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Stay Cool & Look Cool With A Backyard Sun Shade Sail

Use a sun shade sail to cool your yard

If you’re fortunate to live in a region with a lot of sunshine, you’ll appreciate having some shade in your yard at times.

Sunshine is great but it can become a bit overwhelming when the temperature stays high.

A special canopy or awning to create shade will help reduce glare, and make your outdoor living more enjoyable.

Installing a sun guard doesn’t just provide shade in your yard.

It can look cool and add some style as well. Installing one (or more) is well within the capabilities of the average DIYer.

What is a Sun Shade Sail?

A sun shade sail (sometimes referred to as sun sail, shade sail or sunshade sail) can provide some relief from the heat and brightness of the sun, as well as enhance the enjoyment of your outdoor living.

Simply, it’s a piece of water-resistant fabric (mainly plastic) styled as a canopy or awning. It can be erected in your yard to block sunlight, and provide protection from the sun’s harmful UV rays. Usually triangular or rectangular in shape, they are stretched taut between three or four mounting points, and installed at an angle to allow any rain to run off.

The cloth is strong stitched to webbing that holds a D-ring (preferably made of stainless steel) in position in each corner. These D-rings are used to connect to the hardware that anchors the sail and keeps it taut.

Shade will make your backyard areas cooler, and your outdoor activities more relaxing. You can beat the heat and reduce the sunlight wherever that’s needed. That could be a playground sun shade for the kids, a patio shade cover, or a pool, deck or pergola cover. Even your outdoor pets are likely to appreciate shade over their hutches as well!

Styles and Colors

Sail Styles

You have a choice between three and four-sided sails. That's a triangle, rectangle or square. Triangular sails provide a bit more flexibility when installing in small areas. 

You can use a combination of several sails together if you wish, mixing shapes and color, and overlapping the sails to achieve the effect you want.

Sail Colors

There's a good range of colors. Sand and terracotta are fairly neutral and go well in many yards, as does grey. You can get brighter colors though. If you are shading a children's outdoor play area they'll probably prefer a splash of red, yellow, blue and green.

What Size Do I Need?

This will depend on the location of the attachment points you can use in your yard. You will need to measure the areas you wish to shade, and calculate accordingly.

You should allow for a distance of 18 - 24 inches from the corners of the sun sail, to each anchor point, when calculating your sail requirements. Also, bear in mind that the sides tend to be curved and not straight. This allows the sail cloth to be kept taut more effectively.

How To Install A Sun Shade Sail

Your sail needs to be held in position by anchor plates. These can be located on your house or garage, on walls, trees, or wooden or metal posts  installed in the ground just for this purpose.

Anchoring to existing structures is preferable as they tend to be more rigid and therefore stronger.

If using poles, they must be able to withstand the weight of the sail in windy conditions. Rain and wind can create a lot of drag on the fabric, so sturdy anchor points are essential. Poles should be set in cement in the ground and leaning about 10 degrees from the vertical, and away from the center of the sail. This helps to increase tension in the sail.

Installation instructions are usually provided by the sail manufacturer. You will need to buy all the mounting hardware separately though, and they are usually sold in sets.

These would consist of:

  • Eyelet plates (Pad Eyes) which are screwed to the anchoring points
  • Turnbuckles to adjust the tension when the sail is installed
  • Carabiner (Snap Hooks) connect the D-rings on the sail to the eyelet plates
  • Screws for securing the eyelet plates in position

You can choose from a range of sail hardware installation kits HERE!

A sun shade sail can bring both practical and cosmetic improvements to your yard and at a reasonable cost. They are easily removed for the winter months. The sail cloth can be cleaned and stored away until springtime.

Could you install one in your yard? Check them out.