Shade Sails

Europe’s number one Shade Sail company supplying shade structure installers,

landscape and playground specialists, commercial venues,

and high-end residential clients with sails

from the highest quality fabrics.

Shade Sails

Europe’s number one Shade Sail company supplying shade structure installers,

landscape and playground specialists, commercial venues,

and high-end residential clients with sails

from the highest quality fabrics.

Shade Sails

Europe’s number one Shade Sail company supplying shade structure installers,

landscape and playground specialists, commercial venues,

and high-end residential clients with sails

from the highest quality fabrics.

The Complete Shade Solution

We offer a comprehensive range of architecturally designed custom-made shade sails that are at the forefront of innovation when it comes to shade solutions. With our extensive selection of exclusive, premium quality materials and industry-best warranties, we are confident that we can completely meet and satisfy your shade requirements. Our offering of standard and custom shapes and sizes are available across a range of designer colours to enhance your existing decor.

Understanding Shade Sails

Supplying premium quality sails throughout Europe, we’re proud of our commitment to offering our customers the quality of service and the fair price they deserve from a UK company. If you have ever interacted with an overseas Shade Sail business, you know getting someone genuine to listen to you and offer the right solutions can be difficult. You can rest assured that you will be dealing with a company that understands your particular needs and will be there every step of the way to ensure complete satisfaction.

Garden Party
Fabric Shade Sail

The Highest Quality

Unless you are looking for a single-season sail, quality should be your first consideration when investing in a shade sail. Low prices are no comfort if the product doesn’t last, so we are here to ensure your return on investment is maximised. The architectural grade fabrics used in our shade sails may not be the cheapest on the market, but they will last much longer than available alternatives. We offer the best quality products with 100% recyclable, flame retardant, and UV, stain, dirt and grime resistant options using patented technology. All of our sails are engineered by our experienced team, using CAD designs and state of the art technologies. We’re so confident in our commitment to industry-best products, that we offer industry-best guarantees of 10 to 15 year warranties.

Fast Turnaround

If you need your shade sail quickly, talk to us about your deadline. Utilising a streamlined process developed by an experienced team, we’re able to turn around your order quickly and efficiently — meaning you get your order when you need it and at a fair price.

Playground Shade Sails
Shade sails at Harrington Park

Wide Range of Custom-made shade sails

Designed and manufactured to precision, we offer custom-built shade sails according to the needs of your project. With an extensive range of designer colours to accommodate your desired style. Offering eco-friendly (100% recyclable) and premium grade fabric (the strongest shade mesh available), we promise world-class workmanship and the use of the highest quality materials to ensure a robust and long-lasting shade sail.

PVC Sails

Made bespoke to your exact specifications, we offer the largest collection of 3D architectural fabric membranes to comfortably shelter large areas. The durable fabric used provides robust stability and long-lasting use due to exclusive, patented technology. As with our custom-made shade sails, these are 100% recyclable, stain, dirt and grime resistant and available in a huge range of designer colours to suit your decor.

Blue and Red Shade Sails
Shadetec 320 Shade Sails

Ready-made Shade Sails

Our ready-made range comes in set sizes and a huge selection of designer colours, manufactured to your specifications when you place your order. These are heavy-duty sails that will comfortably withstand extreme weather, which is why we’re happy to offer 13-15 year warranties. Available in a range of sizes and colours that will allow you to stand out from the crowd. Ideal for residential settings, our ready-made range has been designed for easy installation.

Recent Projects

We offer a comprehensive range of architecturally designed custom-made shade sails that are at the forefront of innovation when it comes to shade solutions. With our extensive selection of exclusive, premium quality materials and industry-best warranties, we are confident that we can completely meet and satisfy your shade requirements. Our offering of standard and custom shapes and sizes are available across a range of designer colours to enhance your existing decor.

A brief history of the Shade Sail

The sail shade in its most basic form has been around for thousands of years with the Ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans first utilising them. The modern day sailshade has evolved from the Bedouin tent whereby a canvas canopy stretched over supporting wooden poles and was held secure by guy ropes. The modern version of the custom-made shade sail started to gain popularity in the 1970s, where they were used to shade patios in place of the traditional pergolas and arbours. Their use became more universal from the 1990s onwards as more durable and inexpensive fabrics were employed that also increased protection from UV light.

 

What is a Sun Shade Sail and how is it made?

Typically, a sailshade commonly comprises of a piece of cloth made from knitted monofilament HDPE yarns. If you have a greater budget and want a waterproof shade sail, these are manufactured using flexible polyester PVC coated membrane.

