While some Vitamin D is important, too much of a good thing can have negative effects.

That’s why sun protection is important, particularly from an early age. And, unfortunately, sunburns attained when you’re young can double the risk of skin disease in the future.

So, naturally, you want to protect the children that go to your school from too many UV rays. When you think about it, most children are in school when sunlight is at its most intense, which is between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. This means that during recess and after school programs, as well as in outdoor classrooms, children can be exposed to the harshest UV rays.

Another benefit is your school grounds become more usable when you add shade to your school landscape; people enjoy them more.

If your school lacks the proper shade, students’ tender skin can suffer. If you’re looking for school landscape shade ideas to provide better areas for your students to play and interact while outdoors without increasing their risks of excess sun exposure, we’ve got you covered.

3 Ways to Provide Sun Safety For Schools

Shade can come in quite a few shapes and sizes -- from large trees to landscape structures to shade sails over playground areas. So you have many choices when deciding what kinds and varieties of shade to add to your school landscape.

There are many benefits that come from both natural and man-made shade planning for schools.

1. Shade Trees For School Grounds

Natural shade provided by trees can aid in the protection of the students and playground equipment at your school. They add much needed greenery and color to your educational facility’s landscape.

This greenery also comes with benefits, such as stress relief for all who interact in the space. But they do require regular pruning to ensure dead or broken branches are removed or kept from impeding pathways or entryways. With proper care and maintenance, shade trees can benefit your school in different ways during every season and for years to come.

When it comes to choosing the right types of trees for your school landscape, you’re looking for varieties that provide a large, wid canopy versus something that’s narrow or upright.

Here are some great trees to consider when you want to add shade to a school landscape:

Sycamore Trees

These make handsome shade trees for large landscapes with their wide, dome-shaped, dense canopy. Their most striking feature is their camouflage-like bark composed of a gray-brown outer layer that peels to reveal light gray beneath. Majestic in nature, they average 40 to 100 feet in height.Sycamore Tree for shade

London Plane Trees

These trees provide great shade in summer and visual interest in winter. They can grow to 100 feet tall and 80 feet wide. The branches spread and droop slightly, creating a graceful look. Their leaves are bright green and shaped like stars.London Plane Tree


These majestic shade trees can grow to 80 feet tall and enjoy well-drained, sunny locations. There are 60 species of oaks native to the U.S., so they also come in a wide variety of shapes and colors.Oak Tree


Considered the most dazzling shade trees for fall color in bright reds and brilliant oranges, maples have showy leaves and an intriguing branch color and texture. They can grow up to 70 feet tall and 50 feet wide in full sun to partial shade.Maple Tree shading a picnic area

2. Shade Structures

Man-made shade structures for your school grounds can provide sun protection during every season. You can even customize them to fit your specific space.

When you’re looking at sun safety for schools, hard roof structures are great for outdoor learning or lunch areas, while fabric shade canopies can work well for playground shade.

3. Shading School Playground Equipment

Since commercial playground equipment is manufactured with steel and plastic components, these pieces can get rather warm sitting in direct sunlight.

Shade planning for schools in these areas can help prevent playground structures from overheating, as well as keep them from fading.

Both natural and man-made ideas can work to shield playground equipment from the sun’s intense rays.Playground with shade trees

Plan Now to Incorporate More Shade At Your School

When planning to add shade to a school landscape, remember to assess your grounds to determine where shade is needed and what is feasible. The main areas that require shade are typically outdoor lunch and learning areas, playgrounds, and pick-up and drop-off or waiting areas.

When planning for shade, it can be challenging to determine how you can do so safely and in a way that benefits your students, teachers, and other faculty members and visitors to your site.

But it can be hard to find the time to research shade ideas. Let Turscape help. We’ve worked with numerous schools in Northeast Ohio and can show you what’s worked for others as well as create a unique look that suits your specific needs.

Want to incorporate more shade at your school landscape in Northeast Ohio? Get started today with a free quote. We’ll review your options together so you can make the best choice for your educational facility.

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Image Source: Sycamore Tree, London Plane Tree, Oak Tree, Maple Tree, Playground