Shade sails installed by Versatile Structures for Supercheap Auto

Shade structures by industry

 Jamie Howard      In ,

Shade structures by industry

There are no hard and fast rules about which shade structure design you can or can’t use for your business or residential property. With hundreds of styles, colours and shade fabrics to choose from, different industries seem to gravitate to certain shade structure solutions though. The reason for that is that specific shade structure designs are most suited to solving an explicit need or problem that is common to that industry.

Let’s consider a few examples.

Sports and Recreation

Iconic sport stadiums may be the first thing that comes to mind, but there are also grandstands, swimming and aquatics facilities, multipurpose sports courts and bowling green canopies to mention some. These shade solutions need to offer sufficient shade to protect the users of that area but also provide cover for the equipment and facilities. There are a smaller shade structures that can also be considered, like the shade structure we designed, manufactured and installed for the Noosa Council Skate Park.

Noosa Council skate park shade structure installed by Versatile Structures

Retail and Commercial

Shade structures provide shade and weather protection for patrons, guests and customers and are vital in creating the right customer experience for a retail or commercial business. Imagine an outdoor dining area without protection from UV radiation or what the impact would be if Bunnings didn’t have shade over their nursery. We created and installed over 5,000 m2 of shade sails for nurseries at Bunnings outlets in Ipswich, Kingaroy, Bundamba and Underwood to create an effective way of filtering the light and enabling the growth of plants that usually require a tree canopy.

shade structure installed by Versatile Structures for Bunnings in Ipswich


Covered outdoor learning areas are a great way for students to enjoy the fresh air and sunlight without exposing their young skins to the harsh UVR. Shade sails not only block out the harmful UV rays of the sun, but they also assist in repelling the heat that would otherwise impact students in the playground and schoolyard. An example of creative thinking is this multicolour custom designed shade sail we installed at St Joseph’s Tobruk Memorial School in Beenleigh, Queensland to enable an outdoor classroom and inspiring an innovative space to relax during breaks.

shade structure installed by Versatile Structures for St Joseph’s Tobruk Memorial School in Beenleigh, Queensland.

Hospitality and Tourism

Not all shade structures need to be so bright and vibrant that they can be seen from space. Below is a great example of a restaurant that identified the opportunity to expand their footprint by creating a waterproof outside dining area that made optimal use of natural light. Using a translucent PVC with a glazed vertical walling system allowed Meccah Bah customers to comfortably enjoy their meals regardless of what the weather is doing outside.

shade structure installed by Versatile Structures for Mecca Bah

Government and Council

Government projects can be challenging owing to their scale and the levels of processes, regulations and approvals that are required. It is owing to these regulations however that Australia is such a secure place and have much to offer all citizens who call Australia home. One example is a large-scale shade project we did for Noosa Council at the Noosa Botanical Gardens, that won two awards. With an area surrounded by a well-established tree canopy, the shade sails needed to be visually pleasing while simultaneously managing the light and humidity for the precious and sensitive plant community beneath – read more about the project.

shade structure installed by Versatile Structures for Noosa Botanical Garden

Transport and Infrastructure

How often have we used public transport and not even noticed the shelter making our transition more comfortable either by providing clear signage of where to go or providing shade or protection from the rain while we wait.

We were tasked with designing, fabricating, and installing a variety of custom aluminium and Cor-Ten signs as part of the multimillion-dollar Caboolture to Wamuran Rail Trail development. This included the Margaret Street Entry sign, double-sided identification signs, the laser cut distance marker plates on the path and rail trail crossing signs throughout. We needed to warrant that the signage reflects the architect’s vision and the unique landscape. To ensure the signage last, the customised cast vinyl graphics panels were covered with a satin 60% gloss protective UV resistant clear coat.

shade structure installed by Versatile Structures for the Caboolture to Wamuran rail trail development

We hope this article inspires some ideas about what is possible and who knows, you may even create a new custom solution. Certainly, keep us posted if you do!


  • 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.