2024 Play Hard, Save Big Event! Download PDF

Shade Canopies

Shade Canopies Help You Keep Everything Made in the Shade!

Even though the days are finally getting shorter, the sun is still shining. The sun continues to shine all through fall, winter, and spring too, which means that sun exposure is still a risk for your playground or other outdoor recreation facilities. And direct sunshine means more UV exposure, which can be harmful to any and all of your outdoor facility users. To that end, it really is beneficial to have some reliable shade canopies installed for the benefit of any children, teens, or adults who may enter your outdoor space.

Open-air recreational facilities like playgrounds are great for bringing children, schools, and families together. Outdoor playgrounds for schools, parks, and community facilities provide lots of benefits in terms of physical health, entertainment, social skills development, educational opportunities, and just plain FUN. But no matter what type of outdoor recreation facility you may have, the fact of the matter is that everybody likes to have it made in the shade. So you really can’t ignore the importance of the shade factor.

Shade Canopies

Don’t Just Take Our Word For It!

Listen to what some of our many satisfied customers and clients have to say about their experience with Carolina Recreation & Design


I just built a daycare center and called Carolina Recreation & Design to work with me for playground equipment installation. They were great. The crew they sent out was very professional; they followed the timeline they promised. Great company to work with. The playground they gave me will make a lot of kids happy and safe.


Carolina Recreation & Design was very easy to work with when our neighborhood association decided to upgrade the features at the park. From the initial contact to the final inspection, it was a great all-round experience. I would highly recommend to anyone looking to install a commercial playground in their community.


Our church considers Carolina Recreation & Design a part of our family. They have designed and built three play spaces at our church so far. Carolina Recreation & Design creativity, along with their professionalism, make working with them a joy. The final product is safe, current to industry standards, and, most of all, a fun space for the children. We would recommend Carolina Recreation & Design to anyone interested in upgrading their play spaces.



6 Benefits of Adding a Shade Canopy for Your Playground or Other Outdoor Recreation Area

Whether you’re interested in installing a shade sail, fabric shade, playground canopy, or another type of commercial shade structure, providing shade is important. It doesn’t just shelter your visitors from the effects of sun and precipitation; the proper shade solution will help to protect your outdoor equipment too. Here are some benefits of note:

  • Reduces exposure to harmful UV rays
    The main reason that property owners decide to install a shade structure is to prevent harmful UV exposure. Even when the weather is cool or cloudy, UV rays still get through and will continue to do damage if left unchecked. Prolonged exposure to UV radiation accelerates the risk of skin cancer, along with other harmful skin conditions.
  • Protection from the elements
    Sail shades and other engineered shade structures deliver reliable UV protection, but they help in other ways, too. The impact of other elements like wind, dust, rain, and snow can also be minimized with a properly-installed shade feature. Fabric shade products have been demonstrated to provide effective water runoff protection of up to 60-70% or more!
  • Cools the ambient air temperature
    Even though temps are cooler in the fall and subsequent seasons, play equipment can still get pretty hot in the full sun. Fabric shade structures and outdoor covered shelters allow air to pass freely underneath, which means the protected areas and equipment will be kept cooler. Fabric shades have been demonstrated to cool the ambient air temperature anywhere from 20°-30°F below what it would normally be in full-sun conditions.
  • Allows for more outdoor playtime for children
    Whenever children start to get hot, it can be harder to motivate them to stay outside and keep playing. Having the right shade solution installed means you can keep the environment – and the play equipment – cooler and more pleasant to the touch. And this is just as true for benches and seating intended for adult playground monitors, as well. Budgeting for a shade canopy installation can make your outdoor recreation time more productive for everyone involved.
  • Better preserves your outdoor equipment
    An engineered shade installation doesn’t just benefit the people who visit your outdoor facility; it benefits the outdoor equipment itself, too! Putting in a shade canopy is a wise investment for more reasons than one. As you probably know, commercial playground equipment and recreational equipment aren’t cheap, and you certainly want them to last as long as possible. A shade structure can help shield your equipment from UV damage and serves to slow the effects of weathering. The cost of having a fabric shade, shade sail, or other shade structure installed can literally pay for itself, as it helps to extend the usable life of any play features or recreational equipment under its protective cover.
  • Improves the level of comfort for teachers, parents, and adult monitors
    Playgrounds are for the kids, of course, but children aren’t the only ones who visit playground areas. It’s also important to be mindful of the comfort level of your teachers, parents, and adult visitors, too.

