Our White Book by Espace Ombrage

For more than 15 years, Espace Ombrage has been making its expertise and knowledge of solar shading and landscaping available to you. The latest trend in patio shading, we'll guide you through this white paper to give you all the information you need to understand the product.

What is a shade sail ?

A shade sail (or shade cloth) is a cloth stretched between walls or shade sail masts that protects from the sun by creating a shaded area. Shade sails are specially cut with curved sides (negative curvatures) to obtain a flat sail. This is what gives it the name "shade sail". At Espace Ombrage, this curvature is of the order of 5% on canvases.

Directly inspired by the marine environment, with a design similar to that of boat sails, it offers a modern and design alternative to parasols, awnings, arbors and other traditional shading solutions.

Its trendy look and ease of adaptation to different environments make it an increasingly popular choice for creating a warm and welcoming living space on a terrace or in a garden.

Dress up your outdoors and give it a whole new dimension with shade cloth!

What are the needs and benefits of solar cover?

There are many reasons to buy a tensioned sail today. For example, with a shade sail, you can easily :

- Create a multitude of different atmospheres to suit your mood, by playing with colors, shapes and materials.

- Protect against the rain, too, with waterproof fabrics: so you can calmly finish a meal if it happens to rain! 

- Create a natural air-conditioning system by blocking the sun's rays from bay windows and other surfaces that heat the house in summer. Shade sails bring coolness without blocking out too much light. 

- Create a windbreak by positioning the shade cloth vertically.

Garden sails have the advantage of being easy to adapt to individual projects, thanks to the different sizes, layouts and fabrics available. You can shade almost any area, depending on the size of your outdoor fabric and the way it's attached.

Shade sail sizes and shapes :

A shade cloth can be made in dimensions generally ranging from 1.00 m to 7.50 m for each side (tensioning distances not included) and can be more easily custom-made than other shade solutions. Indeed, you'll easily find standard-sized shade cloths, but at Espace Ombrage we give you the option of designing your own made-to-measure shade cloth in case you can't find a suitable standard size.

The surface area of a shade cloth is highly variable, ranging from around 5.00 m² to 28.00 m² for standard sizes.

All shapes are possible: the triangle shade sail is often preferred for its aesthetic appeal, which will give a unique design to your installation. Rectangular or square shade sails, on the other hand, cover a larger surface area and are ideal for shading large areas.

Each shape will bring a different aesthetic and shade, so don't hesitate to run simulations with several shapes to find the one that suits you best!

You can also combine different shapes and sizes to find the right compromise between surface coverage and design. In this case, remember to overlap your triangles to create sufficient shade and compensate for the negative curvature of the sails.

Shade sails have curved sides: by juxtaposing 2 sails without overlapping them, there will be a gap between the two. A good idea, therefore, is to overlap several sails slightly, installing them at different heights, to provide uniform shade (with no "gaps" between the sails).

Successful installation brings out the "airy" side of the sail. The sail must be taut and free of "belly".

The secret is to reserve enough space to stretch the shade sail. It's better to have a shade sail that's too small than too big, because then the sail won't be able to be stretched properly (count 45 cm minimum and more depending on the size of the sail; this measurement is proportional to the sail).

This is all the more important as shade cloths always relax slightly over time.

Create color and shadow effects to your taste!

NB: For maximum shading and rain protection, it's best to use one rectangular or square shade sail rather than several triangular ones, as water may run between the sails.

Types of stretched canvas fabrics :

Stretch sails fall into 2 categories: Australe openwork shade sails and Acryl waterproof shade sails.

Choosing the fabric quality that best suits your needs will depend on your use of the sail and the constraints of wind exposure.

To protect you from the sun, to eat on the terrace or enjoy a moment of relaxation in the shade, for example, an openwork terrace sail is ideal. It protects you from the sun while allowing air to circulate thanks to its "aerated" fabric. UV filtration is very good, and the wind resistance of these solar fabrics is excellent.

If you're looking for protection from the sun, but also from the occasional rain, a waterproof shade cloth is the best choice. Water-repellent shade sails filter out UV rays as well as excessive sunlight. This reduces glare. On the other hand, they allow less air to circulate and have a greater wind resistance. In addition, you need to be able to create a slope of at least 25% between your various fixing points to allow rainwater to run off naturally and avoid creating a pocket on the shade cloth.

If properly installed, garden sails can be left in place for most of the year. It is simply advisable to dismantle the shade sail in case of strong winds (+ 80 km/h for openwork sails; + 60 km/h for waterproof sails) and during winter to avoid any risk of deterioration due to the weight of snow on the sail.

NB: Like boat sails, shade sails over a certain size can be sewn together.

Which color of outdoor fabric for patio should I choose?

Create a made-to-measure atmosphere by choosing the colors of your solar canvases!

Shade sails in a variety of colors add a decorative touch to your outdoor space. You can play with contrasts by combining different colors:

- Bright, warm colors will create a welcoming atmosphere under the shade cloth and brighten up your outdoor space. 

- Soft colors create a natural, cocooning ambience in your garden or on your terrace.

- Stronger colors create an elegant, designer ambience.

