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School timber canopies add a natural and timeless aesthetic to your school, but are they the most practical option for your school?

Head’s up all of the nature lovers out there, timber canopies for schools are a fantastic way to bring more of a natural aesthetic to your school premises. They are durable, long-lasting, sustainable and beautiful.


It can be challenging to determine whether you should install a wooden or a steel or aluminium framed canopy. And we understand why it’s a tough decision and there are many advantages to both.

This article will help you determine what type of canopy would suit your school’s needs best.

What Are Timber Canopies For Schools?

Timber canopies are also known as wooden gazebos for schools or wooden canopies and make a great asset to any school. They are usually timber-framed structures, with fabric, or polycarbonate roofs that provide shelter from the elements and help to optimise the way you use the space on your school premises.

You can install freestanding or wall-mounted timber canopies, and they’re perfect for creating shelters and covered walkways around your school.

What Applications Do Timber Canopies Have For Schools?

You can incorporate wooden canopies into any design you can imagine. The beauty of them is that most canopy manufacturers install bespoke designs. So the only limit is your imagination (and your school grounds).

Here are some ideas to get you started.

Playground Shelters

Install a wooden canopy to provide playground shelter from the sun and rain. You can add polycarbonate or UV resistant fabric roofs to protect from the sun. 

Covered Walkways

Create designated walkways around your school that are in-keeping with the environment. They will look great and provide shelter from the elements, keeping your staff and students dry on a rainy day.

Classroom Extensions

Add a wooden canopy to the outside of your school classrooms to extend them. Or, add freestanding canopies elsewhere in your school to create an outdoor classroom.

Additional Dining Space

If you’re feeling a bit tight in the canteen department or could potentially grow out of it in the future, wooden canopies may help you out of a tight squeeze.

You can install them to cover picnic tables or any other type of outdoor dining furniture to create an authentic and natural outdoor dining experience for your students and relieve the stress in your canteen.

Forest Schools

Forest schools are an excellent addition to a school; they create the best kind of outdoor learning experience, which is perfect for infants and primary children. Forest schools usually incorporate walkways, climbing frames and wooden canopies and are typically built into (or mimic) a woodland. 

Outdoor Classrooms

There’s a growing trend for outdoor classrooms and for a good reason, they’re a great way to encourage learning and are known to boost a child’s personal and academic growth. Classes incorporating natural items invoke attention and creativity and enhance recall. Outdoor classrooms can be as simple as a canopy outdoors, and as complex, as the forest schools, we’ve previously mentioned.

Why Choose Wooden Gazebos For Schools?

Most schools choose a wooden canopy because they appreciate the natural look that wood brings, but there are a few other reasons why you might choose a wooden shelter for your school.

Blends with the natural environment

Wooden canopies look their best when they feature as a forest school, or outdoor classroom because they blend into the natural environment, and encourage a connection to the outdoors in children. 

But if you’re not considering a forest school or outdoor classroom, they look just as good as natural framework for a traditional style canopy, especially if you love the natural look.

Creates a strong environmentally-focused aesthetic

There’s a lot of pressure on everybody to be more environmentally aware. With the government’s plans to put even more emphasis on environmental policies, it can’t help to get on board by creating a natural look at your school. There is a hidden benefit too – it’ll subliminally convey your interest in, and concern for the environment to parents, students and visitors.

To be environmentally friendly

Ethically sourced wooden canopies are usually environmentally friendly, which is a great reason why you might consider adding a wooden gazebo for schools to your school.

Timber Canopies vs Aluminium Or Steel Frame Canopies: What Are The Differences?

There are several differences between timber and aluminium or steel frame canopies aside from the material.  Here are some examples:

  • Cost

Timber canopies are usually lower priced than stainless steel or aluminium canopies. Still, you need to know that the long-term return on investment on steel canopies will be higher than wood.

  • Appearance

If you like the natural look, you’ll love wooden canopies. But, if you enjoy the bright and invigorating look of painted steel that you see at many schools, then you can accomplish that with stainless steel or aluminium frames.

  • Durability

    Timber canopies require more upkeep than their aluminium or steel counterparts, especially if you install good quality steel-framed school canopies.
  • Environmental Factors

    There are two ways to look at the environmental impact of both types of canopies. While well-sourced wood is more environmentally friendly, it won’t last as long as steel. And it’s these considerations that you’ll need to weigh up if you plan to make ecologically friendly choices.
  • Longevity

If longevity is your priority, coated stainless steel, or aluminium canopies will last longer than wooden canopies, but you can replace both. Though some canopy manufacturers offer ‘glulam‘ canopies. Which is a glue-laminated frame that is as strong and durable as steel but as natural looking as wooden canopies.

How To Decide Whether To Install A Wooden Canopy Or Not?

The best way to decide whether to install wooden gazebos for schools or not is to determine what qualities are most important to you. What don’t you want to compromise on? And what would you prefer to have?

When you list your preferences in order of priority, you’ll soon find that it’s easy to determine whether you should install a school timber canopy, or a steel or aluminium framed one.