To give a relevant illustration: many hospitals, shopping centers, and other organizations now provide covered parking lots. Why? Because nobody likes coming back to a hot car! The same principle applies here. Most adults would prefer not to have to stand out in the full sun while monitoring children on the playground.

So yes, you should certainly install some shade you’re your playground, but don’t stop there. Place some needed shade around the playground perimeter too. It’s also a good idea to put in some sitting areas as well if you don’t already have those in place.


Key Considerations for Shade Canopies, Shade Sails, and Shade Structures

When planning for a shade sail, fabric shade, or shade canopy installation, there are a few key considerations you’ll want to keep in mind:

  • Safety: Providing the right amount of shade isn’t just about personal convenience; it’s really a safety thing. The right shade fabric can block up to 98% of the sun’s harmful UV rays, making the playground environment safer for both children and adults alike.
  • Length, width, and height of the area to be covered: Finding the right shade solution starts with knowing how much space you have to cover. To estimate properly, you must think beyond the mere length and width of the property. Elements like play towers, swings, and slides can take up a significant amount of vertical space too. For playgrounds of any size, a free-span shade structure may be your best solution.
  • Longevity: We’ve already pointed out how a shade feature can increase the longevity of your play equipment. But you also want to plan for a shade solution that’s long-lasting in itself. A shade structure that includes multiple overlapping sails or fabric layers will provide better protection and will endure sun degradation better, too.
  • Fabric and color options: Outdoor playground and recreational equipment comes in many bold color schemes. Thankfully, shade canopies come in many vibrant colors as well! It’s not hard to match the look of your playground or to go the extra step of adding a whole new visual aesthetic.

Examples of Shade Solutions We Provide at Carolina Recreation & Design

What might the right type and amount of shade coverage look like for your playground? Here are some great solutions to consider from Carolina Recreation & Design:

Shade Canopies

Sail shade structures

A sail shade arrangement can be installed over most any outdoor play area, comprised of a collection of attractive geometric shapes and patterns. Shade sails come in all sorts of colors and designs too, so there’s no limit to the combination potential. Shade sails can also be overlapped to provide broader, more comprehensive coverage, too.

Integrated shade canopies

Looking for an affordable option that can be integrated into your playground structure’s existing support posts? Modular shade canopies can be included with a new playground installation and can also be added to many existing playground facilities, as well.

Swing set canopies

Shade canopies can be mounted over the top of freestanding swing sets, too. Overhead shade canopies for swing sets have proven to be quite popular for schools, preschools, daycares, and parks all over the country.

Shade for other individual play elements

Smaller play elements outside of the main central play structure also benefit from having their own shade. For example, you could go with a single-post umbrella or a cantilever umbrella shade installation. And if you’re looking to maximize usable play space, single-post support shade units can be a fantastic solution.

Shade solutions for sitting areas

And don’t forget about adding some shade to your outdoor sitting areas, too. In addition to larger shade sail canopies, there are also smaller shade mounts that can be attached to individual park benches. There are some good portable shade canopy solutions, too.

Let Carolina Recreation & Design Put Your Outdoor Facility in the Shade!

Sure, Carolina Recreation & Design installs commercial playgrounds and outdoor recreational equipment in NC, SC, VA, and TN, but we do more than just that. We can help ensure that your entire outdoor play area is literally made in the shade. And on top of that, we’re general contractors who can take care of practically any site design, site preparation, or site amenity needs!

We’re happy to partner with local schools, preschools, daycares, churches & faith centers, hospitals, parks, HOAs, community centers, businesses, municipalities, and more all across North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and Tennessee. Got questions? Ready to get your project started? We’re ready when you are!

You can reach out to us through this simple form, or for an even faster response, simply give us a call at (704) 664-1833 today! Carolina Recreation & Design has all your commercial playground, recreation equipment, site development, and shade solution needs covered!

Got Questions?
We serve the best quality products within your budget

Got Questions

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.