Shade Sails and Canopies: What are they Really For?

January 29, 2017

​We’re all familiar with what an awning or a patio cover is. But, most of us aren’t aware of what a shade sail or a canopy is. In fact, most us don’t know that there are a variety of shade structures that can be used for homes and businesses. Two of the most common types of shade structures you see but probably don’t know the name of are: Shade Sails and Canopies.
So what are shade sails? What are canopies? Here’s a quick rundown:

Shade Sails: these are shade structures designed like a ship’s sail. Using anchor points, these can be free standing or attached to a building. The fabric used in a shade sail is flexible and uses tension to keep it taught and in place. Shade sails are meant to be permanent fixtures. These are also stylish and can be layered near, above, or next to each other to create a beautiful design. These can come in various sizes and colors. 

Shade Sail


Hipped Canopy

Canopies: are shade structures that can extend farther than a traditional awning. Canopies are held up by poles and can be attached or fixed to a building. Free standing canopies are also available. Canopies usually extend over a doorway or a walkway. These can come in various shapes and sizes and colors. 

PictureHypar Shade Sail

​So what are shade sails for? Where are they used? Shade sails are used for a variety of purposes including but not limited to:
·      Playground shade
·      Building shade
·      Restaurant shade
·      Leisure or Lounge area shade
Now let’s talk about canopies. These can be used for:
·      Hotel walkways
·      Entryway paths
·      Lounge areas
·      And more

Shade sails offer an aesthetically appealing option. Canopies are a little more traditional in their look and feel. However, both provide the same function: shade and protection from the sun. Remember, if you have any questions about what you should install for your next shade project, talk to your local awning shop and ask about your options. 

​For more information about awnings and other shade structures, feel free to contact us at American Awning & Blind Co by visiting us at Or call us at 800-654-5933. You can also email us at