How to Install a DIY Sun Shade Sail for a Patio

Learn how to install a DIY sun shade sail for a patio in just a few easy steps!

In this post, I will show you how you can create a shade cover for your outdoor space like a patio. I will show you the supplies we used to install ours as well as show you the shade it provides on our back patio!

The summer months can be brutal if you enjoy spending time outdoors! The heat from the hot sun can make it unbearable even if you have shade structures like a wood pergola or open gazebo. But here is the good news – it is so easy to install custom shade sails to your existing pergola like we did!

Sun shade sails are becoming more popular because of their practicality and function. Plus, they are so stylish!

This post is sponsored by The Hues. All opinions and installation tips are my own.

The following post may contain affiliate links. That means if you click and then buy something, I will make a small commission at no additional cost to you! Thank you for supporting my blog. full disclosure here.

Supplies

  • custom-sized sun shade (more about getting yours later in the post!)
  • Manufacturer’s hardware (for regular installation)
  • additional hardware: Weather resistant heavy duty eye bolts & quick-release chain link, turnbuckle, rope (we have a pergola with specific needs)

The Hues

The Hues reached out to me when they read our blog and saw the many DIY projects we have taught here. After reviewing their website, I knew this would be a simple project my readers would enjoy. 

The Hues company has a special offer for my readers! They want you to get your own sun shade at a discount! Use my code to receive 15% off of your order! Use the code below at checkout! Click HERE to shop!

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The Hues website offers many items including high-quality curtains and indoor shades, outdoor curtains for patios, washable rugs and of course, Sun Shade Sails!

Most of us love a good deal and this good quality sun shade is a very good deal. I’ll explain how I know later in this post with the story of our backyard shade saga!

For now, let’s go over the steps we took to install our sun shade. Once you see how easy it is, you can create a shady spot to enjoy your backyard patio or any other area that needs shade!

Pictures of different styles of sun shade sails.

Choose Your Location

There are several spots you can choose to hang a sun shade. Our sun shade is on our back patio. But you can have shade anywhere you need it! This post will tell you how to install this shade sail for a patio with a pergola.

We have used an inexpensive shade cover meant for a greenhouse secured to our pergola. This is not the intended use for this covering obviously! We needed something better!

Old shade cloth on top of a wood pergola with a man removing it.

Step One Measure the Space

Take the measurements of the space using a tape measure. Our space measures 20′ x 18′. It is a good idea to watch the movement of the sun and the shade your home will create as the day progresses. 

The sun shade is meant to fit tight without any slack. If you have questions about the size you need for your outdoor space, use the chat feature on The Hues website. They are there to guide you to the perfect shade for your needs!

For our outdoor living space, the sun is the hottest during the late afternoon and into the early evening. Knowing when you will spend the majority of your time when you are outdoors will help you to determine the size of the shade sail you need.

Close up of hardware metal rings on an outdoor sun shade.

thanks for being here!

I hope you are enjoying this project! Let me know if you have any questions. Or leave me a comment to tell me about your project and ideas!

thanks, Cindy 😀

Step Two Order the custom-made Sun Shade Sail

The Hues makes this step so easy! Once you have chosen the style of shade sail you want, simply use the drop-down menu and add your measurements to the correct fields. Sun Shades come in rectangles, squares and triangles. You will be able to configure one perfect for your space!

You will also choose the color you want. We chose beige so that it would match our home. You can choose from colors such as white, royal blue, hunter green and others! 

Keep in mind darker colors will make the space dark while lighter colors will brighten the space.

There is also a field to order the hardware you need according to the size of the sun shade. We had to get additional hardware from our local hardware store because we were installing our sun shade differently than most people would due to our wood pergola.

Step Three Install the Hardware

The sun shade can be installed on any wood surfaces such as the framing of your home. You can also attach the shade to a metal structure such as a fence.

Wherever you attach the hardware for the sun shade, make sure it is a secure structure. In other words, don’t stick bamboo poles in the dirt and expect them to hold the sun shade! Use common sense when deciding on the attachment points.

Our hardware is secured to the wood frame of our home for three of the corners of the shade. The fourth corner of the shade is attached to the wood pergola.

Use the enclosed screws, turnbuckles and brackets that come with the sun shade sail.

It is best to hang the shade sail at an angle so that rain water can easily run off. Keep this in mind as you plan!

Step Four Connect the Sun Shade

You are in the home stretch! Hook the carabiner to the metal loop on the sun shade and then connect it to the hardware that you just installed. If you need to add tension, simply turn the turnbuckle until you have created a tight fit! That’s it!

You can also use the rope included with the hardware to add tension to the shade sail.

