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Custom Shade Structures: A Guide to the Design and Build Process

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Shade structures are the perfect way to help your business stand out while helping your customers stay cool. If your location is in need of a style or function upgrade, commercial shade structures can help revitalize your space in a practical and visually appealing way.

Installing a shade structure gives your business several advantages. Shade structures allow your visitors to comfortably enjoy their time outdoors, out of the way of hot sunlight and harmful UV rays. You may even consider investing in shade structures to get more use out of areas lacking in natural shade, so you can provide quality experiences to customers wherever they are on your site.

You can also get a custom shade structure to complement your facility’s environment. Chances are, you already have a great outdoor space. Permanent shade can be a great focal point to help your establishment make its mark as an exciting location, or blend with surroundings for a minimalist means of providing outdoor experiences and sun safety.

What Are Custom Design Structures?

To help your business make its mark, consider a custom shade structure. Delight customers with an innovative structure they won’t see anywhere else, one that doubles as a shade provider and an appealing visual accent.

Standard shade structure designs are growing increasingly innovative. However, your business may want or need to branch out from typical rectangular or triangular designs and create a piece best fit for your specific purposes. Whether you want to continue with an established theme, or need a specific shape or size for a unique area, USA Shade’s custom solutions let your business express itself.

All kinds of businesses and organizations can benefit from attractive, custom shade structures. Shaded parks, playgrounds and pools attract families looking for outdoor activities safe from the sun. Businesses such as car washes and airports can bring in new people and make visitors comfortable with shades to walk or sit under. And, sports fields, concert venues and other seating areas can provide extra comfort to guests by offering shaded spots to enjoy the festivities.

Custom shade structure benefits include:

Visual appeal: Provide an attractive, long-lasting statement feature that draws people to your business. Visitors will enjoy spending time at your location surrounded by such an interesting piece.

UV protection: Protect your guests from sunburn and other harmful side effects of the sun’s rays with shade fabric that can block up to 96% of UV rays. Shade structures promote increased outdoor time by letting people safely enjoy nature.

Area compatibility: Match your new shade structure to your business’s brand with colors and shapes that reflect what your business does and the type of environment you want to create. You can also design a structure that looks good with the surrounding area, such as a natural environment or other buildings on your block.

Collaboration: Contribute your business’s creative input with a collaborative design and build process. When you choose to customize a shade structure with USA Shade, our teams work with you to take your ideas and requirements and turn them into products that check all your boxes. Your business is a direct partner throughout the entire process, giving you the confidence to share your ideas and create the exact shade solution you’re looking for.

How Are Custom Shade Structures Made?

When you choose to customize with USA Shade, you begin a highly collaborative process between our team members and yours. Your needs and ideas filter into several steps to ensure a high-quality, unique product.

We’re your one-stop-shop for all your needs from concept to installation. Our knowledgeable staff will collaborate with your engineers and architects every step of the way, from design development to manufacturing and construction, so you can feel good about creating a product backed by industry expertise.

Non-traditional shade structures take many intricate steps to design and build. Before any engineering or construction takes place, custom designs require special planning and project approval, so we can help you arrive at an effective, functional and stylish shade solution. After approvals, you’re all set to begin sharing your ideas.

Consultation – Finding the Best Design for You

Talking your vision through with an expert is the first step in the design process. Choosing the custom route gives you a world of design possibilities to turn into plausible realities.

Depending on your available space and budget, as well as the brand personality you want to convey, your shade structure will look and operate differently from standard options and may be entirely different from other custom designs as well. You know your business’s needs more than anyone, and meeting with a shade expert can help solidify your vision while keeping your needs and wants intact.

At USA Shade, you’ll start your custom journey by contacting our team and meeting with a representative. During this meeting, you’ll discuss your wants and needs, set expectations for the rest of the process and share your ideas for what will make your structure stand out and work best for you.

The consultation is the part of the process where we get to learn all about your business, from who you are and what you do to why you want a shade structure and what you want this new feature to accomplish. Your ideas are what will make this process a success. The more we know about your business, the better we can help implement your plans and turn your ideas into useful, attractive products.

Quotes – Deciding on a Price

After speaking with our experts and formulating your curated plan, our team will calculate a quote for your project. Based on your business’s budget, you and your USA Shade contacts will agree on a payment plan that works best for your financial needs.

At this point in the customization process, the project timeline becomes more finalized. Knowing the shade structure elements you need and want helps us determine how long the process will take, so everyone on our combined teams has the clarity to move forward with implementation. Once everyone’s on the same page about project logistics, the honed-in design process can begin.

Whenever you’re ready to speak to a USA Shade representative about pricing for a custom shade structure, you can request a quote by filling out our form with your project details and contact information.

Initial Conceptual Design – Refining Your Ideas

When your project has reached the design stage, USA Shade’s project design and engineering departments will help you visualize your ideas within the context of your facility. First, our experts will design a structure according to your needs, wants and ideas. Then, we’ll use computer-aided design (CAD) rendering and animation software to model the design in 3D.

