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Shade Sail Installation Guide - Top Tips on How to Install a Garden Sail Shade

Shade Sail Installation Guide - Step by Step Instructions for installing a shade sail

Installation Guide for your Clara Shade Sail

Clara Shade Sails are a great way of providing an area of shade in your garden, patio or other outdoor space.

They are simple to fix into place and with a little preparation, you can have them set up within no time, especially if you follow our Shade Sail - 8 Steps to a Successful Installation guide.

Here are some options for you.

Free Spirited Method for Smaller Shade Sails

Shade Sail Installation using tree and rope


For the smaller sizes, or where you are using it very temporarily and want it up nice and quick then all you need is some rope and/or screw hooks and something in mind to tie your shade sail to.  Trees, hardy bushes, fence posts, facias, sheds, summer houses or even washing line poles – they all make excellent temporary fixing places for the lighter shade sails.  The list expands if you are going on camping trips, picnics and other trips away from home.  See our “Shade Sail your Holiday” blog for more inspiration.

Simply feed the rope we provide (or use your own if you need more) through the D Rings (the metal buckle at the corners of each sail, shaped like an uppercase letter "D") and then wrap and tie the other end of the rope around the object you have in mind.  Alternatively, use the D Rings to simply hook your shade sail onto suitable hardware such as everyday screw hooks such as the one below that you can buy from your local hardware store.

Nylon Rope and Screw Hooks

Nylon Rope for Shade Sail InstallationScrew Hooks

With this method of fixing we DON’T recommend that you leave your shade sail out overnight or during very wet weather.  You are unlikely to have positioned it at the right angle or likewise securely enough to stop the rainwater puddling in the middle.  Beware of strong overnight winds too! – Look after your sail. 

A More Secure Way of Fixing your Sail – Suitable for all sizes, recommended for larger ones.


For the keen DIY’er and if you are looking for a stronger and more resilient fixture in your garden or business space; maybe you want to leave out overnight, avoid creases, make it even easier to put up and take down and keep your sail sailing well through the summer months then it would make sense to take some time to properly plan your installation before purchasing.

Things you need to include in your planning.

Fixing points

Many customers plan to use the side of their house, outbuilding, fence or garden wall for some of their fixing points and then where needed they supplement with posts or poles.

Posts and poles come in a variety of styles, and it is important to ensure that your chosen post is up to the job. Thin posts can bend or snap under the weight of a shade sail.  The sail itself needs to be supported, and extra stress will be placed on the poles if the wind blows or if rain falls. 

Square, wooden, fence like posts or round, wooden poles can all be purchased from your local wood merchants or DIY store.  A diameter of 125mm for round and 125mm x 125mm for a square one would seem like a reasonable minimum width.  To be very secure, most posts require a hole in the ground to be dug and a mix of gravel and concrete laid to support the pole securely in place and avoid movement.      

Other ideas, which you would need to investigate and use at your own risk (as we haven't tested them – please note!) is to get some bolt down metal plates which your post can fit into – this might work if you want to secure directly to stone-ground or patio.  Another idea might be to look into some of the fence post spikes that are on the market, installing at a slight angle away from the sail or using ratchet tie-down straps may help support the posts if the spikes are subject to a bit of movement.  Either way with both these alternative options you will need to consider whether they will be strong enough to take any pull from the sail.


We recommend investing in a specialist set of shade sail accessories/fixings such as the ones below that we supply. They include pad eyes for fixing to walls, posts or poles, snap hooks or carabiners for easy attachment and turnbuckles for extra tension. Our kits are marine grade stainless steel, heavy-duty so strong enough for any type of installation.  You will need to purchase your screws separately and your choice of screw and possibly raw plugs will depend on whether you intend to fix to a solid brick wall or a wooden structure, however, we do recommend that you use a screw that is a minimum of 2.5cm long.



There are two important measurements when installing a shade sail. First, the distance between the fitments, and second, the height of the posts.

The distance between the fitments should match the size of your sail . Adjustments can be made to a certain degree with the type and amount of fitments and/rope you decide to use, but the closer you can get to the right size, the better.

The height of the posts will also play a factor. Remember that you must install your sail at an angle of 20-30 degrees, depending on the size of your sail, to allow any rain water to run off.  Where some posts are higher than others, a diagonal line will be involved which will change the length of your measurement.

Before committing, always measure twice to make sure, and if possible, measure from opposite ends. If your measurements don’t match, start again!

Attaching your shade sail

Once you have your fixing points, posts and fixtures all in place and secure, then its time to bring out the shade! 

Carefully unwrap your sail and without dragging it along the ground, open it up and start to hook each D ring onto your chosen fitments.  The sails have curved sides for pull and tension so once when you get to the last corners you can pull and tension.  Once up, the turnbuckles can be very useful to enable you to retighten the sail periodically.

Remember to check that you have installed sufficiently at an angle and also ensure that the seams are facing down.  Check that the Clara Shade Sail label is on the underside of the sail.

See our blog on taking care of your Clara Shade Sail for more information on how to look after your sail.

All that's left is for you to enjoy your shade sail.

Happy Shade Sailing!