Knowing shade: See what screens & structures are permitted in the neighborhood

Keeping our homes at their coolest is essential in the desert heat. Whether it’s über-efficient A/C systems, sun-blocking window coverings, or shade-making yard structures, there are a range of tactics to keep it cool.

As you’re thinking about fresh shade installations, be sure to take a look at the Eastmark Design Guidelines for what’s permitted and what’s prohibited. The guidelines consider the structures, designs, materials, and trends that hold up over time (plus those that don’t) and are in place to help our community age gracefully and keep property values at their best.

Note: Any modifications to the exterior of your home, especially when they can be seen by your neighbors or from the street, must be approved by the Design Review Committee before installation.

Shade Structures

Shade Sails

While there are a variety of shade structures that can be installed at your home, let’s start with shade sails. In short, they are not allowed. Shade sails, fabric shade canopies, tensile fabric structures, tarps, and other similar fabric, flexible, or plastic shade elements are prohibited (per section 4.85 of the Eastmark Design Guidelines).

But shade sails are everywhere, why can’t we have them in our backyards? Like most outdoor items in Arizona, shade sails are difficult to maintain in the sun and heat. They fade quickly and can be tricky and expensive to replace, plus they can easily be seen over your neighbor’s wall and from the street. In looking at what maintains or detracts from home values and community aesthetic, faded and aged shade sails can easily become a detractor.

Other structures

Shade sails and structures with fabric are out, but what is permitted? Refer to section 4.86 of the Eastmark Design Guidelines for the types of side and backyard shade structures that are welcome, like pergola, gazebos, and ramadas. In general, the size, shape, scale, construction materials, colors, and finishes of all shade structures should match and/or compliment the architecture of your home.

When it comes to awnings, canopies, and projecting sunshades (section 4.10), there are specific colors, materials, and styles that are permitted.


Sunscreens over your windows or doors are allowed, but they need to follow the design guidelines (see section 4.112 with photo examples).

  • Sunscreens need to be the same size as the actual aluminum or vinyl window with just enough room for the anchors, and shouldn’t overlap stucco trim, pop outs, or recesses.
  • The sunscreen panels must have the same decorative grid patterns as the windows they’re covering. That means the sunscreen needs to include the mullions and muntins (the crossbars) to match the windows behind the sunscreen. If the window behind the sunscreen has decorative window grids, the sunscreen must have the same pattern and shape as the decorative grids.
  • The sunscreen frame needs to match the color of the existing window’s frame, and the sunscreen fabric should be black, dark charcoal grey, dark brown, or dark bronze (no light, white, cream, tan, or beige).
  • If the sunscreens become torn, ripped, broken, bent, unfastened, dilapidated, or otherwise unsightly, they need to be immediately removed or replaced.

There are other options like window tinting and roll down sunscreens, which are allowed (see sections 4.113 and 4.72) but need the Design Review Committee’s stamp of approval first.

It’s important to note that unapproved and/or improper installation may lead to a letter and fine from the Eastmark Residential Association. Email Cherrie Wright, Eastmark’s community operations coordinator, with any questions or for clarification.

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