Picture of George Nicola
George Nicola

George is a seasoned interior designer and property marketing strategist with over 13 years of experience. He specializes in transforming properties into visually stunning spaces, helping clients recognize the potential and beauty in each property. With an impressive international client base of exciting projects throughout Europe and America.

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Illustrated outdoor seating area with a fire pit, shaded by large fabric canopies, surrounded by trees and plants, perfect for an outdoor classroom or covered outdoor learning areas.
Illustrated outdoor seating area with a fire pit, shaded by large fabric canopies, surrounded by trees and plants, perfect for an outdoor classroom or covered outdoor learning areas.

An outdoor classroom offers a refreshing alternative to traditional indoor learning, providing numerous benefits for both students and teachers. Recent studies by UWSP Stevens Point and the American Planning Association have shown that outdoor education has numerous benefits for students, including improved school performance, enhanced physical and mental health, support for child development, increased enjoyment of learning, development of a sense of place and civic attitudes, and greater engagement of families and communities in education.

Spending time in nature helps kids become more focused and engaged with their lessons, making the learning process more effective and enjoyable.

Many educators have noted that outdoor classrooms with encourage better social skills and collaboration among students.

By allowing kids to interact in a natural environment, they can develop their executive functions and build stronger relationships with their peers. The fresh air and change of scenery help reduce stress and anxiety levels, making outdoor learning an effective tool for improving overall well-being.

Sketch of an outdoor courtyard featuring shaded seating, benches, trees, and decorative lights hanging above. Pathways and garden beds with assorted plants are present in the design, creating ideal outdoor learning spaces for schools.
Sketch of an outdoor courtyard featuring shaded seating, benches, trees, and decorative lights hanging above. Pathways and garden beds with assorted plants are present in the design, creating ideal outdoor learning spaces for schools.

Teachers have also found that students respect rules and boundaries more easily in outdoor environments. The clear structure and freedom to explore can lead to a more disciplined and attentive classroom atmosphere. 

Incorporating outdoor learning classroom or play area with good design into education can transform the way students absorb information and interact with each other, leading to a more meaningful and productive educational experience.

The average cost of a shaded outdoor area for a school points that a simple shade sails cost $3,000 – $15,000 with permanent structures (fabric canopies, hip shades and defined and designed activity areas) come at $50,000+ and well worth the investment.

Outdoor Learning Space Concepts

A company like TALLBOX can help design and visualize any outdoor classroom concept for all types of outdoor learning activities.

Nature Exploration Zone: Create a miniature ecosystem with native plants, rock formations, and a small pond. Students observe local flora and fauna in their natural habitats.

An outdoor learning space for schools features large rocks, flowering plants, a picnic table under a yellow canopy, and a paved walkway.
An outdoor learning space for schools features large rocks, flowering plants, a picnic table under a yellow canopy, and a paved walkway.

Outdoor Amphitheater: Design a tiered seating area facing a central presentation space. This versatile setup accommodates lectures, performances, and group discussions.

Outdoor amphitheater with curved stone seating, trees, and a modern building in the background under a clear blue sky—perfect for an outdoor classroom or covered outdoor learning areas.
Outdoor amphitheater with curved stone seating, trees, and a modern building in the background under a clear blue sky—perfect for an outdoor classroom or covered outdoor learning areas.

STEAM Garden: Integrate raised beds, weather stations, and solar-powered gadgets. Students engage in hands-on experiments while learning about sustainability and technology.

Outdoor garden featuring a circular stone planter, wooden benches, gravel pathways, various green plants, and a small gazebo under trees, ideal as an outdoor classroom for schools seeking engaging outdoor learning spaces.
Outdoor garden featuring a circular stone planter, wooden benches, gravel pathways, various green plants, and a small gazebo under trees, ideal as an outdoor classroom for schools seeking engaging outdoor learning spaces.

Adventure Playground: Incorporate climbing structures, balance beams, and sensory pathways. Physical activity enhances cognitive development and promotes kinesthetic learning.

