within an afternoon you should be able to enjoy a new, shady spot in your back yard.


Measure the area you want to cover in feet and inches, and then use a ruler to make a scale sketch of the area on a piece of graph paper. Use the squares in the paper’s gridded pattern to represent the space in your area; 1 square on the paper equals 1 foot.


Inspect the area for nearby eaves or building studs, posts, poles or other materials to which you may be able to attach a sail fastener, such as an eye bolt or bracket. The ideal sail size will be one that will cover the area you want to cover but also leave about 12 to 18 inches of space around its edges, to account for the space its ropes will occupy. If such supports exist, add them to your scale drawing. If one part of the yard doesn’t have anything to which you can attach a sturdy bolt, you’ll need to build something appropriate in that location.


Sketch 3-point or 4-point sails on a separate piece of paper, cut them out and place them on top of your drawing to see how different sails will work in your space. Find common sail layouts on sites such as or








Covered Patio Idea For A Desert Home

While its nice to soak up some sun, take cover from intense rays with a triangular canopy. Secure enough to handle winy days, the shade sail is stretched between three metal poles, two of which are an integral part of the structure of the house. Having the patio mostly covered makes it a comfortable place to workout or to relax. Matching the color of the sail to one of the entry doors gives this setup a casual flair.

Benefits Of Installing Outdoor Shades

Through this piece, we have reiterated the advantages on offer with patio shades. When youve got them functioning, these are some of the features on display.

1. Cooling down the temperatures inside the building, thus leading to lower monthly bills.2. Protection against glare, and ultraviolet and infrared radiation.3. Providing privacy as well as space for hanging out during summers.4. Providing a fabulous appearance to the exteriors.

When you install the outdoor sun shades, you will garner compliments from people for your refined taste in home decor. Exterior shades, thus, not only do the primary job of sun protection but also create space for adding furniture and other items outside. Just like indoor window treatments, they come in a variety of room darkening and sheer fabrics to compliment your style and tastes.


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