Shade Sails: What are they?

November 17, 2015

We’ve all heard of awnings and patio covers, but do you know what a shade sail is? It probably sounds like something you would see on a boat. But, these nifty shade structures are actually devices that are used to create shade outdoors. In fact, the design and technology of a shade sail are based on a ship’s sail thus its name.
​Shade sails use a flexible specialty fabric membrane that is stretched for tension between anchor points. These structures can be seen at places including:

  • Schools
  • Buildings
  • Businesses
  • Playgrounds
  • Backyards

Shade Sail

​Much like an awning or patio cover, these structures provide shade and protection from the harmful rays of the sun and from rain. The fabric used to construct these structures are shade cloths that are made from things like acrylic, vinyl, and canvas. The fabric can be made UV Ray resistant, mold and mildew resistant, and come in a variety of colors.

​These structures are quite amazing to look at and can vary in shape and size. You might even see these structures constructed in layers which offers a creative aesthetic for businesses and playgrounds.

Types of Shade Sail Designs

Traditional Shade Sails are attached to posts or other structures like you see below.

“Hypar” Shade Sail


Shade Sails

For larger areas, Hipped Canopies can be a great solution. 

Hipped Canopy


Double Hipped Canopy


Four Hipped Canopies

Shade Sails can also “cantilever” past their posts. This can be used for more interesting looking shading projects or when posts need to be out of the way.

Cantilevered Shade Sails

Shade sails are great alternatives for awnings and canopies. These can be set up outside as stand-alone structures. They don’t need to be attached to a building. If you have a large backyard you can also use a shade sail for your parties and gatherings. 
For more information about shade sails, contact us today to see how we can help you. You can also visit us at You can also call us if you have any questions at 800-654-5933. Or email us at