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18 Things to Consider Before Buying a Shade Sail

shade sail considerations

18 Things to Consider Before Buying a Shade Sail

If like us you can’t wait for summer and are already looking forward to spending as much time as possible in your garden, then now is a good time to get your head around what you will actually need to get the most out of summer this year.

If you love the look and have been thinking about buying a shade sail but haven’t yet committed to making that purchase, the following covers all the things you need to consider to ensure you make the right purchase for your space and how you intend to use it.

So, before you splash out your hard-earned-cash on a shade sail, as the saying goes; ‘the devil is in the detail’ – Here’s our top tips for what to consider: 

  1. How much shade do you really need? - really think about your space/garden and what you use it for to help you think through the amount of protection you need?                                                                                                         
  2. Do you want to shade your entire garden, or only a patio, deck or perhaps if you live in a flat, your balcony or terrace?
  1. If you have a large area to shade, do you want one large shade sail or do you want to consider combining multiple shade sails to create a unique look?
  1. Think about the sun and how the direction changes throughout the day, our informative article ‘Follow the Sun' will help you with working this out.
  1. Consider what times you and your family, use the garden; morning, afternoons or evenings – or maybe all day?
  1. Why do you need coverage; for example, do you want to cover a large area so that your children can play comfortably in the afternoon sun, or do you need to shade a BBQ area?
  1. What shape of cover would best suit your needs and space, square, rectangle or triangle?
  1. Do you have an outdoor dining area that needs to be shaded or do you want to create a quiet reading corner in the garden?  What other uses do you have in mind for your shade sail?
  1. Do you care about colour or do you want a neutral colour that will go with everything?
  1. How can I use the shade sail throughout the year to get more bang for my buck?
  1. Do I have a conservatory or sun room that it could also work in or maybe a play den or kids bedroom?
  1. Does your shade sail have to give you both sun and rain protection - we all know what English summers can be like? Some shade sails are made from HPDE which is a permeable material with lots of small holes in it.  This means that water will drip through, but then so will some sunlight.  Other shade sails, such as our own Clara Shade Sails are made from colourfast, quick drying, PE coated, 100% high density polyester fabric so provides up to 98% UV protection and is waterproof so perfect for the UK's unpredictable weather.
  1. Do you have any big events coming up where you want to provide shelter from the sun (or rain) for your guests?  Parties, BBQ, Weddings or special occasions?
  1. Do you want a semi-permanent or permanent shade sail or just a portable one to take to the park or picnics with you?
  1. What type of structures and fixing points do you already have and where are you missing somewhere to secure your shade sail. Do you need to install shade sail poles?  
  1. Identify the accessories you will need to install you shade sail  Do you need outside help to complete the job?  
  1. Do you need planning permission for your shade sail? Very unlikely but you might want to read our planning permission article for reassurance.
  1. What is your budget ? Shade sails prices and therefore quality of products can vary considerably, as a guide:

Low-cost Shade Sails

Low cost shade sails start at around £15 for very small sizes and go up to around the £50 for the medium sizes.  They are usually made of lower quality, much thinner fabric with single stitched seams only.  Often the corners are just eyelets or ribbon/webbing loops rather than D Rings.  UV protection will be less and they are definitely only suitable for very temporary use.    

Mid-range Shade Sails

Start at around £40 for the smaller sizes up to £60 for medium sizes and above £100 for the much larger sizes that aren’t generally available in the lower cost market. 

High quality, density rich fabric, double stitched seams, marine grade D Rings and curved sides built for stretch and pull.  Can be used as more of a permanent structure and are designed to withstand the great British weather. See our article on top reasons to buy a Clara Shade Sail for more details.


High-cost Shade Sails

Prices start in the early £1000’s – usually custom made and includes a full planning, design and installation service. 


Shade sails look fantastic in any space and are such a versatile accessory for your home and garden.  The possibilities are endless and each installation is very unique, so we do appreciate that the purchase journey can be a bit overwhelming.  If you are considering buying one but don't know where to start we really hope the 18 considerations listed above help you make the right decision for your own individual space.  

If you have any questions please get in touch.

Happy Shade Sailing !