A children's outdoor playground featuring climbing structures, balance logs, swing ropes, and a small playhouse amidst lush green trees on a sunny day doubles as an outdoor classroom for interactive learning.
A children's outdoor playground featuring climbing structures, balance logs, swing ropes, and a small playhouse amidst lush green trees on a sunny day doubles as an outdoor classroom for interactive learning.

Art and Music Corner: Designate areas for outdoor easels, percussion instruments, and sculpture displays. Creative expression flourishes in this inspiring natural setting.

Illustration of an outdoor park with a covered stage, musical instruments, and several people walking and observing the scene. The area is surrounded by trees and greenery, creating an inviting atmosphere reminiscent of outdoor learning spaces for schools.
Illustration of an outdoor park with a covered stage, musical instruments, and several people walking and observing the scene. The area is surrounded by trees and greenery, creating an inviting atmosphere reminiscent of outdoor learning spaces for schools.

Practical Considerations for Outdoor Classrooms

If you’re a school property owner, it’s in your best interest to push for upgrades and installations that can improve the student body’s learning experience and safeguard their health.

A shade structure is the perfect renovation project that can accomplish both of these things. More specifically, a shade structure is a customisable and solid outdoor installation that provides shade over an expanse of land.

When setting up outdoor classrooms, it’s important to focus on equipping the space effectively and ensuring safety and accessibility for all students.

Equipping Outdoor Spaces with Shade Structures

One of the primary benefits of putting up a shade structure on your property is its UV-warding ability. A shade structure is made of durable and sturdy materials that are built to withstand and repel the sun’s ultraviolet rays, even during scorching hot summers. 

A conceptual sketch of a modern outdoor plaza featuring curved wooden structures, greenery, and seating areas surrounded by trees, envisioned as an outdoor classroom to foster interactive learning in nature.
A conceptual sketch of a modern outdoor plaza featuring curved wooden structures, greenery, and seating areas surrounded by trees, envisioned as an outdoor classroom to foster interactive learning in nature.

UV rays are notorious for causing a slew of skin-related health problems on people, such as sunburn and sun spots. If you have patches of land in your school that are in direct exposure to sunlight, kids who play in those areas can inadvertently put themselves at risk of developing these skin conditions.

In worst-case scenarios, a lack of adequate sun protection can even lead to conditions like skin cancer. The risk is especially heightened for older folks, like a student’s parents or school staff. 

If you want to safeguard the school population, consider setting up a shade structure in areas that have high foot traffic. By doing so, you can lower the risk of health conditions affecting the student body, thus leading to a better quality of life in the school system.

Extends Outdoor Usability

Children playing basketball on an outdoor court with colorful shade sails, surrounded by spectators and greenery. A red-brick building is visible in the background, highlighting the integration of covered outdoor learning areas for schools.
Children playing basketball on an outdoor court with colorful shade sails, surrounded by spectators and greenery. A red-brick building is visible in the background, highlighting the integration of covered outdoor learning areas for schools.

Another pro of a shade structure is its ability to transform outdoor sections into usable spaces. More specifically, propping a shade structure and cementing a patch of dirt can create an actual area in the school where the school body can congregate outdoors, no matter the weather.

For instance, putting up a shade structure over a basketball court allows your students to play freely without the risk of weather ruining their plans. It also creates a quadrangle-like space where students can gather for announcements or assessments held outside.

If your school property lacks school indoors to hold the entire student body, an outdoor shade structure is a cost-effective and quick way to create a space that you can use to hold school-wide gatherings.

Keep Students Cosy and Happy

As such, as much as it is important to provide them with quality education above all else, you should also strive to incorporate some state-of-the-art facilities that make learning in your school a worthwhile and motivating endeavour.

Putting up new school shade structures with Greenline can signal to students that you care about continuously improving the school. 

Your commitment to improving the school’s facilities can inspire and motivate students to perform better, or at the very least, make them feel comfortable knowing that their needs won’t be neglected when studying in your particular campus.

