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Planning shade solutions

This is not a definitive guide, but an overview of some key steps you should consider and links to other resources which provide more detail on some of these processes.

Keep the big picture in mind when designing any kind of public shade.

  • Shade creation is an ongoing activity rather than as a ‘one-off’. Enhance existing facilities where you can. Use temporary built structures while newly planted trees grow to size.
  • Use any existing plans, for example master plan, neighbourhood plan or asset management plan. A consistent and planned approach to solar UVR protection will avoid a piecemeal and costly approach to providing protective shade.
  • Your strategy should coordinate present needs with potential future initiatives.

Encourage user participation

Participation and involvement of relevant stakeholders should be an essential part of any shade creation project so that it is shaped by the user needs and priorities, not just technical and legal requirements.

Broad involvement in the early planning stages also helps to gain commitment from stakeholders.

Stakeholders can help to promote sun safe community spaces or facilities and to extend your sun safe messages into the community

The key to minimising conflicts is to establish priorities through a structured process of assessing needs.

These priorities then become the basis for all decisions. Broad participation in the planning process can also reinforce the knowledge and practice of sun safe behaviour by stakeholders.

Identify shade needs

Properly defining your shade needs lays the foundation for all later planning for effective UVR protection.

An initial assessment will help you decide the location and design of your shade system by identifying if:

  • Current shade areas are adequate for those who use the setting
  • Current shade areas encourage sun safe behaviour
  • Any new approaches would improve choice and availability.

Resources and tools

Create a site plan

A site plan should clearly show the constraints and design possibilities of the prospective shade site. It should include:

  • A north point showing the orientation of open spaces, buildings, storage area, paths, existing trees and other vegetation.
  • Height of all features so that extent of shadows can be determined for particular dates and times.
  • Location of all services (both above and below ground) such as water, gas and electricity supply, stormwater, sewerage, and telecommunications cables.
  • Other environmental features: direction of the prevailing winds, contour lines to indicate slopes, the location of any surrounding buildings or vegetation that have an impact on the site's climate, and ground surface conditions.
  • Consideration of whether the climate is too cold or hot for the anticipated activities.
  • Potential for damage by flood or other natural disaster.
  • Sightlines and views to retain.
  • Future expansion plans for the facility.

Resources and tools

Write a design brief

Your brief should clearly define:

  • Background information about your requirements for effective UVR protection
  • The type, quality and extent of shade required
  • Your shade creation project aims and outcomes (short and longer term)
  • Relationship to other relevant council plans or policies.

It should reference the information you gathered about your existing site in earlier stages:

  • The results of any public consultation
  • Your assessments of your existing shade and your shade needs
  • Site maps and plans.

The final document will be useful when consulting architects, builders, or suppliers.

Resources and tools

Develop solutions

Consider at least two possible design solutions to the defined shade problem - the best solution will come from considering all elements of the brief.

Use the brief to put your ideas and needs onto paper in the form of preliminary plans. For community groups or private operators, it may be worth engaging an architect to help at this stage.

Properly prepared documents will eventually be needed if building approval is required from council.

Resources and tools

Find guidelines and recommendations to help you when planning shade solutions specifically for public facilities:

Balancing costs

Look closely at the break-down of costs, including material and labour costs, consultant's fees.

Consider long-term costs of operation and maintenance to discover the true cost of the shade system.

If the proposal exceeds your budget, consider conducting the project in stages to allow some shade provision while grander plans are being funded.

Alternatively, consider other design options that do not forego the original aims of the project.

Always keep in mind the relation of initial cost to long-term costs such as maintenance and life span.

Last updated: 20 April 2016