The 3D animation helps us determine realistic aspects of the structure, such as its material requirements like steel, fabric, hardware and cables. It also lets us visualize elements such as the proportional relationships between each sail and the sun shade’s overall aesthetics.

From there, we can determine the actual measurements for the materials we’ll need. The CAD animation is usually an accurate representation of the final product, but later on, you’ll have the opportunity to request additions or changes to better fit your vision.

Based on the 3D animation, designers will draw up sketches to give you an accurate look at how your ideas will integrate with your space. You’ll also receive engineering calculations to ensure all aspects of the project fit your requirements.

During the design phase, one of our goals is to create visuals that are easy for you to understand and that stay true to your initial ideas. Our designers understand the importance and intersections of shape, form and function. We aim to give you an innovative concept that will let employees and customers alike appreciate your design from all angles.

Feedback – Perfecting the Design

After you’ve viewed the initial conceptual design, we’ll give you the chance to offer feedback and make additional requests to ensure you get the shade structure you desire. Your satisfaction is our priority, and we want you to be happy with the design before we begin with the tangible steps.

USA Shade designers will ensure the concept they’ve created meets all your needs and expectations before moving forward with the process.

Engineering – Approving Practical Components

The 3D CAD animation of your structure also serves as the basis for the engineering process. First, the Sales Engineering Department will analyze the structural design to make sure the structure is stable and in a shape that will disperse weight without stress or flaws in certain areas. Then, after you have approved the design, we’ll work on turning it into a reality.

The engineering stage differs from the conceptual design stage in that it’s focused on practical elements, such as the shade structure’s safety, functionality and weather resistance. Your project may look good on paper, but we make sure it also serves its purpose for years to come.

After you’ve approved the design, our team will get to work patterning the fabric shape. Software helps us determine the size and shape of the fabric panels, and we send these designs to our fabrication team.

The Project Engineers and Designers also create steel shop drawings to use when manufacturing the steel parts. For more complex custom designs, construction engineering comes into play, as we incorporate aspects such as rigging design, sequencing plans and specialized hydraulic tensioning components.

To aid the engineering process, it’s important to evaluate the site prior to construction, so we know the circumstances we are working with. We want to ensure the area you have chosen is fit to build on and will meet our technical requirements, so our shade structure does all it needs to do to provide a safe, beautiful and relaxing environment for your customers.

Fabrication – Creating the Pieces

Once we’ve eliminated any design and structural issues, and engineers are certain your shade structure will hold, we’ll begin to create the pieces to put it together. Our own fabrication plant is suited to manufacture our unique products, so we can make high-quality shade structures that look amazing and stand the test of time.

Our experts will gather all the necessary materials to build your shade structure. We’ll follow all your business’s specifications for details such as colors and materials to deliver a product that’s true-to-design.

Our talented fabrication team uses only the best tools and raw materials. Our steel welders are all certified and inspected to ensure they bring their best skills to every project.

In addition, the fabrics we use give us a competitive edge from their durability and style. Our fabrics include PVC and HDPE, a high-density polyethylene mesh that blocks the sun’s harmful rays. Choose from a variety of materials with different levels of translucency, UV protection, weather protection and light reflectivity. We’ll match fabrics to your business’s preferences while staying in line with your project specifications.

When we put together the elements you’ve selected, we create fabric canopies that are made to last. Our teams use precise fabric cutting technology for efficient performance and pattern accuracy. We apply the strongest seams possible for each type of fabric we use, often using methods such as heat-sealing and radio frequency sealing, as well as strong, specially designed industrial threads.

Once we’ve made the components of your shade structure, we’ll be ready to begin construction.

Construction and Installation – Putting it All Together

The final step of the building process is placing your fabricated structure into its place for you to enjoy. When it’s time to install your USA Shade product, we provide highly trained shade structure construction professionals. Our construction team is experienced in foundation construction, steel erection and fabric installation, bringing all the necessary skills for building commercial shade structures.

The quality of our products extends into how you experience them at your location, which is why we’re committed to following through with our collaboration by installing your shade structure in compliance with all applicable safety regulations.

Our professionals will first evaluate the installation area to make sure conditions are safe and remove any items that could interfere with the process. Then, they’ll install each piece with proper safety testing measures. After construction is complete, our team will perform inspections and quality checks and clean up the site, leaving you with a completed shade structure that will add new excitement to your space.

Experience a Step-by-Step Partnership With USA Shade

Here at USA Shade, we put people first. Our customization process is entirely collaborative, so we’ll work with you every step of the way to get to know your business, find out what you want and help you reach your goals through an innovative shade structure. USA Shade is your single source for shade solutions, offering you complete services from consultation and design to engineering and installation.

You’ll give us your ideas, and we’ll use our industry expertise to turn them into realities. In our efforts to support your business’s specific needs as much as possible, we can also work with your in-house architects and engineers. We’ll combine our areas of expertise with yours to deliver a product that’s deeply tied to your business.

Creating custom designs should be a customized experience. That’s why our process stays focused on your business from beginning to end. If you’re interested in creating a custom shade structure with USA Shade, contact us today to talk to an expert and get started with the process!