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Sporting grounds

Sports grounds need to accommodate different types of users, engaged in different types of activities, and for varying lengths of time.

Design considerations

Spectator areas

  • Plan shaded areas to give the best viewing angle with regard to orientation of courts or pitches. This will usually be from the side or end. It is also worth considering that most fields are oriented north/south so spectators are often facing into the sun.
  • Provide shade for the season and time of day the ground is most frequently used.
    • If games are played in the afternoons, ensure shade is available for spectators all afternoon and later in the morning (if they arrive early). Provide low eaves or solid vertical barriers to the western side (behind spectators).
    • If games are played in the mornings provide shade on the eastern side of the field and low eaves or solid vertical barriers to the eastern side, behind spectators.
  • Design seating areas to exclude the undesirable features of site climate such as chilly winds. Read more about climate and local environmental factors.
  • Consider social aspects of the seating and shade layout—design sub-areas so that a regular group of users can claim a particular spot as theirs.
  • Make sure that spectators can get close enough to see the action and still benefit from shade protection.
  • Consider alternatives to tiered seating, for example a gently sloping lawn away from the direction of the sun with shade trees located at a distance behind the slope.
  • Plant large, wide-spreading canopy trees for shade wherever people are to spend time outdoors. Choose the location and species to suit the local area and the climate. Read more about natural shade.

Player areas

  • Players off-field areas (e.g. baseball dugouts and substitution areas) should be shaded and if possible protected from rain. Warm-up areas should also be shaded.
  • Player on field areas where possible should be shaded. For example, a tennis court could be covered with a large clear span structure, or each end of a bowling green could be covered with a retractable shade canopy.
  • The areas where officials are located, e.g. scoreboxes and umpire chairs, should be shaded if at all possible. In some circumstances, a portable shade structure or a large umbrella may be the only viable option.

Refreshment areas

  • Provide permanent shade at refreshment areas to allow people standing in queues to be protected. Provide enough depth of shelter for capacity crowds waiting to be served. Broad awnings also ensure that an opening to an enclosed area, such as a refreshment servery, can be used during the rain.
  • Where possible ground surfaces should reflect minimal levels of UVR (grass or roughened concrete are preferable).
  • Shade is recommended over picnic tables in open areas, particularly during the middle of the day.
Last updated: 21 April 2016

Technical guidelines

Find specific recommendations for shade planning in all common public facilities in the Technical guidelines for shade provision in public facilities.