Protects Students Against Rain

As a school property owner, you have no room to be stingy and risk your students’ health and belongings by neglecting to put up a shade structure in outdoor walkways.

Umbrellas and raincoats may not be enough to keep rainwater from seeping into a student’s shoes or bag, damaging their things and causing a great deal of frustration.

Thus, no matter how infrequent rain falls in your town or city, you’re highly urged to put up a shade structure in areas of the school that can experience downpours.

If the budget is tight, you don’t need to cover the entire outdoor school area. Strategically place shade structures in waiting areas and sheds where students can protect themselves in case of sudden rain.

This way, they’ll have access to a place that can protect them from the elements, thus keeping their items safe and improving their perception of the school.

Increases School's Property Value

If you have the capital to undergo the upgrade, you have no reason not to put up a shade structure in your school. This is because a shade structure is a permanent fixture, meaning you and the student body can enjoy its benefits for years, if not decades, to come.

And if you intend to sell your school property in the future, or at the very least keep it competitive in the local market, then a shade structure installation is a great way to increase your property’s value.

This is because of the inherent benefits a shade structure provides to the building in general, particularly if you’ve chosen durable materials that can withstand years of sun and rain exposure.

Aside from the aforementioned perks a shade structure provides like protection from the elements, this architectural piece also has massive aesthetic appeal. All these factors combined can bring up your property’s appraisal value in the eyes of potential real estate investors.

Provides Aesthetic Appeal

Fostering a positive school image is essential for retaining the student body and attracting new students every year. A well-designed shade structure can subtly play a role in keeping school spirits high by being a visual source of pride for the school.

Most modern shade structures can be customised according to a client’s needs. These structures have versatile styles, allowing you to pick different colourways, materials, shapes, and square areas that best fit your particular school’s needs. 

For instance, if your school’s primary colours are yellow and black, you can design your shade structure with a yellow and black design, or include the school’s logo on the shade structure’s rooftop.

This enhanced customizability provides an opportunity for the school to design their shade structure in a nice and appealing way. 

In turn, this can improve the school’s overall marketability, thus keeping it a competitive choice in your local market, granted that your school’s educational reputation is also up to par.

Reduces Electrical and Renovation Costs

Installing shade structures can be a great way to sustainably reduce your school’s electrical bill.

This is because it helps with temperature regulation, reducing the harshness of sunlight that streams through classroom windows. 

This makes it easier for your temperature control system to retain a comfortable room temperature within your building’s interior, leading to less mechanical pressure, improved functionality, and more savings over time.

Shade structures are also great alternatives to new room renovations. 

This is because they can double as outdoor space without the need to construct walls and roofing, greatly reducing construction costs. This applies whether you plan to use the shaded area as an extended cafeteria space or a PE classroom.

Do you need a project for outdoor learning space?

To create an engaging outdoor learning environment, 3D rendering proves invaluable. This powerful visualization tool transforms abstract ideas into tangible designs, enhancing the planning process for educators and architects alike.

An outdoor learning space can be a great way to engage students and connect education with nature. To visualize and plan such a space effectively, 3D rendering could be an extremely useful tool. With 3D rendering, you can create realistic, immersive visualizations of the proposed outdoor learning environment before any physical construction begins.

Key benefits of using 3D rendering for this kind of project include:

  1. Spatial planning: Accurately visualize how different elements will fit together in the available space.
  2. Design iterations: Easily make changes and explore different layouts or features.
  3. Stakeholder engagement: Present compelling visuals to school administrators, teachers, parents, and students to gather feedback and build excitement.
  4. Budgeting and resource allocation: Get a clearer picture of materials and construction needs.
Outdoor seating area with circular log arrangements and stone pathways surrounded by trees and greenery, perfect for an outdoor classroom, with a building in the background.
Outdoor seating area with circular log arrangements and stone pathways surrounded by trees and greenery, perfect for an outdoor classroom, with a building in the background.