How to Shade a Playground

You’ve worked hard to design the perfect playground down to every last detail. Chances are, you’ve carefully considered each piece of equipment, seating areas, surfacing and even trash receptacles. However, there’s another crucial addition you don’t want to overlook — shade. This guide will explore ways to help keep your park and visitors cool.

Why Should You Add Shade to Playgrounds?

From comfortable temperatures to protection from harsh beams, playground shade offers several benefits. Here are four reasons to add shade to a playground.

1. Sun Protection

Playground shade helps protect kids and adults from harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. Kids’ skin is especially sensitive to UV rays, even on cloudy or overcast days.

They can face short- or long-term adverse effects from excessive sun exposure, including sunburn, heat exhaustion, heat stroke, skin cancers and cataracts. Playground shades that cover the entire play structure can provide UV protection all day, even when the sun is most intense.

2. Longer Equipment Life

Over time, sunlight can damage uncovered playground equipment. Constant UV exposure can gradually fade bright colours on plastic pieces. A shade structure can help extend the life of playground equipment and surfacing, protecting it from premature deterioration and wear.

3. Light Weather Protection

Unlike uncovered play areas, shaded playgrounds can help deflect light rain or snow. A canopy that covers the entire playground creates a barrier during light drizzles, meaning kids can continue playing even if a brief rain shower is approaching.

Light rain protection can help keep play areas dry during rainy days. Even if it’s too wet for outdoor play, a covered structure will remain drier than an unprotected one. It can be ready for play when the sun returns the next day.

4. Cool and Comfortable Temperatures

Shade structures can keep playgrounds up to 20 degrees cooler. They can block up to 96% of the sun’s UV rays and promote natural air circulation. Kids can play more comfortably in cooler temperatures while supervising adults can relax and avoid the heat.

Playground Shade

How Much Shade Does a Playground Need?

There isn’t a single right answer for every park. The ideal amount of shade depends on your playground’s size and surrounding elements. Survey the space and determine which areas require sufficient shade.

For example, visitors might tend to linger near benches, sports fields or picnic tables for extended periods. The most frequented areas should have plenty of shade. Additionally, note any regions that may overheat or where visitors tend to be active, like outdoor fitness or play areas.

Here are other key considerations when deciding how much shade your playground needs:

  • Weather and terrain: If your area is at risk of flooding or extreme weather conditions, strong and stable shade structures are a must. Trees are another playground shading option, but if the ground is sandy or unsupportive of trees, commercial shading is likely more feasible.
  • Space: Consider whether you have ample room for trees, or if a shade structure with few posts would better accommodate your outdoor space. The less room you have, the more important it is to have a shade solution occupying minimal space.
  • Visibility: Ensure your shading solution won’t obstruct views of sporting events, bandstands, scenic views or other attractions. Additionally, adults should be able to supervise kids without a shade post blocking their view.

Choosing Playground Shade Options

There are multiple ways to add shade to a playground, including temporary, semipermanent and permanent solutions. Below are merely a few of the options to consider.

1. Trees

Trees are a natural, eco-friendly shading option for playgrounds. However, keep in mind that not all trees provide shade. Additionally, you may want to avoid planting deciduous — leaf-shedding — trees if visitors use the playground during fall and winter.

You should also bear in mind that trees can take years to grow. They require patience to provide substantial shade. Therefore, you might opt for commercial shading in conjunction with or as an alternative to trees.

2. Fabric Shade Structures

Commercial fabric shade structures and sails help protect your visitors and playground equipment from the sun and other light weather elements. They typically contain durable, UV-resistant materials, like PVC-coated polyester or polyethylene.

They also come in many styles and colours, making it easy to match your park’s aesthetic. You can find unique shapes like pentagons, triangles, octagons and hexagons, along with wrap-around shades for long, narrow areas.

You can also cover seats and bleachers with canopy shades to keep guests cool while watching sporting events. You can customize fabric structures to nearly any shade requirement.

3. Pavilion

Pavilions work similarly to canopies, but they’re more durable. Some have four corner posts and fabric on top for shade. Others feature sturdy steel or wood designs for stronger weather protection. You can position this versatile option nearly anywhere on the playground, whether over play equipment or sitting areas with benches and picnic tables.

4. Gazebo

Serving as an open outdoor room and seating area, a gazebo is an excellent source of shade and element protection. Supervising adults and other visitors can enjoy a comfortable place to sit, relax, read or grab some fresh air.

A significant benefit of gazebos is that they provide shade both inside and around the structure. When kids grow tired from playing, a gazebo is a great place for a quick breather, whether they sit inside or in the shade surrounding the structure.

PlayPower Canada Shade Structures

If you’re looking to enhance your playground with high-quality commercial shade structures, we have an array of options to choose from at PlayPower Canada. We offer semipermanent and permanent outdoor shade structures from these reputable manufacturers:

  • Little Tikes Commercial: Little Tikes Commercial Play Shade offers flexible, durable solutions for virtually any weather type. Play Shade is easy to install, mounting seamlessly into playground posts. It can also serve as a freestanding unit.
  • Miracle: You can install Miracle Play Shade products into playground posts or opt for freestanding units. They’re durable, versatile and easy to maintain. The posts have ample space between them for easy navigation.
  • USA SHADE: USA SHADE has multiple commercial sun sails and custom shade solutions to choose from, including ventilated shades for optimal air circulation. The shades feature fun shapes like butterflies and flowers. You can also find multiple post sizes for irregular or uneven terrain.
  • VPS: VPS manufactures durable shades for parking and other vehicle needs, reducing the effects of hail, sunlight and other weather conditions. A large shade can cover your entire parking lot, while innovative posts provide ample room for drivers to maneuver the space. VPS can also customize parking shade solutions that suit your unique brand identity.

Playground Shade

Find Playground Shade Solutions at PlayPower Canada Today

A commercial shade structure can help keep your playground comfortable and protected throughout the year. Find the ideal outdoor shade solution from PlayPower Canada.

In addition to offering shade structures from quality brands, we can also help you create a custom shade solution. If you have specific needs regarding your playground’s shape, size or aesthetics, we’ll tailor a solution to your requirements and budget. Reach out to us for questions about finding the right solution or customizing a playground shade structure today!