Quick Tips for Installing Shade Sails in Your Backyard

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Shade sails can make a backyard more comfortable and more inviting, as they give you some shade from the sun without making the space feel enclosed and claustrophobic. Shade sails come in a variety of styles and colors so they can also give the space some personality and keep it from looking like every other backyard on the block. If you're thinking of installing shade sails in your own backyard yourself, you want to ensure you do this right. You don't want the shade sail sagging or to get damaged because of a poorly planned installation, so note a few quick tips for how to install them on your property. 

1. Remember tension

If you don't have a pergola, tree, or other such fixture to which you'll be installing the shade sail, you will need to install your own posts, but remember the tension required for the shade sail to remain stretched across your area. You also need to figure space for the mounting hardware. Typically you'll want to add about 10% of the sail's length to the distance between two mounting points so that you can stretch the sail adequately, and also account for the length of the mounting hardware. In other words, if a sail is 90 inches wide, you should add another 9 inches between the two posts on which it will be mounted, so they should be 99 inches apart.

2. Avoid heat and flames

You typically don't want to keep your shade sail over a barbecue area or any type of open heat source. If you use an outdoor heater or fire pit, be sure you note the heat resistance of the shade sail material. Having the shade sail sit too closely to this heat source or any type of open flame could mean the risk of it catching fire itself. If you must put a shade sail over a cooking area or outdoor heater, be sure there is plenty of room around the shade sail for the heat to escape and that the sail is mounted high up enough to be away from any flames.

3. Consider low posts for variety

If you install your own posts for shade sails, consider having one or two low posts or anchoring at least one corner of the shade sail to a lower position. This will stretch the shade sail down and give you some privacy from neighbors, protection from the wind, and the like. This can also give your backyard even more visual appeal as it becomes easier to see the side of the shade sails when they're tilted downwards along one corner.