Spending time outdoors is both energizing and relaxing, but when there is something preventing us from fully enjoying it we tend to stay indoors. You see, no matter how much we love the sun – when it is getting into our eyes and making us feel too hot and uncomfortable, it is time to put an end to it. Do that by installing the perfect architectural statement in your backyard – a shade sail. It is functional, decorative and easy to set up, so there is no reason not to introduce it to your backyard today. Here is a short guide that should help you with that.
Find the Most Suitable Location
Before you start the installation you should find the most appropriate location, by accounting various factors. For example, the size of the sail will greatly determine where you will place it, but you should also think about sun direction, and the location of the barbecue. It is very important to check the strength of the existing structures which are intended to be anchor points, as well as the ability to insert fixing points.
Determine the Fixing Points
Once you have found the best location, there is another quest for you – the search for the most suitable fixing points for the corners. If you have the points that already exist, like large tree, fascia, pergola or sundeck, even better. If there is a minimal chance that any of these points are structurally unsure, you should ask advice from a builder or engineer.
Choose Fixing Accessories
There is a wide range of accessories that could help you secure your shade sails. You can find them in any hardware store or acquire them online. You will need a rope or a chain to extend the sail to a fixing point, but the remaining tools and accessories should be selected based on your own installation. Attaching to fascia would, for instance, require the use of fascia support.
Often, there is a need for additional posts. In those cases, it is best to use treated softwood or durable hardwood, advise the people at Malibu Shade. When calculating the length of the posts you should take into account the depth of the footings and the proposed height of your sail. Steel posts are also not a bad idea, but only when they can be cut to predetermined lengths.
This is the easy part – everything about mixing the concrete will be written down in manufacturer’s instructions. All you need to do is to follow them, and maybe ask your supplier about any specific advice regarding your own conditions. You should first dig holes for the footing positions and pour concrete at the bottom of the holes. After you insert the posts, pour it again, this time to the top.
Now you have to connect the fixing accessories with mounting points, and ensure they are all tightly secured and faced towards the middle of the sail. Check if they are secured several times, and only then move onto lying the shade sail out and start the installation. Connect the corners of the sail to the fixing points. You can use a tensioning device like a turnbuckle or ratchet strap to help you with that. Stop with the tensioning when you notice the shade has no creases, but don’t overdo it.
Your work isn’t done after you’ve finished with tensioning. You have to take care of the shade sail after. Don’t use fire or open flame near the fabric, and keep your barbecue out of the shade structure. From time to time, you should clean your shade sail by using a combination of mild detergent and water, but washing it in a washing machine or scrubbing it with a stiff brush is out of the question, since it can damage the fabric.
Before you start installing the shade sail, you should check with local authorities to see if there is any need for building approvals and how you can get them. And once everything is done, you can sit back and enjoy the shade.
Article written by Lillian Connors. If one thing is true about Lillian Connors, her mind is utterly curious. That’s why she can’t resist the urge to embark on a myriad of home improvement projects and spread the word about them. As the Co-Editor at SmoothDecorator, she cherishes the notion that sustainable housing and gardening will not only make us far less dependent on others regarding the dwellings we inhabit and what we eat, but also contribute to our planet being a better place to live on. You can check her out on Twitter and LinkedIn.