Our shade sail is on top of our wood pergola and comes in contact with the wood cross beams. My hubby came up with a great way to protect the touch points of the sail.

He cut small sections of a grey pool noodle and placed them over the edge of the wood. This protects the fabric from coming in direct contact with the edge of the wood.

You will notice that our pergola is wider than the sail. That is not a problem because of the way the sun moves around our home. The patio is still in complete shade with this custom shade sail!

Area on a patio under a diy sun shade sail showing the shady area and the sunny area.

Care and Maintenance of the Sun Shade Sail

You can enjoy your sun shade all summer long! No more sweltering days in the sun when you are trying to enjoy the outdoors. 

Here are some tips to enjoy your sun shade for years to come and make it last for many years.

  • Install the shade sail at an angle so that rain water will run off.
  • Remove the shade if the weatherman warns of high winds.
  • Take the shade sail down during the winter months when not in use. Fold it up when it is completely dry and store it in the shipping box it came in.
Backyard cement patio area with dining furniture, potted plants and a sun shade attached to a wood pergola to provide shade.

Our Sun Shade Story

If you are anything like me, you are interested in why people make the decisions they do. I thought you might be interested in our 28-year history with our lack of shade problem in our backyard.

We built our home over 28 years ago after buying 1 1/2 acres from a farmer friend. That meant our home would be in the middle of a field – no trees, no shade! We bought countless umbrellas over the years, each one costing more than the previous one. 

With each new umbrella, I thought, “This will be the ticket to have shade in our very hot and very sunny backyard.”

That wasn’t the case. I estimate we spent $1000 on umbrellas over the years. The waste of money drives me crazy! 

Shady area on a cement patio with a pergola that has a diy sun shade attached to it. Hanging baskets with ferns and a potted hydrangea for outdoor decor.

Then we finally had the good idea of building a pergola. My hubby along with one of my nephews built our DIY backyard pergola for only about $500. 

Of course, that was many years ago and lumber prices have gone up. If you check prices at your local Home Depot, you will see that wooden shade structures cost much more than $500. 

Plus, the open concept of the pergola still allowed the hot sun to come through. The heat and brightness made it impossible to enjoy our outdoor space!

So we got another DIY idea! Let’s get a shade cloth from Harbor Freight. These shade cloths are made for greenhouses and allow some sun to come through. They are not waterproof either. 

This solution wasn’t terrible but it wasn’t the best either. Our back patio still became hot and our furniture was soaked through each time it rained. We had to think of some other way to provide shade for our patio!

That’s about the time The Hues reached out to me! The timing couldn’t be any more perfect! Our new sun shade has been up for several weeks and we couldn’t be happier. It’s beautiful, provides the needed shade for our backyard patio and it took under two hours to install!

Use my code at checkout to receive 15% off your sun shade!

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Area under a wood pergola that has a sun shade attached to provide shade on an outdoor pergola covered patio with dining furnture.

Shop for Your Sun Shade!

If you have any questions about our shade, please ask in the comments I would love to help!

The Hues would love to help you create shade in your backyard space too! They have kindly offered a 15% discount code to my readers and followers.

Be sure to use my special code to receive the discount when checking out. Doing so will help to support the free DIY tutorials I offer here as well as get you shade from the blazing sun in your backyard!

Click below to shop for your sun shade! Use the code below to save 15% at checkout

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Shade area below a patio pergola showing how a sun shade sail provides shade for an outdoor eating area

YouTube Video

I’m a busy little bee getting our patio refresh video ready for you to watch! Check back here to watch!

Subscribe to my YouTube channel so you don’t miss it! Click HERE to subscribe!

Backyard Patio Refresh for Summer

Join me as get a patio ready for summer!

tap to watch!
pinterest graphic with text overlay DIY Install a Sun Shade Sail on Your Patio

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Cindy Rust

Cindy has been decorating her home with thrift store finds for 40 years. She is an avid thrift store shopper who loves to makeover the items she finds into vintage-inspired home decor and furniture. When she isn’t thrift shopping or painting a piece of furniture, you can find her making homemade butter, working in her garden, or painting with watercolors.

Common Question about Sun Shade Sails

Should the Sun Shade Sail stay up year-round?
I suggest you take the sun shade down during the winter months of the year. Although this sun shade is made from heavy-duty fabric, you will want to make it last as long as possible!

Does the sun shade sail have to be installed at an angle?
It is recommended that the sun shade be installed at an angle that will cause rain water to run off, at least 10*.

Is The Hues Sun Shade Sail water-resistant?
Yes, the sun shade is made from water-resistant 100% polyester material.

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