The shade sail is designed to be installed under tension by using curved sides, called ‘catinary edges’ of between 5-8% of the length of the sail. Once the sail is attached securely to its fixing points and the correct tension applied these edges, in trying to pull straight, hold the fabric tight and prevent the sail from any flapping or sagging. In each corner of the sail there is an attachment point, usually a ring, that will connect the sail to a fixing point (supporting post etc). Along the perimeter of the sail, you will find either sturdy webbing or steel cable depending on the type of shade sail you choose. The shade sail needs to have a tensioning device such as a turnbuckle between the attachment point on the sail and the fixing point on the post.

Why install a Sail Shade?

The main reasons for installing a premade or custom shade sail are:

1. Proven to block harmful UVR

The provision of UV protection during the hotter months of the year is now advisable in many situations and most summer outdoor activities require protection from UVR whether sunscreen, shade or protective clothing. The provision of a high-quality shade structure in outdoor areas where people can shade is arguably the safest protection there is. Bespoke shade sails can also be used to protect your property and vehicles; UVR is known to accelerate fading and deterioration of furniture, furnishings, and paintwork.

2. A cost-effective method of providing shade to large areas

Shade sails can provide a flexible and cost-effective solution and aside from domestic use, can be installed in a range of commercial premises covering large areas such as school playgrounds, swimming pools, cafes and restaurants, kennels, communal playgrounds, and car parks.

3. Lowers power costs and keep you comfortable

Sailshades attached to your house can help moderate the temperature inside your house which can result in boosting your energy efficiency rating.

4. Aesthetically pleasing

Modern and inviting bespoke shade sails can increase the value of your home or set off your venue as somewhere special, colourful sails can add interest and three dimensions to playgrounds.

5. Flexibility in design

Custom sun sails come in a range of colours, materials, sizes and shapes, options include triangle shade sails, rectangular and square shade sails.

6. Relatively easy to install

With a variety of methods of installation, standard shade sails or custom shade sails can be installed between posts or using an existing structure. Fixings are available for a wide range of options.

What is Ultraviolet Radiation (UVR) and why is it bad for us?

UVR is discharged by the sun and is undetectable by the human eye. It is UVR that causes sunburn and other damaging effects on the human body. Overexposure to UVR can also lead to skin cancer. UVR is most dangerous during the midday hours between 10am and 4pm. However, it does not mean the sun is any less strong when it is cooler. You can still burn on a cloudy day.

Whilst UVR in small doses can be good for us as it provides us with Vitamin D, research shows that getting sunburnt just once, between the ages of 15-25 years, can increase your risk of getting skin cancer. Whilst four sunburns can double your risk of skin cancer.

Shade Factor and UVR protection can be used interchangeably but they are not the same. A product with shade factor does not necessarily relate to UVR protection, you need to consider both Shade Factor and UVR Block when choosing a sun shade.

Things to consider when planning the installation of a Shadesail:

1. Is the shadesail the best option for me?

Custom-made shade sails are highly effective solutions for many settings but in a very few circumstances may not work. We have summarised the pros and cons for you when considering the purchase of a sailshade.

  • Custom shade sails are a cost-effective low maintenance solution.
  • Although we do not recommend removing your sail too regularly, it may be removed (depending on design) seasonally to protect it from snow build-up or ahead of any very high winds.
  • There is a wide range of colours, shapes, materials, and styles to choose from which allows for your custom sunshade to blend in or stand out. Bespoke shade sails allow for flexibility and can be custom-made as square sail shades and triangle shade sails or to fit irregularly shaped areas. A custom-made shade sail will be an attractive feature in any outdoor space but work best in work well in symmetrical four (or more) sided shapes.
  • Large shade sails allow for circulation of cool air creating ventilation and cooler temperatures. However, once any dimension is over 10 metres you should be considering whether it would be better to use multiple smaller sails.
  • Some coverage is lost due to the curvature of the sail and on outer corners where the tensioning devices are fitted. Sail shades do not work as well for non-symmetrical, thin areas.
  • Consideration should be given as to whether sails are the right solution for very exposed areas such as balconies or rooftops.
  • Sun shade sails are often a better solution than a parasol or awning, but while waterproof options do provide extra benefits, they should not be considered as a replacement for a fixed fully waterproof canopy particularly where cover is required right up to a building.

2. Do I need planning permission to install a sail shade?

Each planning authority can impose different rules and regulations. Some authorities stipulate that any structure of a specific size will require approval, while others look more specifically at the location and other factors.

Some authorities may consider a sail as a non-permanent structure. While the material used to make the shade sail will generally not imply a permanent structure, the concrete used to secure the supporting posts could.

The vast majority of our clients do not obtain any type of planning consent, and while we are not authorised to give any legal advice on this, a common-sense approach would be to ensure you are not doing anything anyone would have reason to object to. Look at whether the shadesail will affect the view from, or light to, a neighbour’s property. Consider whether the shade sail affects the appearance of the neighbourhood or be very visible from the road.

