Shade Sail: A Patio Favorite

I discovered shade sails in a catalog over a decade ago. It was love at first sight. Shade sails are a durable, practical and stylish way to shade your patio or deck.

Umbrella Heave-ho

Our first patio table came with the typical center hole for an umbrella. We dutifully purchased a canvas umbrella attached to a pole and called it shade.  Ho-hum.

This system of shade is inefficient as well. The umbrella canvas is unstable, generally fading, fraying or deteriorating within a few years. If you want to move your table, you have to drag the heavy base along with it, then re-orient the umbrella. You can’t use a traditional tablecloth because you have a big pole in the middle and for those of us that like to entertain, a pole in the middle of your table does not a centerpiece make!

Shade Sails Soar

I’m a Canadian living in California with a British Aisles complexion. In other words, I take my shade seriously. The shade sails rock!

Shade Sail Back Yard

Shade Sail Triangle

Shade Sail Closeup

Shade Sail Close-up

We purchased a 16 foot triangular sail in dark green for our garden patio. It’s the perfect size for the space. My sailor husband rigged turnbuckles and sailing rope to two corners of the house, creating anchors for the sail. He improvised the third anchor using a steel pole attached to the back fence.  We hoist the sails when the weather turns warm, and leave them up through October.

Shade sails are made from reinforced knitted polyethylene fabric.  They don’t rot, mildew, shrink, fade, fray or tear and they are resistant to UV-degradation.  We’ve had ours for seven years now and it still looks new.

From a design perspective, they are a lot of fun.  We attached patio lights along the edges and hung the sail high enough that it creates the feeling of an outdoor room.  All this for $150 bucks!

Shade Sail Over Deck

Shade Sail Rectangle

Shade Sail Rectangle

Shade Sail Rectangle Close-up

When we installed a deck in our front yard a few summers ago, we added a rectangular sail shade in light green.   We leave it up through Halloween so we can put our “scary” inflatable spider on top, then take it down for the winter.

In addition to shading the patio and deck, the shade sails keep our house cooler.  Is it any wonder it was love at first sight?

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

  • Check out some of the creative installations at Google Images.
  • Available here in a variety of colors and sizes ranging from 9 to 18 feet (2.7 to 5.5 meters).
  • Shade Sail Outlet offers bargain prices, but a more limited selection of size and color.

15 thoughts on “Shade Sail: A Patio Favorite

  1. The first four images that come up in Google Images are yours! Obviously, Google knows you’re a friend. I would post a screenshot, but apparently that’s not possible.


  2. I giggled a bit when I opened your post, funny because I also had a post prepared today about ‘staying cool’ and talked about the shade since it’s been so stinkin’ hot. Except today, ha, not hot, it’s cool and breezey so I wasn’t feeling it. I really think they’re a nice addition to the landscape, your yard look’s awesome. I did enjoy the links. I see how they put 2 or 3 together in a layer, that really appeals to me. We had talked to a builder about a covered porch, but if it turns out we buy ‘pre-owned’ this would definitely be on my radar now, thanks Alys. PS. you were thoughtful to include metric conversions. Truthfully, this mature Canuck still think’s in feet or inches.


    • Now we’re even thinking alike on schedule! I love it.

      I love the combinations that people put together with those sun shades, especially the multicolored combos. Our yard and deck are far too small for more than one, but if I could I would love to do that. I’m glad you liked them.

      It’s much cooler today here, too! I guess I got my shade post in just in time. 🙂


  3. We also have a shade awnings like yours! We love it. Were looking forward to using it a few more weeks outside before it gets too cold. Just having to bring the umbrella out and place it into the table was such a pain, that’s why we wanted the sail.


    • Thanks for commenting, Marietta! I agree, that umbrella is a pain.

      I had lunch on our patio under the sail today with a dear friend. We have about another month of good weather, though it does vary year to year. What part of the world are you living in?


  4. Pingback: Monday Musings | Gardening Nirvana

  5. Do these come in different styles or colors? I would love to have something like this over our patio! It can get pretty hot outside so it would be nice to have a cover of some sort. We have been looking into a firm wooden one as well so we will have to weigh our options.


    • We’ve been so happy with ours. They come in a variety of colors including light green, forest green, blue and tan. I’ve seen them shaped like a rectangle or a triangle. What I like about the impermanent installation is that we can take them down in the winter, allowing the sun to get into the house. Best of luck with your decisions.


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