The Top 3 Questions About Playground Shade Structures, Answered

The Top 3 Questions About Playground Shade Structures, Answered

In the work that I do, there is nothing more important than providing vital shade to playgrounds. Whether it is a council playground, kindergarten or school, providing playground shade structures to protect children from the sun is one of the most rewarding parts of my job.

Ashadya specialises in supplying and installing custom playground shade structures across Sydney and we often receive requests for information about the options, requirements and regulations associated with playground shade structures. Thus, to provide you with instant answers, below are the top three asked questions about playground shade solutions to assist with your planning.

Do playground shade structures require planning or construction approval?

Shade structures can only be carried out as exempt development if they meet a set of standards.

Planning and approval will be required by state government laws if a shade structure;

  • is higher than 3 m from ground level, or
  • if the shade sail is constructed within 5m of a boundary in Zone RU1, RU2, RU3, RU4, RU6 or R5—5m, or
  • if the shade sail is constructed within 900mm of a boundary in any other case, or
  • if it is located in front of the building line.

Which shade structure is best for playgrounds?

There are many types of shade structures that are suitable for playgrounds; however, some are better than others. Available options include permanent shade structures such as pergolas and verandas, demountable/portable shade structures such as marquees, tents and umbrellas, adjustable shade structures such as awnings, and tension membrane structures and shade sails.

Each has its own set of pros and cons. But, the one with the most pros and the fewest cons I believe is tension membrane structures and shade sails made from shade cloth. Both can offer shade coverage of very large areas without requiring any centre support or columns, they are permanent and won’t blow away, they are cost-effective and the shade cloth fabric can offer great sun protection.

What material is best for playground shade structures?

Playground shade structures are made from a range of materials; everything from steel sheeting, glass and fibreglass to canvas, shade cloth and PVC.

When planning a playground shade structure, UV radiation absorption is one of the most important factors to consider.

Other factors to consider include the suitability, light transmission, life span and maintenance requirements.

Shade cloth is the preferred material for playground shade structures because it can offer a high percentage of UV radiation absorption of up to 95% and offers good properties for the other considerations mentioned above. At Ashadya, we rely on shade cloth from the leading manufacturers to offer the highest level of UV protection, up to 99%.

The Cancer Council has a great comparison chart in its Guidelines to Shade document, see page 14.

How much do playground shade structures cost?

This is a little bit like asking, how long is a piece of string. There are many variables to take into consideration including ease of installation, the size of the structure, the amount of supporting posts and beams and the quality of shade cloth used to cover the shade structure.  Whether or not it is waterproof is another factor.


Playground shade structures are vital for providing protection against the sun to our most vulnerable, children. This is why choosing the right playground shade structure is so important.

The most asked questions in regards to our playground shade structures include whether planning and approval are required, which shade structure is best suited for playgrounds, which is the best material for shade structures and how much do shade structures cost.

If you’re looking for information or a free quote for playground shade structures in Sydney, contact Ashadya Shade Sails & Blinds. We specialise in supplying and installing shade solutions that offer the highest level of protection and can create a custom structure for your requirements.