Landscape Architect & Specifier News

SEP 2018

LASN is a photographically oriented, professional journal featuring topics of concern and state-of-the-art projects designed or influenced by registered Landscape Architects.

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34 Landscape Architect and Specifier News Association (IPEMA) have established the safety standards and requirements for shade systems that are integrated into the play equipment. There must be an 84" gap between the play surface and the lowest part of the shade structure. This is set to minimize adventurous children from climbing on the wrong objects. The fabrics are required to be lead and phthalate free and must meet the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) fire codes. With regards to design criteria, steel components must not have any areas where a kid's limbs can get trapped. In order to prevent dangers such as strings on hoodies getting caught on hardware, safety hardware must have rounded, exposed ends. Fabric Choosing the right fabric depends on the design criteria, cost budget and quality of the product. Some manufacturers utilize non-porous fabric (often used for awnings) because they can be of low cost and simple to fabricate to fit a steel frame. However, some non-porous fabrics have a shorter life span and are not as effective at cooling. High-density polyethylene, or HDPE, is the most commonly used shade material and the demand for this knitted fabric seems to be increasing, according to Mike Taranto of Solar Shade USA, LLC. HDPE is known for its effectiveness, because it can allow Top: BCI Burke Company designed Embrace Park in Norfolk, Neb. The Ara Shade System, named after the constellation in the heart of the Milky Way, is made of polyethylene knitted fabric with woven polyester webbing and vinyl reinforcements. The shade structure shades 75% of the playground, blocks up to 97% of the ultraviolet radiation and is designed to withstand up to 90 mph winds. Right:This "carousel" shade structure, designed by Shade Systems, Inc., is located in Flowood, Miss. The shade's highest point is about 20.' Its colors were chosen to blend with the natural surroundings. airflow through the fabric. The temperature beneath the shade is also lowered because the material is porous; the heat passes through the fabric, keeping the play equipment cooler. In addition, shade systems that are made of HDPE can last up to 20 years, minimizing maintenance and repair costs. The weight of the fabric largely depends on design criteria. A stronger fabric is needed for areas with high wind codes or snow loads, whereas regions with less natural activity can make do with a lighter material. According to Taranto, an engineering analysis can guide a fabricator to the suitable fabric for the design and location. Structure Styles The selections for the type of structure are unique and abundant. The styles of shade structures chosen should depend on factors such as wind and cost. Flat shade panels are not very useful in windy conditions. Square and rectangular shade systems can provide the most advantageous solution when it comes to saving costs. Although triangle shade sails are flat and tend to move around a great deal in the wind, adding an attachment by applying a fourth node will bring about more stability. These shades are also relatively cost efficient and popular. Some companies provide as many as 30 styles with varying sizes, including squares, umbrellas, bleacher covers and shade sails. Conclusion All in all, shade systems can be customized in many shapes, sizes, colors and designs to enhance the playground experience. The fabric and structure style are crucial factors when determining the design and cost of a shade on the playground. Shade also serves as a more important function, protecting playgoers from the harmful rays of the sun while they are trying to have fun.

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