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Shade Sails

Shade sails are a versatile and cost-effective solution for creating shaded outdoor spaces. They are typically made of durable, weather-resistant fabric that is stretched taut over a series of anchor points to create a cool and comfortable area. Shade sails can provide relief from the sun's harmful UV rays, make outdoor areas more practical in summer, and add aesthetic value to any outdoor space.

We go into further detail about the construction and installation of shade sails so you can determine the best option for your outdoor living space.


  • Types of shade sails
  • Materials used
  • Colours and designs
  • Installation options
  • Benefits of shade sails
  • How much do shade sails cost?
  • Maintenance tips
  • Considerations before purchasing
  • How to choose the right contractor
  • Questions to ask your contractor
  • FAQs


Types of Shade Sails

There are several types of shade sails to choose from, depending on the size and shape of the outdoor space you want to cover.

  • Triangular shade sails: A popular choice for covering smaller outdoor spaces, such as patios and decks. They are available in a range of sizes and colours and can be installed in a variety of configurations, for example, shade sails for carports.
  • Square and rectangular shade sails: Ideal for larger outdoor spaces, such as playgrounds, public parks, and commercial properties. They can be customised to fit specific measurements and offer more coverage than triangular sails.
  • Custom-shaped shade sails: For unique outdoor spaces, custom-shaped shade sails can be designed and manufactured to fit any size or shape. This option allows for more creative freedom and customisation, for instance, shade sails over pool areas.

Materials Used

Shade sails are typically made of one of three materials: high-density polyethylene (HDPE), vinyl-coated polyester, or mesh fabric.

  • HDPE: A popular material for shade sails due to its high tensile strength and resistance to UV rays. It is also lightweight and easy to clean.
  • Vinyl-coated polyester: A more durable option, as it can be used to make waterproof shade sails that are resistant to mildew and tearing. It is often used in commercial settings where durability is key.
  • Mesh fabrics: Offer a balance of sun protection and air circulation, making them a great choice for outdoor seating areas and playgrounds.

Colours and Designs

Shade sails are available in a range of colours and designs, allowing for customisation to fit any exterior aesthetic. Solid colours, striped patterns, and custom graphics are all options to consider when choosing a shade sail.

Popular ideas for shade sails include black and white, green and beige, and blue and white.

Installation Options

Shade sails can be installed in a variety of configurations, depending on the outdoor space and anchor points available. 

  • Wall-mounted shade sails: Anchored to a building or other structure, and can provide shade for outdoor seating areas, patios, and balconies.
  • Freestanding shade sails: Anchored to poles or posts, and can be installed in a variety of configurations to cover larger outdoor spaces like playgrounds and parks.
  • A combination of wall-mounted and freestanding shade sails can be used to create a custom shading solution that covers all areas of an outdoor space.


Benefits of Shade Sails

Shade sails offer a range of benefits for outdoor areas. They provide protection from the sun's harmful UV rays, reducing the risk of skin damage and skin cancer. Shade sails can also help keep outdoor spaces cool and comfortable by reducing heat buildup and providing shade.

They also create a sense of privacy in outdoor spaces, making them ideal for residential patios and decks. They can also add visual interest to outdoor spaces and can be customised to fit any design style. Finally, shade sails are a more affordable option for creating shaded outdoor spaces compared to permanent structures like pergolas or gazebos.

How much do shade sails cost?

The cost of shade sails in Australia can vary widely depending on several factors, such as the size, shape, and materials used. On average, a standard-sized shade sail in Australia can cost anywhere from $200 to $1,500 upwards, with larger or more complex installations costing more. The price may also vary depending on the brand, the level of UV protection, and the installation method.

It's important to note that while cheaper shade sails may be available, they may not be as durable or long-lasting as higher-priced options, and may not offer adequate protection from the sun's UV rays. It's important to consider your specific needs and budget when choosing a shade sail and to look for high-quality options that will provide the best value for your money in the long run.

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Maintenance Tips

To keep your shade sail in good condition, it's important to clean it regularly to prevent the buildup of dirt and debris. Mild soap and water can be used to clean most shade sails. For tougher stains, a fabric cleaner or a mixture of vinegar and water can be used.

It's also important to inspect your shade sail regularly for signs of wear and tear. Any tears or fraying should be repaired immediately to prevent further damage. If you live in an area with harsh weather conditions, such as strong winds or heavy rain, it's recommended to take down your shade sail during these conditions to prevent damage.

