Tillerman Seafood Restaurant shade structure installed by Versatile Structures

The Vital Role of Shade Structures in Outdoor hospitality Spaces

 Jamie Howard      In

In the dynamic world of hospitality, where guest experience reigns supreme, every detail matters. From ambiance to comfort, establishments strive to create inviting environments that leave a lasting impression on patrons. In this pursuit, the significance of outdoor spaces cannot be overstated. Whether it’s a bustling rooftop bar, a craft beer garden , or a scenic sidewalk café, outdoor areas offer a unique opportunity to elevate the guest experience. However, as any seasoned hospitality professional knows, the scorching sun or unexpected rain can quickly dampen the mood. This is where shade structures emerge as indispensable assets, seamlessly blending functionality with aesthetics to enhance outdoor hospitality spaces.

The Use and Purpose of Shade Structures:

Shade structures serve multiple purposes, primarily providing protection from the sun’s intense rays and creating comfortable outdoor environments. In hospitality spaces, shade structures are used to shield guests from direct sunlight, preventing discomfort and potential health risks such as sunburn or heat exhaustion. Additionally, they extend the usability of outdoor areas by mitigating the impact of adverse weather conditions such as rain or excessive heat, thereby enhancing guest satisfaction and revenue potential.

The primary purpose of shade is to provide relief from the sun’s heat and glare, creating cooler and more comfortable environments for people to enjoy outdoor activities. In hospitality settings, shade structures fulfill this purpose by reducing the temperature of outdoor spaces and minimizing exposure to harmful UV radiation, thus ensuring the safety and well-being of guests. Furthermore, shade enhances the aesthetic appeal of outdoor areas, creating inviting and tranquil environments that encourage social interaction and relaxation.

Materials Used for Shade Structures and Height Considerations:

Shade structures can be constructed using a variety of materials, depending on factors such as durability, aesthetics, and budget. Common materials include fabric, metal, wood, and polycarbonate, each offering unique benefits in terms of strength, weather resistance, and visual appeal. From lightweight fabrics providing UV protection to sturdy metal frames offering structural integrity, the choice of materials depends on the specific requirements and design preferences of the hospitality venue.

The height of shade structures can vary depending on their design, intended use, and location. In hospitality spaces, shade structures are typically installed at heights that allow for ample clearance and visibility while providing effective sun protection. Common heights range from 8 to 12 feet for structures such as umbrellas and pergolas, while larger shade sails or canopies may be installed at greater heights to accommodate larger gatherings or architectural features. Ultimately, the height of shade structures is determined by factors such as site conditions, building codes, and aesthetic preferences, ensuring optimal functionality and visual harmony within the outdoor space.


In the ever-evolving landscape of hospitality, outdoor spaces serve as invaluable extensions of a venue’s offerings, providing guests with immersive experiences that delight the senses and create lasting memories. Within this context, shade structures emerge as indispensable assets, seamlessly blending functionality with aesthetics to enhance the usability, comfort, and visual appeal of outdoor hospitality spaces. From providing respite from the elements to extending revenue potential and fostering social engagement, the value of shade structures in hospitality settings cannot be overstated. As hospitality professionals continue to prioritize guest experience and innovation, integrating thoughtfully designed shade solutions will undoubtedly remain a cornerstone of outdoor hospitality design, enriching the lives of patrons and elevating the industry as a whole.


  • 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.