Navigating the shade and shelter industry can quickly get confusing if you’re looking for a particular type of structure. There are many different types, and many different names for every type!
In this article we will cover as many of the common and uncommon names for permanent shade and shelter structures as possible.
Other names: Hypar sails, shade cloths, fabric sails.
Common Characteristics: Shade sails have two main components: shade cloth, and steel (or sometimes wooden) poles. The fabric has a distinctive twisted shape.
Usually, between 3-6 steel posts is the most common.
Common Uses: Found in all corners of Australia, from outdoor classrooms and council playgrounds, through to backyard pools and front verandas. Shade sails are a very versatile structure.
Other names: Star structure, umbrella shade, commercial umbrella.
Common characteristics: These structures have 1 post, with a fabric cover which is fully braced on arms which extend from the one main column.
Common uses: Perfect for small spaces, these structures can either have a centre post or a corner post and extend out over a small area. Perfect for sand pits, pool sides, small eating areas, and outdoor learning areas.
Other names: Barrel Vault structure, canopy, tension membrane structure, shade and membrane structure, dome structure.
Common characteristics: A steel frame with a high-tension fabric cover. Usually 15-20m span at a minimum.
Other names: hip structure, fabric roof, gable roof,
Common characteristics: Typically triangular frame between posts, with either a shade or PVC fabric roof. Better suited to larger spans.
Common uses: multi-purpose spaces, playgrounds, large outdoor learning areas, sports courts.
Other names: COLAs, Pergolas, Awnings, solid roof structure.
Common Characteristics: traditional shaped roof (gable, skillion, or curved) with steel posts.
Common uses: Steel structures are super versatile – they can be used for small areas like over a BBQ or picnic spot, through to walkways, and large multi-court sports facilities.
Other names: Walkway structure.
Common characteristics: Posts at one side, structure spanning out from there. Can be fabric (shade or PVC) or steel.
Common uses: walkways, sports seating/grandstands, amphitheatres, carpark shade
Other names: Cone structure, Inverted conic, circus tent.
Common characteristics: High centre point with low edges, forming a cone-like structure.
Common uses: seating areas, passive areas, eating areas, assembly areas, atriums/small courtyards.