A Guide to Using Shade Cloth in Your Garden

While commercial grade shade cloth is commonly used for dust control and the protection of crops, people, dams and livestock in the construction and agriculture industries, it has increased in popularity amongst domestic gardeners due to the fact that it is a durable, inexpensive material that is available in a range of densities, styles and colours to suit the requirements of any garden. Commercial Netmakers are Perth’s leading supplier of high quality shade cloth for any application. Read on for our guide to choosing the right shade cloth and understanding how it can make a big difference to the health of your plants.

Choosing the Right Shade Cloth for Your Garden

Shade cloth should be chosen depending on the environment in which your plants need to grow and thrive. It’s important to seek advice from your nursery to help determine the requirements of your plants.

Fabric Material – Knitted or Woven

  • Lightweight but still able to withstand regular wear and tear, knitted shade cloth is made from polyethylene which deflects heat and light.
  • Woven shade cloth is made of 100% polypropylene which is more suitable to use during winter. It is also heavier than knitted cloths which enables more heat build-up.

It is recommended to use knitted shade cloth in home gardens as it will allow for different levels of sun penetration and heat.

Density Percentage

Aside from the fabric material, the density percentage of the shade cloth should also be taken into consideration. Shade cloth can be found in a wide range of UV stabilised densities, allowing for a customised shade solution based the requirements of each individual garden. Choosing the appropriate density percentage will depend on what plants you will be growing and what you will be using the shade cloth for.

30% – 60% recommended to promote plant growth. Ideal for vegetables, fruit trees and flowering plants such as lilies and caladiums, orchids, azaleas, begonias and camellias.

70% – great for covering pergolas and gazebos and is generally implemented in greenhouses.

90% – Ideal as a ground cover to discourage weed growth and also used for ornamental plants such as ferns, palms, anthurium and dracaena.


Another important aspect to consider when selecting a shade cloth is the colour. The colour can have significant impact on the growth of various plants. The most common colours for shade cloth are black and green, however other colours such as white and red are also available. A lighter shade cloth colour can resolve ventilation issues as it reflects more heat from the sun, and it also reduces the quantity of light penetration. Darker coloured shade cloths absorb the sun’s heat and behave like a filter, depriving the plants of receiving too much sunlight. Colours such as red can benefit specific plants by filtering different wavelengths of light.

Where Can Shade Cloth Be Used in a Garden?

  • It can be hung over freestanding structures, ferneries and pergolas
  • It can be used to create shade houses
  • It can be used inside a transparent greenhouse if plants require warmth but are sensitive to direct sunlight
  • It can be used for raised garden beds that have solid arching

Important Things to Know About Shade Cloth

  • Shade cloth will dissipate a large level of the head load that your plants would be receiving if they are not adequately covered.
  • It also decreases the amount of UV radiation that reaches the plants underneath, making it an effective solution to reduce sunburn for plants.
  • It can alter the appearance of plants. Plants that are grown under shade cloth may have larger leaves, taller and more nodes, provided that they are shade loving plants.
  • It will also offer your vegetables and fruit trees protection from birds that enjoy fruits and vegetables as much as we do.
  • Shade cloth should be considered an investment for any garden, as it will result in reduced energy and water costs required to protect your plants during summer.

Using shade cloth can make a huge difference to the health of your plants. At Commercial Netmakers, we offer a comprehensive range of shade cloth solutions that can be custom made to your requirements. Contact us today on (08) 9434 6000 find out how high quality commercial shade cloth can benefit your home garden.

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