How to Hang a Shade Sail Over a Patio

Add instant shade for not a lot of money and just a little bit of elbow grease by hanging a triangular shade cover over your patio or deck.

Patio Shade Sail

Patio Shade Sail

Learn how to install a triangular shade sail over a patio or deck.



Pergolas, gazebos and awnings can be expensive to build and install. A triangular sun shade costs a lot less and can be installed in less than a weekend.

DIY Shade Sail
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Tools and Materials:

1. Determine Layout

Spread triangle shade sail out flat on the ground to determine the placement.

Outdoor More 2022 Patio Shade

Outdoor More 2022 Patio Shade

2. Mark Placement of Posts

Spray the ground with marking paint about 1 to 2 feet away from the corner of the shade sail. This is where your posts will go.

3. Sand the Posts

Use an orbital sander or a sanding block to sand the 6x6 posts until smooth.

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4. Dig The Holes

Use a post-hole digger to create holes for the posts. Or you can rent an auger from a tool-rental company to save time and backache. Check local codes for required hole depth in your area — in most places it is around 2 to 3 feet deep.

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5. Add Gravel

Pour 2 inches of gravel into the holes. Tamp it down well using a piece of scrap wood.

6. Place the Posts

Add long screws to the base of the posts at an angle (Image 1). This will provide a little more stability as the screws adhere to the concrete. Have a friend help you lift the posts and place them into the holes (Image 2). Use a post level to angle the post 2 degrees off center (Image 3). This will help counter the tension of the shade. Use 2x4s to support the posts from the ground and hold them in place (Image 4).

7. Pour the Concrete

Mix high-strength concrete to fill the holes. Mixing in a tub is easy and convenient for smaller jobs like this (Image 1). Once the hole is full of concrete, work the mix with rebar or a piece of scrap wood to release any air bubbles (Image 2). Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cure time.

8. Back Fill

Cover the concrete with the dirt you dug out of the hole.

9. Drill Holes on Posts

Use a 1/2" bit to drill a hole 6 inches down from the top of your first post. The hole needs to go all the way through the post. Use a line level and string tied to each post to determine how far down the initial hole should be on the other two posts. It will vary since the ground is probably not level. Once the top holes are made, drill a second hole on each post, 12 inches down from the first one. This will allow you to raise or lower the sail as needed.

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10. Add the Hardware

Twist the eye bolts into both holes on each post. Secure with a washer and two nuts to the other side for a tight fit.

11. Give It Tension

Add a carabiner and then a turnbuckle to each post so you’ll be able to apply tension to the shade sail.

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12. Attach Sail

Attach the shade sail to each turnbuckle with another carabiner. Once it’s up, adjust the turnbuckle as needed to tighten completely.

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