Choosing the Right Shade Structure for Your Business
When choosing a shade structure for your business, it is important to consider the purpose of the project. Are you looking for a shade structure that only provides protection against sunlight and the elements? Do you want to enhance the look of your property with a visually striking shade structure? Or do you want a shade structure that does both?
Sometimes property owners select shade structures that provide a bold visual focal point, serve purely functional purposes, or complement the surrounding architecture and space:
- Shade as a focal point — If the shade is the first thing you notice when approaching a shop, restaurant, apartment complex or recreation center, it is likely due to the shape, size, pattern or color of the shade. For example, if a building has a simple design with flat, gray walls and evenly spaced square windows, yet the shade is bright yellow and contemporary in style, the building’s owners likely chose the shade to liven up the facade and draw attention to the building.
- Shade that blends in — When you’re trying to decide where to sit outdoors at a coffee shop or restaurant, you may not even notice the shades along the outer-window tops that cover the seating area. Shades that blend in with the architecture or space are great additions to an outdoor seating area. These shade structures are typically conventional in shape, modest in size and mimic the colors of the surrounding architecture.
- Shade that complements — If you’ve ever admired the symmetry and cohesive design of a large and visually arresting building, it was probably a combination of complementary colors, shapes, materials, components and scale that caught your eye. Shades can complement their surroundings in a number of ways, such as using bright, colorful shade to reflect a building with similar qualities.
Read the full article or jump to a specific section:
- Where Focal-Point Shades Are Most Suitable
- Where Functional Shade is Preferable
- Where Complementary Shades Work Best
- Shade Structure Size and Coverage
- Weather and Materials for Shade Structures
- Questions to Ask About Custom Shades
- Different Styles of Shade Structures
Where Focal-Point Shades Are Most Suitable
Shade structures designed to provide shelter from the sun with decorative features are well suited for tourist spots and novelty destinations. If visitors come to your location to take photos or to enjoy an experience, consider a focal-point shade structure. Tension-shade structures are uniquely suited for public places where people of all ages walk around, play and capture memories on camera.
- Tourist attractions — Eye–catching shade structures can serve as a backdrop for group photos and selfies at popular vacation destinations. For example, the bright blue butterfly shade structures that offer sun protection at the Dallas Zoo add an artistic touch to visitors’ vacation photos.
- Novelty stores — A unique shade above the door would be consistent with the theme of stores that sell wacky toys, colorful candy, quirky antiques and other fun gizmos. If the store’s products feature wild patterns, bright colors and squiggly shapes, the shade could reflect these visuals on the exterior. A colorful shade structure is also a fun and cool addition for novelty stores in a sunny or hot climate.
- Restaurants — Restaurants are prime spots for shade structures that add to a facade or expand an outdoor seating area. Shade enhances the dining experience, allowing guests to enjoy the outdoor setting further while keeping them comfortable. Restaurant shade structures can also enhance the aesthetics of your building with fabric customized to reflect the restaurant’s look and feel. The structure itself can be customized to promote any theme, to make your restaurant and the dining experience more memorable.
Where Functional Shade is Preferable
Structures that provide shelter from sun are an extremely appropriate choice for stadiums, venues and recreation centers where events are the focus and public safety is of utmost concern. Not only do they protect spectators from UV rays, but also increase airflow to reduce temperatures in warmer months to make the event more enjoyable. Here are a few places that benefit from this UV and heat protection:
- Swimming pools — At swimming pools and aquatic centers, the main purpose of a shade structure is to protect visitors from the UV rays of the sun and keep visitors cool while they relax poolside.
- Athletic fields and stadiums — At outdoor athletic facilities and stadiums, the focal point is always the field. Shade structures incorporated into the stadium design keep spectators cool and safe from UV rays and protect athletes against the sun’s glare, allowing them to perform at their best.
Where Complementary Shades Work Best
Shade structures designed for form and function provide a distinctive way to make spaces stand out from an architectural standpoint anywhere people gather to shop, dine or sightsee. Consider complementary shade structures in spaces that need to be an extension of the architecture or space. At venues where people spend long periods of time waiting outside, it is important to think of the visitors’ comfort and the capacity to shade everyone within the space.
- Shopping malls — The entrances of malls can be extended to enhance the building's shape, color and design scheme with a shade structure. For example, an addition of a bold-colored shade structure can be the perfect way to modernize the building’s facade. If the retail or shopping center is set in a promenade with lots of planted trees, a simple shade that mimics the landscape might be a suitable, understated enhancement to the building.
