Star Structures

Minimum posts, maximum shade!

Pictured: Bundoora Primary School

Star Structures.

For Schools | Councils | Sports Clubs | and other Commercial Applications.

Need lots of shade with few posts? We design and construct Star Structures for schools, councils, sports clubs and more across NSW and Victoria. The star structure is perfect for small spaces where you want to minimise posts that will disrupt the area.

Minimum posts, maximum shade!

PVC shade structure for eating area

What is a Star Structure?

A star structure is a permanent shade structure on a single post. This post can either be in the centre of the structure, or at the corner of the structure. The fabric is fully braced on arms which extend from this one main column.

They are a similar shape to shade sails, and are designed using the same ‘hyperbolic paraboloid’ (fancy word for saying two of the posts are high and two are low – which makes the fabric ‘twist’ slightly) shape.


cantilevered shade structure

Common Applications

The two most common applications for these structures are playgrounds and sand pits. They are also often used over outdoor learning spaces, eating areas, and public parks and pool sides. Star structures are the best shade structures for tight spaces, as they use only one post and take up minimal space.

Any place where you need shade, but also need to minimise the risk presented by posts, is a good place for a star structure!

commercial pool shade structures


Star structures are typically between 6m2 and 12m2. All our structures are custom designed and manufactured, so we can provide exactly the right size for your space.

The height of your shade structure will be worked out in the design process. We will make sure any play equipment or seating underneath is far enough away from the lowest point of the fabric, and that any lines of site are unobstructed (ie. for CCTV cameras). Keeping the shade structure high enough also makes it a lot less likely to be targeted by vandals.


Shade sails for playgrounds

Choosing your Star Structure: What to look for.

Tight, well-tensioned fabric that won’t flap in the wind. This means the structure will be safer and will last longer.

The right fabric type for your needs, depending on whether you want the structure to be waterproof or just provide protection from the sun. This also determines how much UV can be blocked – shade fabrics tend to be between 90-95%, whereas PVC (waterproof fabric) gives 100% protection.

Welding, not bolting: Attaching PVC or Shade mesh to the columns using bolts allows for moisture to potentially enter the steel column which will cause rusting. To prevent this, Greenline welds the attachments points to make sure they remain moisture free.

Reinforced fabric corners and seams. Reinforcing ensures the maximum lifespan of your structure by minimising the risk of ripped or torn sails at high stress points like the seams and corners.

Choice of colour! Make sure you choose a supplier that has access to a good selection of colours. The fabric colour you choose makes a big difference to the look of the finished project. With a variety of colours to choose from you can decide whether you want to make the star blend in with existing facilities in the area, or you can choose to make it stand out with a bold, contrasting colour.

shade for over a sand pit

Benefits of Star Structures

  • Improve the safety of an existing area by limiting harmful UV rays. Depending on the type of fabric, you can block 90-100% of UVR.
  • Get all-year-round access to spaces that are usually impacted by hot and wet weather. Installing shade allows use of sand pits and play equipment which too hot to use during summer months. PVC is great for weather proofing eating areas that are unusable when it rains.
  • Replace dead or unused space with collaborative space. Star structures fit into small spaces, so you can easily transform an unused outdoor space into a learning or active space.
  • For schools: Grow your teaching options to allow flexibility with outdoor classroom space. Fresh air = Fresh thinking!


Post Pads

Including Post Pads on your shade structure is a simple and effective way to minimise risks for anyone using your facilities and is very important when the space is for children. These come in an extensive range of colours, so you can choose to seamlessly integrate with the post colour or opt for a striking contrast.

Anti-Climbing Devices

Anti – Climbing devices are mounted on the steel columns to prevent, as the name suggests, people climbing on the structure! These can be in the form of an unobtrusive fin, finished in the same way as the steel so they don’t disrupt the look of the column.

difference between shade and PVC fabric

Fabric Type and Colour Options

Firstly, we need to split the fabrics into two categories: There is Shade fabric which provides sun protection only (the most common star structure fabric) and then there is PVC fabric which is also waterproof.







choosing the best shade fabric

Steel Finish Type and Colour Options

The quality and finish of steel columns used in your structure can make or break the structure.

Here’s a quick table to help you navigate steel coatings/finishes:







Cleaning and Maintenance

Star structures are designed to last in the outdoors with minimal maintenance. In areas with typical rainfall they are self-cleaning for the most part and if the rain isn’t doing its job, simply hosing them down will keep the dirt and leaves from building up.

We do recommend all shade structures (not just stars) are inspected each year for any damage that may present a risk to people in the area, particularly in a school or community environment.

What is a star structure?

Do I need a permit/approval for a shade structure?

What colour shade cloth is best?

How much do star structures cost?