commercial shade structure by Versatile Structures

A guide to shade structure styles

What is a shade structure?

Shade structure means a roofed structure which can be either freestanding or fixed to a building for the purpose of providing shade or shelter from the weather. The shade structure can be over entrances to buildings, external entertaining areas, vehicles, loading/unloading areas, or the like, but does not include the use of land under that structure, which would otherwise require a separate development approval.

Shade structure styles

With so many diverse types of shade structures available, when it comes to choosing a shade structure for your business or residential project, it is important be clear about its function, the size, type of coverage and its focal point. Below is a range of shade structure styles to choose from.

Screens and sunhoods

Aluminium screens and sunhoods by Versatile Structures

A sunhood may not be the first shade structure that comes to mind; however, they are cost-effective and practical shade structure solutions to protect apartment and office building windows and doors from weather elements, as well as offering privacy. Sunhoods are exceptionally durable, and an attractive solution to revamp an old façade. Read more


Vypar umbrella installed by Versatile Structures

The humble umbrella has come a long way from the parasol used over 4,000 years ago by Chinese. With so many styles to choose from, from cantilever umbrellas, structural umbrellas, and café style umbrellas to permanent and movable solutions. Read more about umbrellas, their benefits and pricing.


Louvre awning installed by Versatile Structures

An awning is the ideal shade structure solution to create indoor-outdoor living areas. Awnings are an investment for any business or home as they add eye-catching aesthetic accents, as well as reduce energy bills by protecting interiors from heat gain. Businesses have an additional benefit of increasing their retail footprint and turnover, by creating protected outside areas for their customers to dine and relax at. Learn more about awnings here.

Heavy duty sails

Heavy duty shade structure installed by Versatile Structures

When it comes to commercial applications such as large high tension shade structure sails or one-of-a-kind architectural shade structures that require high structural support, heavy duty sails are the perfect solution.  A 320 GSM (grams per square metre) is one of the heaviest shade cloths around and ideal for large spans as it offers great strength and durability. Read more about heavy duty shade structure stitching and protection.

What shade structure is best

Shade structure installed at the Australian Zoo by Versatile Structures

There is not a straightforward answer to which is the best shade structure. The answer lies in what you need as well, as what will work best in the environment the shade structure will be living. There are so many factors to consider like the size of the structure, how much wind it needs to withstand, does it need to be waterproof or does it need to open and close at certain times of the day. Read more about deciding on which shade structure is best for you.


  • Versatile Structures Headshots

    Jamie Howard - Director

    Co-founder and Director Jamie has been hands-on in the shade and steel industry since leaving school. With over 15 years’ experience in shade, membrane and steel projects, Jamie is excited about the design opportunities shade structures offer in the commercial and industrial sectors. Jamie’s extensive design skills give him a competitive edge in situations with technical design complexity. He has won two personal industry awards for his designs, alongside many company-won awards.