Tips for Choosing a Shade Sail Design

Tips for Choosing a Shade Sail Design

Shade sails may look like simple structures given they are not permanent and only require posts and/or fixing mounts for their installation, but let me tell you, choosing a shade sail design can be much more difficult than you may think. And, unless you have good knowledge of shade sail design principles, choosing a design is often best left to the shade sail installer.

However, if you’re keen to get a better understanding of the principles behind shade sail designs, then this article is the guide you need. Continue reading as I share with you my personal tips on how to choose a shade sail design.

Know the sun’s orientation

To get the best location for your shade sail design, it pays to know the suns orientation path throughout the day. The shade that a shade sail casts in the morning will not be the same at midday or the afternoon. During summer, you will only have direct shade under the shade sail at midday. The variance needs to be accounted for in the design to provide effective shading when you need it the most.

At Ashadya we have software that can model the shadow pattern created by a shade sail in the summer months, to ensure the shadow pattern created by a shade sail is covering the correct area, at the correct time of the day.

Know your area

The location and the shape of your area will play a significant role in a shade sail design. Measure the area to calculate the square meterage and identify possible fixing points or post locations. If you’re relying on existing structures for your fixing points, make sure they are strong enough to support the shade sail. Additional fixing points or posts can be added if needed.

An added tip about your area, remove any high heat sources such as a BBQ, fire pit or pizza oven from beneath the sails. The heat from an open flame will reduce the longevity of the shade sail fabric.

The shade sail design

In regards to the design of the shade sail itself; my number one tip is to avoid three-sided shade sails (the traditional triangular shade sail). They may offer easier installation because they only require three fixing points, but they offer half the effective shade of a four-corner hypar shaped shade sail. Three-sided shade sails are also flat and more prone to sag and flap over time as it has no 3D shape for structural strength to make it sturdy.

A hypar shaped shade sail is a good starting point for designing a shade sail. It allows for great tension by installing two opposite corners at a lower height than the other two corners.

Get the height right!

The most important aspect of a shade sails design isn’t what it looks like. While you want it to look great, it’s more important that it meets its purpose, and that is to provide shade.

The most important element in proving the right shade isn’t as much its shape or design, but the height in which it is installed; the lower it is installed, the more shade that is provided below. However, install it too low and it will rub and catch objects. Install it too high and you will lose some of your shade covering. The key is to install it at the optimal height.


Choosing a shade sail design isn’t as straight forward as you may think. Without understanding the design principles of a shade sail, you’re likely to choose the wrong design.

Therefore, to choose the right shade sail design, follow these simple tips know the suns orientation, know your area and make sure the fixing points strong enough to support the sail, avoid triangular shade sail designs and make sure it’s installed at the right height.

If you’re ready to order your shade sail, get in touch with Ashadya. We will go over the shade sail design options with you showing you the modelled shade pattern during the day, to ensure you get the very best sail to supply maximum shade to your area. Call us today on 1300 570 901.