Nothing is worse than sitting at a park on a hot summer day and having zero shade. As a parent or caregiver, would you want to return to a playground like this? Definitely not. Parks and playgrounds need to be fun and entertaining for kids, but they should also be comfortable for the adults. Surprisingly, 67 percent of playgrounds are exposed to the full sun during peak hours.
One of the best things you can do for your park or playground is to add shade. Having shade structures not only provides coverage from the sun’s harmful UV rays, but also it keeps people protected from wind and rain, it increases the lifespan of your equipment. Let’s cover some creative ways you can add shade to play and fitness spaces in your community.
Cover an Entire Play Structure
Commercial shade structures are available in different styles, sizes and colors. You can purchase one large commercial shade to cover an entire play structure or several smaller ones. This works well for large playgrounds that are broken down into sections. Each section can have a different colored canopy to keep the equipment cool and it also helps parents keep track of their children – “Hey Mom! I’m at the play area with the red top!”
Define Your Seating Area
Another way to incorporate more shade is by installing an umbrella shade over your picnic benches or a full shade canopy over a picnic table seating area. This is where parents tend to congregate, so it’s a good idea to make this space cool and comfortable. It’s also where people eat their lunches so it’s nice to have some coverage from birds and the weather.
Integrated Playground Shade
Integrated shade is a cost-effective way to add shade to your playground. When designing your playground structure consider this type of shade from the get-go, or it can be added later by retrofitting play structure depending on the manufacturer’s specifications. Integrated shade is available in various shapes and styles, including sail, square, hexagon octagon and more and utilizes the posts of the play structure for support.
Independent Shade Areas
Consider some of the areas where kids are likely to spend an extended period of time, such as on the swings or in a sandbox. These areas can benefit from a simple shade structure such as a single-post umbrella shade for a sandbox or a cantilever style shade for swing area. As with integrated shade, these shade solutions are cost-effective and can incorporated into your park design or added at a later date.
Shade Fitness Areas
Adding shade structures to outdoor gyms and fitness centers can help visitors protect themselves from heat exhaustion by avoiding direct sunlight and conducting their workouts in a cooler environment. This can be accomplished a couple of ways. Most common, is by adding a large shade structure—square, rectangle, hexagon or octagon, over the entire fitness space. Cantilever style shade will also work. More recently, with the increase of outdoor exercise due to COVID, manufacturers are creating fitness equipment with shade options. For example, GameTime THRIVE, compact outdoor gym structures, now have a shade option.
Shade at Sports Complexes and Athletic Fields
Shading spectator setting is very important at athletic fields and sports complexes. Guests need to be protected from harmful UV rays and need a break from long hot days spent at sporting events. Selecting a different color shade canopy at athletic fields is great for directional purposes. “We are playing today at 1 pm on the blue field.” However, if you want to use the home teams colors that is possible as well. Dugouts and concession areas need shade as well.
Commercial Shade Structures for the Win
CR Design Studio offers a wide selection of shade structures that are perfect for any play or fitness space! We have custom and decorative products as well, allowing you to fully customize your client’s park or playground design. All of our shade products are made from durable, high quality materials that last for years. Contact us today to learn more about our commercial park and playground amenities.