When planning a shade sail design, do not forget to consider the angle of the sun and where the shadow cast from the shade sail fabric will be located. Shade sails should slant sufficiently as to prevent water from temporarily pooling during rain. A slope of at least 1:6 is recommended. Larger triangles or flat sails require more of a slant to facilitate shedding of rain.
You can increase the strength of a square or rectangle shade sail by twisting the sail into a hyperbolic parabola. You can also achieve a 3rd dimension by attaching one corner of the square or rectangle significantly higher than the other corners.
Ideally, any one side of a shade sail should not be longer than 25-30 feet. Larger sails may be possible but are not generally recommended. Long and narrow triangle shade sails should be avoided. Preferably, the longest side of a triangle shade sail should be not more than twice the length of the shortest side of the triangle.
A long cable or chain should be used on only one corner when connected to an mounting point. Other corners should be attached directly to a mounting point with a turnbuckle. The use of long cables or chain on more than one corner of the shade sail allows it to move up and down excessively during wind which will increase the wear on the shade sail and in turn reduce the longevity of the shade sail.
Shade sails are not intended to hold snow and should be taken down in climates where snow is a possibility.
Shade sail installations with several smaller overlapping sails connected at different heights provide for a more interesting and dramatic look than just one or two larger non-overlapping sails. To avoid chafing of the fabric, overlapping shade sails should have a minimum of 8"-12” distance between them. Otherwise, windy conditions may cause the sails to rub against each other and may damage the fabric over time.
Following these suggestions you can look forward to enjoying a practical and esthetically pleasing sun protection for years to come.
Sample Shade Sail Layouts
Below you will find a few sample layout ideas using our most popular size shade sails. The possibilities are endless, so don't feel limited to these ideas.