Shade Sail Design

Shade Sails can be used to create a fascinating and modern feature in a garden and they make a terrific talking point; as well as offering functional shade or for providing privacy or shelter from the sun, or even the less welcome elements!


Contemporary 'Twist'

Shade Sails can be erected in open spaces between existing structures, buildings, trees or supported by specifically placed posts. Shade Sails can also be placed at a distance from the fixings by using wire or rope strops as extensions. Putting each corner of the Sail at differing heights will add a 'twist' - which enhances the effect, but do be aware that it will affect the dimensions slightly.  For the best appearance in twisted, architectural looking shade sails look at the Hyperbolic range - these sails include shaped seams.


Multiple & Layered Shades

Alternatively, to cover a larger area such as a patio, hot tub, pool or driveway it is worth thinking about using several smaller Shade Sails rather than a single large one. If larger, they are harder to maintain, put up and take down and create much more wind resistance. Smaller Shade Sails placed together look fantastic and break up what might otherwise be a large block of colour, plus each fixing point is under much less strain.

Fixings can be shared, but please note that with the curves built in to the edges, two shared fixings along the same edge will leave a gap. A solution to this would be to add a third Shade in between these in a contrasting style and/or colour. Repetition of one particular shape can work very well, this could be in the same colour to draw the eye across the whole structure, or in many different colours to break up a large area.


Casting Shadows

If it is simply a ‘sun shade’ you are creating using Sunsure®, you are limited only by your imagination and the constraints on your site. Shades can be placed according to the daily changes in the sun's position (or even be moved and adjustable - by using the rope/pulley fixings). Bear in mind here that the sun rises in the East and sets in the West and (unfortunately!) since the UK isn't that close to the Equator, it rarely comes directly overhead.

Creating Shelter

If you are making a functional outdoor area (or making a 'room' outdoors) with water resistant Shade Sails, and especially if it is your intention to use them continuously in wet weather, there are a couple of important ‘rules of thumb’ to consider:

1. Overlaps between adjacent Shade Sails should be generous. There will always be a certain amount of movement that will allow both sunlight and rain to get through. Each edge is manufactured with a concave curve, this is more pleasing to look at and most importantly, stops the edge of the Shade Sail vibrating in the wind.

2. Waterproof Shade Sails should be placed at an angle and under tension, to prevent pooling and probable damage. We recommend a slope of  AT LEAST  20 degrees gradient (i.e. a 36cm fall in height, over a metre distance) to allow adequate water run off. 

3. Choose an appropriate fabric.  Whilst both the Woven Acrylic Canvas and the Matt PVC are water resistant, the Matt PVC is more dimensionally stable (i.e. stretch resistant) and it will remain at it's smoothest original shape for longer.  The Acrylic Canvas is fine on smaller shades up to around 15sqm. but it may stretch a little on larger shades or those installed under alot of tension.  


Kemp Shade Sails have years of experience in making a wide variety of bespoke structures - our skilled staff have created many large and unusual shapes, and with our experience of sailmaking as a background we are able to tackle unusual designs.


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If you have specific requirements we are always happy to oblige - please get in touch with your measurements to hand (see measuring page) and we can discuss in detail how we can help.