Deciding to install a commercial playground is a big decision. That’s why it’s vital to ensure that the equipment you purchase meets the needs and vision for their future use. In this guide, we’ll go over some recommended steps you can take to design the perfect playground for your project—whether it’s for a public school, a city park, or a private business.
Step 1: Goals, Needs & Wants
Answer the questions below to determine what you need, want, and how your envisioned playground will be used.
- What is the size of the site?
- What play capacity are you planning for (how many children)?
- What is the age range that will be using it?
- What is the allocated budget for this project?
- Will you need exercise or sports equipment?
- Are you wanting standard equipment, or are you considering themed equipment?
- Will you be incorporating a mobility ramp or other special equipment pieces?
- Do you need gathering areas like picnic tables or shelters?
- Do you want to include water play?
- Are educational or interactive components important?
- Is a canine-friendly area something of interest?
Step 2: Examining the Site
A playground needs to be safe, reliable, and durable. Knowing the measurements for the site, topography, and ensuring there is correct slope and drainage are important in achieving this. You will also want to consider the climate as well as the park surroundings. The better you know the planned site, the easier it will be to create the ideal playground.
Step 3: Design Time
Using your answers from Step 1, it’s time to begin designing your playground. You will need to select not only the equipment but their colors as well. Consider things like whether or not you want it divided into separate areas for designated age groups. One common setup is to have one area for ages five and under and another for over five to provide the proper height and difficulty level for the children.
Step 4: Surfacing
A critical part of any playground design is choosing the appropriate surfacing material. Nearly 80% of playground injuries occur from a fall. Choosing quality surfacing for your playground space will help reduce injuries to the children playing on it.
Here are some of the surfacing options available:
- Synthetic Turf—Using artificial grass with a layer of cushion underneath provides safety and a natural look to the environment.
- Loose Fill—This is the simplest surfacing option and certainly the most cost-effective. With this option, it is important to keep in mind that to maintain proper safety standards, more maintenance is required.
- Rubber—You can choose either poured in place or go with rubber tiles. Both are available in a variety of colors and are durable with low maintenance.
Step 5: Installation
There are three installation options to choose from:
- Self-Installed—The lowest cost option and a great choice if you have people able to follow detailed instructions. Please note this leaves you responsible for the correct installation.
- Supervised Install—This is essentially the same as a self-install, except that a professional would be present to supervise the work and be responsible for safe installation.
- Professional Installation—If you want to ensure your playground is installed correctly and in a timely manner, this is the pick for you. Equipment and surfacing will be safely installed to your specifications by a team of professionals.