If a large shade sail is to be installed within a commercial setting, getting proper advice on this is important. Schools and hospitals benefit from different planning regulations and we are happy to advise further on this.

3. Should I purchase a ready-made shade sail or bespoke shade sail?

A readymade shadesail will normally be the most cost-effective option and available the soonest. Our range of standard size sail shades includes:

Equilateral Triangle Shade Sails – All sides are equal in length

3.7 x 3.7 x 3.7

4.3 x 4.3 x 4.3

4.9 x 4.9 x 4.9

5.5 x 5.5 x 5.5

6.1 x 6.1 x 6.1

Right-Angle Triangle Shade Sails – Right angled sides are equal in length

3.0 x 3.0 x 4.3

4.6 x 4.6 x 6.5

6.1 x 6.1 x 8.6

Square Shade Sails – All sides are equal in length

3.0 x 3.0

3.7 x 3.7

4.3 x 4.3

4.9 x 4.9

5.5 x 5.5

Rectangle Shade Sails – Different width and length

3.0 x 3.7

3.0 x 4.3

3.7 x4.3

3.7 x 4.9

3.7 x 5.5

These ready-made sails should not be confused with the cheap shade sails available online. If you want a sail for under £300, then it is worth checking Amazon and other gardening websites and DIY outlets.

Purchasing a custom-made shade sail, sometimes called bespoke shadesail, will allow for more design creativity. It will typically result in a more professional finished, with each side being exactly the right size meaning you can cover all of the area you intended to and take advantage of existing fixing points. It will be custom-made to fit the precise area you are covering.

4. Can I install a sun shade sail myself?

Many of our clients are trade installers but a typical size patio shade sail can be fitted by any competent person. The instructions on this website can guide you step-by-step on how to install your sun sail shade and what you will need for the installation. And of course, you can also choose to undertake certain tasks of installing your shade sail structure, while outsourcing other elements.

5. Where should I locate my shade sail?

You should consider the following when deciding where to position your shadesail:

  • The direction of the sun

Firstly, you should consider where the sun rises and sets on your outdoor space. The sun rises daily from the east and sets to the west. You will also need to take into account that during the autumn and winter the sun is lower in the sky.

You should plan the location of your sun sail shade to maximise the amount of shade you create in the summer months. Naturally, most people will visualise the shade sail being installed directly over the area they want shade such as an outside seating area. However, this will only work during the middle of the day due to the movement of the sun.

If you want the shade sun sail to provide shade in the morning then the sail shade will need to be moved towards the sunrise and likewise for the afternoon, closer to the sunset.

We suggest using chalk to mark the area you want covered and observe where the shadows project over that area to give an idea as to whether that location for your sun shade sail is optimal. You need to bear in mind that these shadowed areas will move depending on the time of year. If you want to look into this in more detail, there are some more options:

Use aerial photographs

Using Google Maps to view your property from above and looking at its orientation will often help.

Use an app on your smartphone

There are some good apps to help you locate the path of the sun all year round. Two of these are:

These apps use your phone’s GPS and compass to display an accurate representation of the sun’s path through the sky in your location.

Both apps have 3D augmented reality camera overlays as well as integrations with Google Maps.

Use an online tool

There are several good online tools for visualising the path of the sun at your location.

  • SunCalc – easy to use and gives you an intuitive representation of the sun’s path laid over a Google Map image of your location.
  • Sollimis – provides a similar service, again based on Google Maps. It uses a different way of representing the sun’s light shining on a point, you may find this tool more intuitive than SunCalc.
  • Sunchart – From the University of Oregon Solar Radiation Monitoring Lab. This one provides an easy to use tool to generate an accurate map of the sun’s path for your location.
  • FindMyShadow – this tool shows the sun’s position and shadow cast for the specific date and location you specified.

Model your site in 3D

  • Find My Shadow has a tool that allows you to make a simple model of your buildings and create a Bespoke Shadow Position Plot.
  • If you are particularly keen you can create a 3D model of your site in SketchUp. SketchUp comes with solar modelling and can show you how the sun enters a building or garden. There are lots of great SketchUp tutorials on YouTube.
  • Strength of existing structures that could be employed as fixing points

When deciding to use existing fixtures as fixing points you need to consider whether they are structurally sound and can bear the heavy loads that will be placed on them by the fabric sail, particularly during periods of bad weather. We do not recommend using trees as fixing points for your shade sail.

  • Ability to install supporting posts into the ground

You will need to think about where is best to dig to avoid pipes, drains and cables etc.

  • Location of BBQs, patio heaters, etc

Shade sun sails should not be used near a naked flame nor a source of high heat so do not position your sail shade near to or over your BBQ or firepit.

6. What type of sail edging is best?

There are essentially two different types of shade sail edging available to choose from.