- Amusement and Attractions— At science museums, aquatic parks and other family–themed amusement centers, shade structures can be used to complement the venue’s facade and surrounding attractions. More subdued colors can help balance out boldly colored amusement park rides. Shade also protects visitors by covering outdoor attractions and dining areas. These shade structures can also be nice additions to the entrance where visitors wait to enter the venue.
Shade Structure Size and Coverage
Paying attention to how your visitors behave in various outdoor areas can help you determine your custom shade needs. For instance, knowing where people avoid standing or bringing their children because of high temperatures can indicate a prime location for a shade structure. Covering areas where large items such as golf carts, farm equipment and other vehicles are stored outside should also be considered for protection against sun exposure. When choosing a shade structure for a restaurant exterior, the size of the shade depends on whether you offer outdoor seating or need a covered walkway for visitors. The following examples demonstrate size–appropriateness in regard to shade structures.
- Crowded entryways— In locations where crowds gather to attend movies, concerts or sporting events, ample shade should be provided at the front entrance and above the sidewalk where the line extends. The shade should be at an optimal entry height to stand under, allowing comfortable coverage for visitors waiting in line.
- Sunny areas — Where the sunlight shines directly on the venue or attraction, shade structures should be large enough to accommodate the largest number of people who might seek shelter on a sunny day. At public swimming pools, for instance, your shade structure may need to be relatively close to the pool itself, so the concrete around the swimming pool will absorb less heat. Direct sunlight around a pool can be dangerous for guests, as unshaded areas increase the risk of sunburn and stepping on burning hot concrete.
- Car dealerships — To keep new and used cars protected from hail and sunlight, car dealerships can benefit from shade structures large enough to cover every vehicle on the lot. When picking a shade structure for a car dealership, consider the height and shape of the structure. A structure with an arched top will be better equipped to handle hail while increasing air flow, protect vehicles and keep customers and employees comfortable in warmer temperatures.
Weather and Materials for Shade Structures
When choosing the right shade structure for a business, consider the weather patterns in the area. Do you live in a climate that's reasonable during most months? Are temperatures generally muggy and humid or rainy and cold? Or a seasonal trade-off of both extremes?
- Sunny and hot climates — Where the sun shines bright and hot from early spring to the middle of fall (such as desert areas or beachfront properties), a shade material with a sufficient ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) should be chosen to help protect against UV rays. In addition to providing protection from these damaging rays, the right shade structure can increase airflow to make the environment more comfortable in these areas, providing a welcome respite from the sun on hot days while making outdoor and work experiences better.
Questions to Ask About Custom Shades
Ask yourself the following questions to ensure that you choose the right style, color, material and size for your custom shade structure.
- Will conditions in the area require a material that's waterproof or hail-resistant? Consider the project’s current or changing landscape — for example, are there trees nearby? If so, will they interfere with the shade structure?
- Have you considered how external factors — weather, building design, etc. — will influence the choice of material, design, size and strength of the intended shade structure?
- If the structure is for a public recreation space, have you discussed with your shade expert the need for a clear line of site for parents to watch their kids?
Before deciding on a specific design and style, ask our experts for a conceptual drawing of the structure fully assembled on your property to get a concrete idea of how the completed shade structure will actually look. Consider the landscape in which you are planning to incorporate a shade structure; take into account tree coverage and the levelness and composition of the terrain. For example, will your shade structure go directly onto the terrain, or will it be set upon a concrete platform? Your shade consultant can then help you determine a solution that works well with the landscape.
Different Styles of Shade Structures
Shade structures come in a variety of styles to provide shelter with a touch of visual class in any outdoor setting. At USA SHADE, we offer shade structures in everything from multi-panel styles to waves, wraparounds and cantilever designs. You can also work with our architectural specialist team to develop custom shade structures uniquely designed to suit your project. In modern outdoor spaces, our shade structures provide a unique and functional option that enhances the space, enabling people to feel comfortable gathering even in sunny, hot climates that they couldn’t enjoy before.
Now that you know how to choose the right shade for your business, why should you choose a shade structure from USA SHADE? No matter where you plan to install them, our fabric shade structures can complement the unique need and look of your business. Whether you’re looking for shade structures for schools, playgrounds, shopping centers, parking lots, outdoor athletic facilities, or nearly any other venue, our team of shade experts can recommend many different types of standard or custom shade structure styles that will help protect and enhance your business for years to come. Contact USA SHADE to learn more about our shade solutions and get a quote today.