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The Ultimate Guide To Shade Sail Sizes

Our comprehensive guide to shade sail sizing will leave you with all you need to know about our shade sail size offerings here at Greenline and their implications.

How far can shade sails span?

The short answer is that the widest clear span for shade sails is approximately 20 metres. This means that with one shade sail, you can have around 350 to 400 square metres of cut size. If you need to shade a larger area, we offer multiple shade sail designs and a diverse range of other shade structures well suited to big spans.

Greenline’s shade sail standard sizes

All of Greenline’s shade sails are completely customisable and designed tailored to your vision, so there aren’t necessarily ‘standard sizes’. Therefore, we can accommodate any size under 20 metres wide that you desire! As long as it doesn’t span further than 20m we can provide you with the shade sail size of your choosing. 

As for the average sizes of the shade sails we design and install, our sails typically range between 36 square metres (6 x 6m sail) and 144 square metres (12 x 12m sail). These measurements are just a guide and we can accommodate a wide range of sizes as all of our shade sail are completely customisable. 

Options for covering large areas with our shade sails

For the larger end of the spectrum, there are certain engineering and design modifications that we make to cater to the sizing needs of our clients while keeping the shade sail safe and structurally sound. Here are some of the things we can alter when a greater area needs to be shaded. 

Larger steelwork

Our raw steel is usually purchased in 12-metre lengths. For larger structures taller than this we need to order a custom sizing of steel. Additionally, the overall size and width of the steelwork will also need to be greater for wide-spanning projects. 

Quality mesh

A large project will require a higher-quality mesh with greater reinforcement including double-stitched fixing points at each corner. You can easily reach a 20m span with our shade sails using a tougher mesh. 

Multiple sails 

Ultimately, the best way to cover large spans with shade sails is to install multiple sails onto the site, reducing the need for more complex engineering and material adjustments. There are several ways that we can design a multiple sail structure so that the engineering and use of materials are at maximum efficiency:

Kiss points

Kiss points are where 2 adjacent sails are joined together at the sides, minimising the spacing between sails and maximising shade. This is the best and most efficient way to increase the shade coverage when using multiple sails.

Shared posts for multiple sails

Often used in conjunction with kiss points, side-by-side shade sails can be attached to shared middle posts – reducing the number of posts needed for the project. For example, two adjacent shade sails with shared middle posts would only require 6 steel poles instead of 8.

Other shade solutions for larger areas

We also offer a wide range of other shade solutions that cater to an array of different-sized areas.


Covered outdoor learning areas (COLAs) are large metal shade structures that were initially designed for schools but can be applied in all kinds of commercial and government settings. A COLA  is an excellent alternative to a shade sail if you are after a greater height and span.  

Alternative fabric structures 

Our tension fabric shade structure and colour range is extensive, and some options tend to suit larger or smaller areas better than the classic shade sail:

Barrel vaults

Barrel vaults are the perfect alternative tension fabric structure for covering larger areas like sports courts and bowling club greens. They consist of a high-arched steel framework with a polyvinyl chloride (PVC) membrane stretched over the top, making for a cost-effective way to shade greater areas. 

Star structures

Star structures are another option for shading small areas using a tension fabric structure. Unlike shade sails requiring multiple posts, they offer unobstructed ground coverage using just one anchored pole, ideal for clear pedestrian spaces.

Cantilever design 

The cantilever design has the possibility of being applied to smaller and larger areas – proving to be a versatile choice for a variety of different commercial spaces. With posts on just one side and a sturdy arch shading the desired area, a cantilever has minimal ground obstruction. 

Conic design 

Finally, the conic design with its umbrella style is also well suited for smaller areas but there is no technical size limit, so the sky is the limit! For larger conic structures, a ‘circus tent’ architecture can be implemented so that huge areas can be cost-efficiently shaded from UV and weather elements.

Receive a seamlessly integrated shade solution for any area, large or small

Whatever area you want to cover, we can make it work! Our diverse range of shade structures and the creative multiple-shade sail designs that we offer mean that you aren’t limited by the space you have. 

Greenline is dedicated to providing sophisticated solutions that are designed to elevate your business or organisation landscape. Contact us today and get a quote for a shade sail that will transform your space beyond your imagination with a range of colours and designs to choose from. 


Frequently asked questions

What is the maximum size of a shade sail?

A shade sail can reach a 20m span – so 400 square metres is the maximum for a single shade sail. However, we have options for multiple sail designs to shade larger areas. 

Can you leave a shade sail up all year?

Greenline shade sails are designed and engineered to last in the elements all year round. Some lower-quality sails from other providers or a DIY installation shade sail might suggest that you take them down during certain weather conditions. It is always worth checking with your provider. 

Do shade sails block rain?

Our shade sails often use shade cloth fabric, which protects from UV but unfortunately is not waterproof. However, you can opt to use PVC fabric for our shade sails, which is also waterproof if rain protection is required.