Considerations Before Purchasing

Before purchasing a shade sail, there are several important considerations to keep in mind to ensure that you choose the right option for your needs.

Size and Shape

The size and shape of your outdoor space will determine the size and shape of the shade sail you need. Measure the area you want to cover carefully to ensure that you purchase a shade sail that fits properly.

Sun Exposure

Consider the amount of sun exposure your outdoor space receives. If you live in an area with intense sunlight, you'll want to choose a shade sail with a high UV protection rating to ensure that you and your family are adequately protected from the sun.


Consider the durability of the shade sail. Look for a shade sail made of high-quality, weather-resistant fabric that is designed to withstand the elements. A well-made shade sail will last longer and provide better protection than a lower-quality option.

Installation Options

Consider the installation options for your shade sail. Some shade sails require specific anchor points or a specific configuration to be installed properly. Consider the available anchor points in your outdoor space, as well as any specific installation requirements for the shade sail you're considering.


Finally, consider your budget. Shade sails are generally more affordable than other shading options like pergolas or gazebos, but prices can still vary depending on the size, shape, and materials used. Set a budget before you begin shopping for a shade sail to ensure that you find an option that fits both your needs and your budget.

By keeping these considerations in mind, you can find a shade sail that meets your specific needs and provides long-lasting protection and comfort for your outdoor area.


How to Choose the Right Contractor

Determining the most suitable contractor for shade sails installation means finding someone who can complete the job to the highest standard within your budget.

Here’s how to find the best contractor for your needs:

1. Get Several Quotes

Enter the information outlining your job on, and we'll provide you with a list of local tradespeople who can help do the job.

2. Narrow Down Your Options uses a three-tier badge system to help you make the best choice.

We recommend selecting a tradesperson with the highest level (badge 3 – ‘recommended’) from our three-step verification process.

3. Do Further Research

Once you’ve narrowed down your choices, check out the company’s online presence to get an idea of its reputation and service offering. View their website and social media pages to see customer reviews and the quality of their work in photos.

Questions to Ask Your Contractor

Here are some questions that can be helpful to ask when hiring a professional to install your shade sails:

  • Can you provide references from previous work?
  • Are you licensed or insured?
  • How long have you been in business?
  • How do you communicate with customers during the process?
  • Are you flexible with your schedule, and can you work on weekends if necessary?

Shade Sail FAQs

What are shade sails?

Shade sails are a type of outdoor shade structure made from a flexible, weather-resistant fabric that is stretched tightly over a series of anchor points to create a shaded area.

What are the benefits of using shade sails?

Shade sails provide protection from the sun, help make outdoor areas more often usable, and can add a stylish and modern touch to outdoor spaces. They are also typically more affordable than permanent structures like pergolas or patio covers.

How long do shade sails typically last?

The lifespan of a shade sail depends on a variety of factors such as the quality of the materials used, the amount of exposure to sunlight and weather, and how well it’s maintained. However, most shade sails will last between 5 and 10 years with proper care.

Can shade sails be used in windy conditions?

Shade sails are designed to withstand moderate wind conditions, but they may need to be taken down during high winds or storms to prevent damage.

How do I install a shade sail?

Shade sails can be installed using a variety of methods depending on the type of surface they are being attached to. Typically, they are secured to anchor points using hardware like turnbuckles, eye bolts, or snap hooks.

How do I clean and maintain my shade sail?

Shade sails should be cleaned regularly to prevent mould and mildew growth. To clean a shade sail, use a soft brush and mild soap solution, then rinse thoroughly with water. It's also important to regularly inspect the sail for signs of wear and tear and to tighten any loose hardware.

What size and shape of shade sail should I choose?

The size and shape of your shade sail will depend on the size and shape of the area you want to shade, as well as the location of the anchor points. It's best to consult with a professional installer or manufacturer to determine the best size and shape for your specific needs.

Who can install shade sails?

There are several types of professionals who can install shade sails in Australia.

Shade sail installers: These are professionals who specialise in the installation of shade sails. They have the necessary knowledge and experience to install shade sails correctly and safely, including shade sails for driveways, decks, and other areas.

Landscapers: Many landscapers also offer shade sail installation services as part of their overall landscaping services.

Builders: Some builders also have experience in installing shade sails and can offer installation services as part of their overall building work.

DIY: You may choose to install your own shade sails if you have some DIY experience and feel confident in your abilities.

Shade Sails Near Me

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All the costs quoted were sourced at the time this article was written. They are to be used as an AUD cost guide and may vary locally, and are subject to market changes.

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