Things You'll Need
Bungee cord for each corner
Zip tie for each corner
Snap hook for each corner
Turnbuckle for each corner
Extension chain or rope
Remove the sun sail for storage during the winter months by unhooking the turnbuckles from the clip hooks.
Installation is easier when another person helps.
Sun sails are commonly sold in square or triangular shapes with grommets at each corner. Purchase hardware for the number of corners your sun sail has.
Do not over tighten the bungee cords against the trees. Attaching them loosely allows the tree to grow without damage. Do not use the included kit hardware to attach a sun sail to your trees. The eye screws weaken your trees and give pests and disease an easy entry. Use them only on buildings or posts. Do not install your sun sail perfectly level unless there are no trees, leaves or debris in the area, otherwise your sun sail will get loaded down and possibly tear.
Many people avoid using their backyards, decks and patios in summer months due to insufficient shade. Installing a sun sail over key areas allows you to effectively beat the heat. Also called shade sails, their lightweight material blocks up to 90 percent of the sun's harmful UV rays while still allowing light to pass through. The fabric weave contains tiny spaces that allow the material to breathe, reducing ambient air temperatures significantly when compared to unfiltered direct sun. Attaching a sun sail directly to trees allows you to choose exactly where you want shade.
Climb the ladder and use the chalk to make a mark on the tree trunk where you want your shade to be installed. Make sure it is high enough so people can walk comfortably beneath it. Don't worry about it being perfect to begin with, as the height can be adjusted later. Measure the height and mark the other trees at the same height.
Wrap a bungee cord around the tree once, leaving both ends facing in the direction your sun shade will be installed. Wrap a zip tie around the two ends of the bungee cord above the hook. Thread the tail end through the eye and pull until loosely secured. Push the zip tie up close to the tree trunk until there is only room for two fingers between the bungee cord and the tree. Attach bungee cords to the other trees using the same method. Trim the zip tie ends if they are unsightly.
Lay your sun sail flat on the ground over the area where shade is desired. Make sure the sun sail is at least 12 inches from each tree to accommodate the attachment hardware. Cut lengths of chain or rope to span any large areas.
Slip a snap hook over both hooks on one of the bungee cords. Attach the turnbuckle to one end of the snap hook and the sun sail grommet to the other. For spanning larger spaces, attach the turnbuckle to your chain or rope before hooking it to your snap hook with an S hook.
Tighten the turnbuckles, chains or ropes until the sun sail is taut but still has some give. Adjust the height on each of the trees as needed. Lower the sun sail on one side by at least 2 inches to allow leaves and debris to slide off. Remove any leftover chain or rope.
Colleen De Koning
Colleen De Koning is a certified professional herbalist and nutritionist, a consultant for organic gardening and pond design, and has been published in books, magazines, journals, newspapers, cookbooks and on various websites. She volunteers in local community gardening projects, animal rescue organizations, and has contributed to several vegetarian cookbooks.