Protecting children from the sun’s rays while they play in parks and playgrounds is essential, especially on the hottest days of the year. An effective way to do this is by installing shades for playgrounds. There is a wide variety of materials and designs that serve this purpose. In this article, we’ll delve into the differences between the most popular shades for playground options: shade sails and tarps.

Design and shape

Shade sail awnings are usually designed in a triangular or rectangular shape. They are tensioned between anchor points to create a sleek, modern look. They are often used for decorative purposes in addition to providing shade.

On the other hand, tarps come in various shapes and sizes. They are generally square or rectangular and have a more practical and less aesthetic design. Shades are typically flat and lack the elegant curved designs often seen on shade sails.


Shade sails are typically made of 100% round monofilament yarn (no tape or oval yarn filler). The fabric is UV resistant, breathable, and allows some airflow to reduce heat buildup underneath. It is important to highlight that this material meets certain safety and quality standards; for example, shade sails are resistant to tear tests and tensile strength, in addition to having strong wind resistance and high performance in difficult conditions.

On the other hand, tarps are available in a wide range of materials, including polyethylene, canvas, or PVC. The choice of material depends on the specific application, and tarps are usually designed to be waterproof or water-resistant; however, in many cases, this material does not meet certain quality or safety standards.


For shade sails awnings, installation typically involves attaching the awning to existing structures or using designated anchor points. Tension systems are commonly used to achieve the desired shape and tightness.

On the other hand, tarps are generally easier to install. They often have grommets or reinforced edges for easy attachment to structures or ropes. The installation process is usually more basic than the tensioning required for shade sails. However, its design is less aesthetic.

Expected use

Shade sails are primarily designed to create elegant and effective shade in outdoor spaces such as patios, gardens, or playgrounds. They are often used in residential and commercial settings for aesthetic purposes.

On the other hand, tarps are versatile and can be used for various purposes, including covering and protecting equipment, vehicles, firewood, or makeshift shelters. They are commonly used in construction, agriculture, camping, and emergencies.

Shade sails and their advantages

Shade sails are a popular option for covering outdoor playgrounds. They are characterized by their triangular or conical shape, similar to boat sails (hence their name), and their metal or wooden structure. They are often installed in a fixed location and adjusted to provide shade in the desired area. Among the advantages of Shade sails is that they offer a large amount of shade, making them ideal for large play areas. Their shape allows the shade to spread over a large area, which makes them suitable for large playgrounds.

Shade sails can be attractive and add a designer touch to parks and playgrounds. Many styles and colors are available, allowing homeowners to customize the appearance of the shades to their preferences. They are very durable and able to withstand adverse weather conditions; this makes them ideal for playgrounds that are used all year round.

What did you think of this topic? Do you want to know more about shade sails and tarps?
If you want sail shades or tarps for your project, community, school, daycare, or public park, contact us by visiting the following link.

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