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Making Sure Your Outdoor School Grounds Are Made in the ShadeMaking Sure Your Outdoor School Grounds Are Made in the Shade
Shade Structures Aug 11, 2021

Making Sure Your Outdoor School Grounds Are Made in the Shade

Outdoor, open-air spaces are an incredible benefit for all sorts of businesses and organizations, but they’re really a necessity for school grounds. Outdoor walkways provide the best path for getting from building A to building B. Properly designed outdoor spaces also give students some good places to gather, play, and socialize together.

But as wonderful as outdoor spaces are for things like traveling across campus, recreation, exercise, socializing, and even just relaxing, everybody likes to have it made in the shade, too! No matter the size or scope of your school site, there’s one important outdoor amenity you really can’t ignore: shade.

Create a Better Outdoor Space Through Shade Planning

Having shade protection is important for lots of reasons. Shade enables students to be better protected from both precipitation and UV radiation threats, which means they can also remain in a better frame of mind where school is concerned. The same applies to your teachers, parents, and school visitors, too! Assuming you don’t enjoy lots of natural shade from nearby tree canopies, then there are lots of reasons to consider installing some outdoor shade structures, whether by means of a shade sail, fabric shade, or some other type of commercial shade structure. Shade structures can of course be included in your original site plan if you’re planning new construction, but if you already have an existing facility (like most schools), it’s really not hard to add the right shade solutions to your current site.

Benefits of a Fabric Shade or Other Outdoor Shade Structure for School Grounds

Shade matters, not just because it provides immediate protection from sun and precipitation threats, but also because it generally helps to keep things a bit cooler too. Let’s look at an outdoor playground environment, for example. A fabric shade structure can be employed to help prevent the equipment from getting too hot for children to be able to play on and enjoy. The same shade can also shield children and others from receiving too much-unwanted UV exposure. Here are some other benefits to consider, as well:

• Reduces exposure to harmful UV radiation

One of the main reasons to install a shade structure is to help reduce harmful UV exposure. Even when it’s cool or cloudy outside, the sun still lurks behind the clouds, and its rays can and will do damage if they aren’t properly filtered. Prolonged exposure to unprotected solar radiation can drastically increase any individual’s risk of developing skin cancer.

• Protects from the elements

One of the primary purposes of an engineered shade structure is to help deliver UV protection, but these shade structures help provide other useful protection, too. The impact of elements like wind, dust, rain, and snow can be further minimized by well-engineered, well-installed, shade products. For example, some fabric shades have been shown to provide effective water runoff protection of between 60-70%, and more!

• Cools the air

Fabric shade structures and outdoor covered shelters allow air pass to pass underneath and through, meaning these areas will inevitably be cooler than areas provided no overhead coverage at all! Fabric shades are known to effectively help cool the ambient air temperature anywhere between 20-30° F of what it would be otherwise.

• Extends outdoor play time

Whenever it’s hot outside, it’s hard to stay motivated to remain outside for long periods of time. Having the right shade solution installed means you can help keep the environment cooler and more pleasant for your students, teachers, adult chaperones, and visitors. Kids will want to stay on the playground longer, and the time you’ve budgeted for group recreation or recess will be more productive.

• Helps protect your outdoor equipment

If you’re looking for some more tangible ROI for installing some engineered shade, look no further than the value of your playground and recreational equipment. Having the right commercial-grade equipment installed comes at no small expense, and no doubt you want to provide for the longevity of your equipment as long as possible. To that end, a shade structure doesn’t just protect people; it also serves to help protect any equipment it shades, as well! The cost of a fabric shade or other shade structure is thus well worth it over time, as it aids in also extending the life of your valuable (and sometimes expensive) recreational equipment and related outdoor amenities.

• Increases comfort level for parents guests

Providing for the safety of your students is paramount, but we know that you also want to be mindful of providing for the comfort of your teachers, parents, guests, and other visitors. Just to illustrate the point, there’s a reason that hospitals tend to ensure that their parking lots have the right amount of shade provided; no patient or visitor likes having to return to a furnace of a hot car when it’s time to go. In a school environment, shade isn’t just something to install over playgrounds; it also makes good sense to place some needed shade over any outdoor passageways or sitting areas.


Outdoor Shade Options for Playgrounds in Particular

We can talk more about the practical applications of outdoor shade for school grounds, but one of the most acute needs is for providing your playground or other outdoor play areas with the right amount of shade coverage. What does that need to look like? What are some practical shade solutions for your school’s play and recreational areas? Here are a few suggestions:

1. Play structure shade systems

A sail shade arrangement can be installed to cover your entire outdoor play area, and can be designed in any manner of geometric shapes. There are all sorts of shade sail sizes and fabric colors to choose from, so matching the design or them of your play environment or school is easy. Shade sails can also be overlapped in many functional configurations in order to provide even more effective coverage for your outdoor spaces.

2. Integrated shade canopy solutions

One of the more affordable ways to provide shade for your playground is by taking advantage of a modular shade solution. With modular shade, you can integrate a shade canopy right into the existing support posts of your playground structure itself. This is simple to include with a new playground installation, but it can also be added to an existing playground facility with relative ease.

3. Individual swing set canopies

Shade protection can be added to individual, freestanding swing sets as well. There are several swing frame options which are designed to incorporate some built-in shade overhead, for example. These combinations have proven to be popular choices for schools, preschools, daycares, child development centers, and local parks across the US.

4. Shaded independent play areas

Smaller play areas like freestanding climbers, musical features, and other play centers benefit from having a single-post umbrella or cantilever umbrella installed in order to provide needed shade. And one reason you may want to consider a single-post support unit is that it will allow for more usable play space underneath.

5. Shade for benches and sitting areas

Got some benches or other sitting areas situated around your playground area? You really want to make sure that those areas are shaded, too. In the case of individual benches, an attached bench shade could do the trick nicely. These are designed to mount on the back of any standard park bench, and are able to help deliver some beneficial shade right where you need it.


Trust Carolina Recreation & Design for Your Shade & Other Outdoor Structure Needs

Whether you need shading for a playground – or need a new playground itself – Carolina Recreation & Design has you covered! We can provide both the recreational equipment and the shade structures you need for essentially any outdoor space, whether for a school, preschool, park, business, or community facility. Plus, we don’t just sell outdoor structures and shade products. We install everything we sell, and we can help take care of all your site design, site preparation, and other site amenity needs, too!

We’re fully-licensed contractors at Carolina Rec & Design, which means we’re well-equipped to provide whatever solution you may need for the outdoor site. We can handle everything, from start to finish!

Ready to get the conversation started? Got some particular questions you’d like answered? Just give us a call at (704) 664-1833. You can also connect with us online by filling out this simple form if you prefer. Carolina Recreation & Design can help you have it made-in-the-shade in no time!