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Shade sails are your solution to the blazing sun in the backyard and gardens. They are cheap to buy and easy to install. These structures are made using the same technology used in building ship’s sail, and that is the origination of their name. 

Shade sails have a flexible waterproof fabric that is tightened on different anchor points. They are common structures in outdoor areas such as playgrounds and parks.  

Outdoor waterproof shade sail we installed in Echuca

Origin of Shade Sail 

The start of shade sail can be traced back to ancient Egypt, where Egyptians built shades outside their houses using pieces of fabric. The Romans and Greeks took advantage of technology and installed shades not only at home but at the Colosseum in Rome to cover their spectators. 

These shade sails were made from linen, cotton hemp, and canvas, thus making them sturdy and durable. Their usage increased in the mid-20th Century when tensile architecture was used to install shade sails in large outdoor areas such as in Sidney Myer Music Bowl in 1959.  

Today, synthetic materials such as PVC are used in making the modern shade sail you see in most places.  

Types of Shade Sails 

Shade sails are used in different ways; however, their primary goal is to offer protection against UV rays and rain. The following are different shade sails available in the market. 

1. Waterproof Shade Sails 

These are shade sails that are on the top of peoples’ minds when the two words are mentioned. Waterproof shade sails are made of durable PVC material, thus making them ideal for the tropics because they can withstand heavy rains and hot sun.  

They are commonly used in fabric structures, parking shelters, and architectural membranes. 

2. Arched Canopy Shades 

This is one type of standard shade sails that is porous. It’s a freestanding structure with an arched canopy and available in different sizes and shapes. 

The shade is mostly used in garden areas and parking garages. The shade sails are sun-proof and can be water-resistant when made using waterproof material. 

3. Umbrellas Shades  

The umbrellas shades are part of standard shade sails that are fastened to a post or tree. They are one of the standard types of tensile shade construction, although many homeowners don’t recognize it as a shade sail. 

Umbrella shade sail can be made from waterproof materials to enhance their ability to offer protection against both rain and sun rays.  

The shades are universal in gatherings of a small crowd, picnics, and pools. They are small in size and are not long-lasting. 

Different Shapes of Shade Sails 

There are different types and shapes of waterproof shade sails. You can install shade sails that have a square or triangular shape and with 5, 6, and more points. 

Square and Rectangular Shade

These shades cover a full area, thus offering protection to many people. One of the challenges with this type of shade sails is that they allow water to build up and sag in the middle. Further, these shapes are not as attractive as compared to the triangular ones. 

Triangle Shape

Triangular shade sail we recently installed in Echuca

It has a fashionable shade sail. These shade sails are layered top of each other to offer maximum coverage where they are installed. 

Further, these shades are suitable for smaller locations; however, you can install in a larger area if you lay them one on top of the other. The shade sails are not prone to sagging or pooling of water like the square shades sails. More so, they are attractive. 

Tips on Purchasing Shade Sails 

There are many shade sails in the market; however, not all of them can offer maximum protection from rain and UV rays or are long-lasting. 

The following are factors that you should consider when purchasing shade sails. 

The Quality of the Material

Different fabrics are used to make shade sails. The material can be made of perforated fabric, thus permeable, and although the structure provides you with coolness, they are not waterproof and will not protect you when it’s raining. The material has substantial weaves that permit water and air to pass through. This reduces the pooling of water and sagging. 

The second material is waterproof, thus impermeable, and offers you maximum protection against rain and sun. These sails have tightly woven material that allows water pocket during heavy rainfalls. 

Shapes and Dimensions

Shades can cover an area of 2-8 meters. Shade sails can have rectangular, square, triangular, trapezoidal, or hexagonal shapes. Rectangular and square shade sail are functional, while a triangular shade is installed due to its aesthetic look.   

The Purpose

You must establish why you are installing the sails on your property. The following are some of the reasons why you may want to install a shade on your property.  

  • To help enhance the aesthetic value of the property. 
  • They are alternatives to gazebo, parasol, and awning. 
  • To protect you against UV rays when having a nap outdoors or eating a meal during sweltering weather. 
  • An arrangement of triangular sails can serve as a windbreak and allow light and fresh air to pass through. 
  • Shade sails improve the outdoor area of your home, thus making it attractive and inviting for your family and friends to spend more time outdoor.   


You have several colours to choose from based on your preferences, the architectural design, and the surroundings. You can install shades sails with bright colours in areas with no or little sun to enhance the appearance of this space. 

Dark-coloured shade sails tend to lower temperature and create a relaxed atmosphere. They are also ideal in a sunny area to avoid blinding you when the sunlight is bright. 


Shade sails have been in existence for several centuries, and technology has improved the materials used in making these structures. Install waterproof shades to protect your family and friends from UV rays and rains. 

Choose a triangular shade sail for its aesthetic value and a rectangular or square shade sails when you want to cover a considerable area. Echuca Shade Sail Installations are experts that can inspect your property and recommend the colour and shape of shade sail that suits your backyard or garden.

For more information contact us at 0491 737 518 or email us at [email protected]

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