Adding shade to outdoor playgrounds is one of the easiest ways to improve campus aesthetics and create more comfortable and fun experiences for students, staff, and visitors. High-quality shade structures also help protect the equipment housed beneath them from environmental pressures that can damage materials like rusting metal, cracking plastic, and warping wood.
When selecting a play structure playground canopy design options, there are many design options to choose from. Some of the most popular include commercial retro umbrella shade structures that offer a single post-and-pole design with minimal space requirement but robust coverage. Hip shade structures are another excellent choice, as they feature four or more posts for maximum flexibility and cover an entire playground. For a more modern, symmetrical look, cantilever shade structures are a great option. Their off-center posts allow for more open space underneath while minimizing column obstruction.
Lastly, modular shade structures can be incorporated directly into a new or existing playground for a seamless integration into the landscape that also eliminates engineering and permits and is usually more cost-effective than other shade options. The only disadvantage to this style of playground shade is that it can limit the size of the available coverage as these types of structures don’t typically feature large bases and footings.
With so many options, it’s important to evaluate the specific needs of each site. For instance, a thorough playground site assessment should be performed so that the shade structure is appropriately elevated over the intended use zones and fall zones to ensure proper safety and longevity. The canopy’s height should also be considered as a low-to-mid height range is most effective for shaded areas.
Once you’ve evaluated the available space and determined the best shade structure type, you can then choose from a wide array of designs, color schemes, and fabric options. This will allow you to create the perfect shade solution for your outdoor recreation space.
The type of shade you select should also be based on the amount of sun exposure your playground receives. For shaded spaces, we recommend choosing a 99% UV block fabric to minimize the amount of damaging sun rays that penetrate the canopy and reach equipment and people underneath.
It’s also important to consider the overall design of your playground and how it will integrate with the shade structure you choose. In most cases, you will want the shade to be as seamless as possible with the rest of your site design, so choose a canopy style that complements your playground and site layout.
In addition to the many design options for your playground, we also carry a variety of base plate mounting styles that can be used in most soil conditions. You can choose from embedded, recessed, or surface-mount base plates to make installation as easy as possible for your team.