Overlapping red and sand openwork shade sails for professional terraces

Filtering light with garden fabric

The shade you choose for your patio awning will filter light to a greater or lesser extent, changing the way it feels underneath.

If you live in a particularly sunny region and your shade sail will be exposed to a lot of sunlight, avoid very light colors, as they can cause glare by reflecting too much light.

On the other hand, if you live in a less sunny region, lighter shades are preferable for your shade sail, as they will brighten up and brighten up your exterior.

Made-to-measure openwork terrace canvases

Bring more or less freshness under the canvas:

Dark tones contribute to a feeling of freshness under the shade cloth. In fact, the darker the color you choose for your shade cloth, the cooler it will feel underneath. Surprising but true, since it's the opposite of what happens with a dark-colored textile.

Create an extension to your home:

Choose the color of your shade sails to match the color of your facade, shutters, garden furniture or any other outdoor decoration, to create harmony in your garden or on your terrace. Shade sails can thus become a natural extension of your home that blends in perfectly with your surroundings.

Types of shade cloth installation :

Garden fabrics can be stretched between 2, 3 or 4 walls. This solution involves drilling holes in each "load-bearing" wall to insert the shadecloth fixings (dowels or chemical sealant + threaded rods and eye nuts) on which the shadecloth will hang thanks to its snap hooks.

This is the simplest solution to install, and also the least expensive, since you won't need shade sail poles.

Openwork triangular shade sail sand for terrace

Another option is to lean the shade sail against a wall on one side and hang it on poles. 

This solution is often used to shade a terrace facing a garden. This way, you can tension the shade sail even if you don't have a wall available for each side of your shade sail.

What's more, this configuration allows you to adjust the height of the solar sail on your masts, which are adjustable in height.

Rectangular solar canvases stacked on top of each other and fixed to walls and garden stakes

Finally, it's possible to create a completely personalized and free layout. In this case, only the shade cloth poles are used to tension the sail. This solution allows you to position the shade sail wherever you like. 

NB: If you're installing a waterproof shade sail, you'll need to create a minimum height difference of 60 cm between the fixing points of the shade sail, so as to create a slope for water run-off during heavy rainfall (minimum 25% slope). Otherwise, a pocket of water may be created, damaging the shade sail due to its weight.

Cream and sand triangular shade sails hung on poles

Types of shade cloth fasteners:

The quality of an installation of a shade sail is not only obtained by the quality of the sail itself, but also by the quality of the accessories and the choice of equipment. It is important that the sails are well installed and tight. It is the secret of a successful installation, of quality and perennial in the time. 

It's important to take into account the type of substrate on which the shade sail or mast will be fixed. You won't use the same fasteners on wood, stone, concrete or lawn.

For walls, we distinguish between wood and other materials (concrete, stone, brick, etc.). That's why, when you buy a wall anchor, be sure to take into account the material of the support you'll be using as an anchoring point. 

Several types of materials are available for mounting your sail: stainless steel or aluminum poles, guy wires with ropes. These solutions are a matter of personal taste; there is no "best solution".

Brown shade sail pole

Adjustable Mast: This is the most effective solution for securing your shade sail if you do not have a wall nearby. We have three types of poles: masts, screw-on masts and wall-mounted masts. Regarding their sizes, the Espace Ombrage masts measure 260cm and you have the choice between a vertical installation and a 75 degree inclined installation. The three colors are aluminium, Anthracite powder coated and Brown powder coated. 

The slide: The adjustable mast slide allows you to install several sails on the same mast. This also allows you to independently adjust the height of each sail to maximize its shading space throughout the day. 

The shroud: This accessory makes it possible to balance the different tensions when fixing several shading sails on the same mast. These stays are available with attachment on hard ground and soft ground. 

Other fixings and accessories

In order to personalize your installation and create an optimization to the environment, here is a wide range of fixations and accessories: 

The short wall fixing allow to fix an angle of the Shade Sail to a wall. The short wall mount leaves a gap of 25cm to 35 cm between the attachment point and the shade sail. 

The long wall fixing are the ideal fixations if you want to combine strengh ans practicality. The nautical cord and the pulleys allow a excellent tension of the sail leaving a distance of 30 cm to 250 cm between the point of fixation ans the sail shade. 

The double skin wall fixings have the same role as the fixtures mentioned above with the particularity of being suitable for buildings with external insulation. 

The tensioning systems allow to hang an additional shade sail on an adjustable mast. The coulisse will ensure an independent adjustment of the height of the two sails while leaving a space between 30 cm and 2m50 between the mast and the sail.  

The wall hook, inspired  directly from our adjustable masts, allows the surplus of the rope to be wrapped in a purely aesthetic frame, the latter being made of stainless steel. 

Carabiner: Metal buckle for quick assembly and disassembly of your sail. 

Piton with ankle: To be fixed in a brick, stone or concrete wal. Allows you to hang a turnbuckle or tensioning systems. 

Bridge with screws: To fix in a wall in brick, stone or concrete. Allows you to hang a turnbuckle or tensioning systems.

Turnbuckle: Device for tensioning the sail. Short amplitude.

Anchoring: Allows you to fix the stay of a mast to the ground.

Rope and pulley: Device for tensioning the sail. Great amplitude.

Reinforced shade cloth fastening in concrete wall