I would say that your estimates are pretty accurate. I would say the middle coverage area is probably 7 or 8 square, when you take into account the slope of the sides. Better for shade than I thought it would be and I feel it is more than adequate, but if you are worried about rain, you will be safe if you assume 7 x 7. I pitched this last weekend, and was pleasantly surprised. It is much better than previous ones I have used. Combined with the fact that they do provide a shade panel for one side, (and you can buy more directly from their website) it really does a great job. I am going to get an extra panel, (to account for moving sun) but I like this much better than an easy-up or other more expenisve options I have used in the past. Fairly lightweight (a little over 6lbs), easy to pitch (once you watch the youtube video) and much more compact than some other options. I didn't use the stakes during the day, but we got some really bad afternoon winds, which worried me. I used the stakes on the bottom, along with the provided additional guy lines (they include the stakes too) and it did really well. Won't stand up to 50mph winds, but no shade will....and the additional guy lines really helped with stability. The very middle is over 6 feet, but I am 5'9", and did have to bend a bit to get into it. Nothing that was bothersome, and I could stand up in the middle very, very comfortably. Another nice perk, is that I was able to put it up myself, and had no problem at all. Hope that helps, and feel free to ask additional questions.