Have you ever sat through an entire football or baseball in the hot sun with no roof over your head? Suffering from heat, UV rays, or rain can take away the enjoyment one would otherwise experience at a fun outdoor event.

Likewise, a public park that offers no shelter can discourage children from playing and getting the exercise they need. It is a pitiful sight to see children listless and sunburned, sitting or lying still on playground equipment under a punishing summer sun.

In any outdoor landscape, shade structures can provide not only protection but also decorative appeal. They protect the people underneath from the sun and rain, and they provide comfort and increase enjoyment during outdoor activities.

A shade structure is simply a roof without walls, and it typically covers an outdoor seating area, playscape, or walkway. The overhead covering can be made of many kinds of material, including canvas, metal, and roofing material. The structure beneath the shelter is typically a steel frame that is sturdy and strong.


An umbrella over an outdoor table is an example of a small shade structure, while a cover over a section of grandstand seats is an example of a large one. The aesthetic appeal of a shade structure lies in the overall shape of the structure and the design and colors of material used for the roof.

Shade shelters are also found in parks and play areas, bus shelters, and covered walkways. They are also commonly used in schools to cover walkways between buildings or in front of buildings where children wait for their bus or a ride. Other terms that are similar in meaning to shade structure are “canopy” and “awning.”

Campers also use temporary structures that provide shade over a cooking or eating area.


There are companies who specialize in designing and manufacturing custom structures to suit a client’s specifications. These companies often supply schools, sports clubs, and playgrounds. If you are interested in purchasing or renting a shade structure, it is a good idea to read reviews of retailers or manufacturers in your area to make sure you find a company who can meet your needs.