Shade structures are very common — so common in fact, that you probably don't even notice when you see one. They are found everywhere, from playgrounds and sports courts to high schools and car dealerships. There's a reason shade structures are pretty common … it's because of all the advantages they bring to any outdoor area.
Shade structures can be installed after a project is complete — such as adding shade to an existing playground — or they can be included in the initial project design. No matter your project, if you have an outdoor space, it will likely benefit from incorporating a shade structure.
Here are 6 Reasons Why Your Playground (or Other Outdoor Space) Needs a Shade Structure:
1. Shade Structures Reduce Exposure to Harmful UV Rays. The most common reason people add shade structures to an outdoor space is to reduce exposure to the sun’s harmful UV rays. Even during cooler weather or cloudy days, the sun causes damage. Prolonged exposure can drastically increase your risk of skin cancer. Installing shade structures on school playgrounds allows children to play with little exposure to harmful UV rays.
2. Shade Structures Provide Protection from the Elements. Not only does a shade structure protect from the sun, but it also acts as a buffer from wind, dust, rain or even snow. The different fabrics used for shade structures provide water runoff, so there's less chance that rain will ruin an outdoor event (like recess, a sporting event or even a concert) if there's a shade structure overhead.
3. Shade Structures Help Cool an Outdoor Space. A fabric shade structure allows air to pass through, keeping the area underneath cooler than a wood or metal structure. With the air circulation, plus the shade the structure provides, it creates a much cooler pocket of space for people to gather under.
4. Shade Structures Can Help Extend Your Outdoor Time. Because it’s cooler, users are more likely to enjoy the outdoors for a longer period of time. Kids will want to play longer on a playground, or families may extend their picnic if they’re keeping cool under the shade. An outdoor community area encourages friends and families to gather, and they’ll stick around longer if they’re comfortable.
5. Shade Structures Provide Equipment Protection. Shade structures help protect whatever is underneath them. For example, many car dealerships install shade structures to protect their inventory from hail. The relatively low cost is worth it to protect the cars (not to mention reduce their insurance rates as well). The same goes for playgrounds — shade structures protect the playground equipment from the harsh sunlight and other elements of weather, keeping it in good condition visually as well as physically.
6. Shade Structures Increase Guest Comfort Level. Shade structures are often installed for the sole comfort of customers or guests. For instance, some hospitals install shade over their parking lot, so that when patients or visitors leave, they are not subjected to a stifling hot car — that's the last thing someone who just had surgery wants or needs! Or if there is an area where people are sitting or standing outside for a long period of time, the shade can make them much more comfortable.
If you have an outdoor area that could benefit from a shade structure, May Recreation is happy to provide information or discuss the different shade options. We not only work with playgrounds, but we also provide shade structures for pools, parking lots, car dealerships, outdoor common areas and more. All ages need protection from the sun and deserve to enjoy the outdoors as much as possible.