We had a problem and that problem was summer gets really HOT in Utah, making it hard to do anything in our backyard unless we have shade. But guess what, we have none in the middle of the day, so we can do nothing during this time. Eric was really tired of this and decided to change that. His solution was a large sail shade. Have no idea what I am talking about, it looks like this.
The one we installed is a rectangle but they also come in a triangle. Our sail shade is 16’x20’ and as you can see it covers a lot of our backyard, which we LOVE.
Do you want to see the process we used to install our sail shade? Some links in this post are affiliate link for your convenience, click here to read our full affiliate policy.
- sail shade (we purchased this 16’x20′ one or here is a triangle one)
- 4”x4”x10’ post (we used cedar to match our fence)
- rope (we used this polyester rope) or a chain
- carabiner (we got one for each point and purchased at REI)
- diamond pad eye (we purchased these in a sail hardware kit)
- turnbuckle (we purchased these in a sail hardware kit)
- 10” concrete tube form
- 2″ deck screws
- scrape board w/screws (installing post)
- something to mix the concrete
Something to NOTE: you can use a building as an anchor point. This is a great way to add some shade to a patio for a fraction of the cost of building something. You would use a screw-in eye hooks to anchor it to a building.
Here are the supplies that came in our sail hardware kit, we did purchase a couple more carabiners (2)
We first started out with a triangle shade but decided we wanted a lot more shade then that. Please save yourself some time and measure your space and decide on the shade you want before purchasing the sail.
TIP: Call your local dig number (#811) a couple of days before you plan on digging any holes into your yard.
After we received our 16’x20’ sail shade, we laid it onto the ground of our backyard. Once we were happy with the location. From each point (or tip) of the sail we placed a stake at least 2 feet away. SIDE NOTE: We placed our stakes along our fence line, so the stakes we placed were farther away than 2 feet. The idea is to make an “X” with the stakes. If you are anchoring to a building you will want to have a distance of about 1 foot from the building to the points.
After marking were each post will go. We got out the shovel. We dug a hole about 2 feet deep and wide enough for the cement forms. The cement form comes in 48 inches (4ft) and we cut the form in half to make two that were 2ft each.
Once the hole was big enough for the form to fit, we placed it inside the hole. Then we poured 2-3 inches of gravel into the form base. We then placed the 4×4 post on top of the gravel inside the cement form. SIDE NOTE: I did stain all the 4×4 post to match our fence before installing them. I used Ready Seal in Natural Cedar.
We installed all these post the same way we installed the post for our gate. There are more detailed instructions on that post. Next we leveled the post and secured it in place with some scrap boards. After we mixed our concrete in a tub and placed it into the form. We then let everything sit for at least 24 hours to dry.
Once the concrete had dried, we removed the form from the concrete carefully. Then we filled in the rest of the hole with dirt, making sure to compact it as we went.
Next we installed the anchor hardware to the poles, the diamond eye pad. We decided to place ours at the top of each pole. Then we took the rope and tied a knot on one end. This knot will be attached to one end of the shade with a carabiner. (So you will have one of these for each corner of the shade) TIP: Your sail shade should be unfolded lying exactly where you want it.
For two sides, we tied another knot the distance needed to hook the Turnbuckle to the rope and eye pad hardware on the pole. Side Note: The Turnbuckle can be tightened later using the screws. Looks like this when everything is installed.
For the other two sides, we decided to make a loop inside the rope, weaved the rest of the rope through the eye pad hardware then back to the loop. This would allow us to tighten the shade.
Here is how this side looked after everything was tightened. Side Note: I did wrap the extra rope around and around then weaved the end through the middle to give it a finished look.
And that is how we installed a sail shade in our backyard. We have had to tighten the shade again because the fabric and rope have stretched out. But we love having some shade in our backyard at any time of the day now. Plus in the winter we can just take the sail down!
If you’re wondering about the cost here you go:
shade – $75
hardware – $23
carabiner – $14
rope – $24 (we purchased 2 bags)
posts – $80
gravel/concrete – $10
forms – $20
TOTAL – $246
For the cost of $246 we now have a shaded backyard, not bad… Most nice outdoor umbrellas cost about that but they are not that big! I hope you enjoyed learning how we installed a sail shade. Anyone else want to add shade to their yard?