  • Webbing Perimeter

Unless otherwise required this is our standard detail and makes for the most straightforward fitting. A perimeter webbing, sometimes called seat belt webbing, is sewn into the hem or directly on to the edge of the cloth. These shade sails require less tension to get them tight and are lighter and easy to store.

  • Continuous Cable

This shade sail is manufactured by sewing a hem throughout the perimeter of the sail shade and then inserting a steel cable into this hem. The cable will overlap on one of the corners. As the shadesail is tensioned, the cable slides around and finds its own natural position. Before any amount of tension is applied, the wire-rope grips are locked off and the tension is then transferred onto the perimeter cable. This design is widely used but requires a further degree of installation ability.

What can I use to support my shade sail?

We would recommend using custom-made supporting posts, but you can use existing structures such as walls, fascias, garden structures and buildings as fixing points. However, judgment is required when using any structure that is not a supporting post due to the load that can be placed on existing structures, particularly when there are strong winds. Not only should you consider the potential damage to your sail, but also to any existing structure. If you do choose to use existing structures you should ensure they are structurally sound.

What should the shade sail posts be made of?

Although treated timber can be a more economical solution and will work for sails under 16 square metres, we always recommend using steel columns for the main supports of your sail.

The obvious rule of thumb is that the larger your shadesail, the larger the supporting posts will need to be. One of the most common mistakes made when self-installing shade sails are that supporting posts are simply not deep enough in the ground or that the material the posts are made from is not strong enough. We have further advice on post and foundation sizes here in our resources area.

If I choose a Hypar design what height will the supporting posts need to be?

The lowest height of a post should be whatever you are happy with but we say 2.1 metres above ground level to account for tall people, and so that the shadesail does not feel on top of you when you are under it. There is then an easy formula to use to calculate the height of the ‘high posts.’

Take the length of the longest side of your shade sail and multiply it by 20%, for example, if it a 5 metre by 4 metre:

5000mm x 20% = 1000mm

You will then need to add 1000mm to the height of your low post. You can, of course, use a greater difference if you wish. For waterproof fabric, you should use 25%.

How do I measure the accurate fabric sail size for manufacture?

A vital part of the process to get accurate is obtaining the measurements of the sail. For the purposes of this guide, we will use a Hypar four-point sail. This task requires two people and a tape measure that is long enough to measure the longest diagonal.

Firstly, you will need to allocate one attachment point as Point A. Working in a clockwise direction, apportion the outstanding attachment points, Point B, C and D. You will then measure the distance between Point A and B, B and C, C and D and D and A covering the perimeter of the sail.

Next, you need to take diagonal measurements by measuring the distance between Point A and C and B and D.

Measurements should be taken from the inside edges of the eyebolt (sometimes called the pulling face). Do not try to allow for the tension mechanisms/shackles as we make allowances for this in manufacture. If you have an existing sail to measure off or have your own mechanisms then you can give us the overall corner to corner measurement of your sail, but we won’t be able to take any responsibility for this not fitting.

The last measurements are for the height of each of the posts, measured up to the eyebolt due to the need for 3D projection, particularly for designs such as the Hypar. You will need to ensure that the land is flat, and if this is not the case then you will need to create a piece of string and run it around the posts ensuring it is level by using a spirit level. Accuracy of the actual post height is not as critical as the difference in heights between them.

Please see our measuring advice sheet and use our measuring forms on our resources page when placing an order.

What do I need to consider when ordering a shade sail?

When purchasing your sunshade sail you should evaluate the following:

  • The material – While we could go into great detail about the composition of various fabrics, this guide is written mainly for the DIY customer. Our simple advice is to look at material weight, this is given as a (GSM) (grams per square meter), and the length of warranty on the fabric. If in doubt ask for a sample, don’t buy from a company who can’t or won’t send you a small sample.
  • The stitching – You need to ensure that the stitching on the sun shade sail is of high quality and you can do this by ensuring the manufacturer uses a PTFE quality thread in the stitching. This type of thread is more expensive, but it will contribute to the longevity of your sun shade sail. There is little point using high-quality fabric if it is stitched together with thread that will fail.
  • The Corners – The perimeter webbing or cabling is affixed to a ring that should be made of stainless steel and be heavy duty. A webbing strap sewn into the material of the shade sun sail supports the ring and keeps it securely in place. You should also look for supplementary stitching in the corner to provide extra support and overall neat workmanship as these are all indicators of a good quality sun shade sail.

What fixing accessories will I need?

Tensioning Devices:

Each fixing point will require some form of tensioning mechanism. Our preferences are stainless steel Rigging Screws, also known as Barrel Strainers, Tensioners, Turnbuckles, Bottle Screws or Adjusters. To achieve the required tension, the mechanism is unscrewed allowing for one end to be attached to the eyebolt and the other to the ring on the shadesail. When it is screwed back in, tension is applied.