Follow our tips below for how to design a playground either for communities or for schools and nurseries.
Key points to consider in playground design
First, you will need to make sure that:
You’ve defined who it’s for
It is in a good location
You’ve got the right materials
You’ve got interesting and appropriate activities
You’ve created budgets
Who is it for?
If you’re creating a new school playground or play park, you’ll be able to tailor the activities and equipment to the needs, age and interests of the children.
Even if the playground is for children, there will be adults there watching over them and they will need somewhere to go too. Some picnic benches to the side or a sheltered area will go down very well at a park. In a school, the teachers will need to be able to move about and sports matches may be attended by parents so it is good to keep that in mind when planning.
A community playground will attract adults too, most likely playing court sports or taking a walk so you’ll need to include something for them too. You may find it better to have separate areas for children and adults so that it will be easier for them to enjoy their respective activities.
You may not have much choice when it comes to the location, as you may be replacing an existing playground. If you do have a choice, you should consider the transport links so people can get there easily. It is also worth considering who lives in the area, as if there are very few children, you may not get much traffic to the playground. Your location will also dictate the amount of space you have, so you might need to implement some space-saving measures.
What materials will you use?
Play sets and climbing frames often use wood, as it provides some heat protection. You could also use wood in raised beds for plants, or wooden seating – great for those taking a break. Don’t forget to think about fencing for the playground, if you need to separate areas or provide a safe, enclosed space.
Though metal can get hot in the sun, it’s also enduring and can help to create a strong structure that will last a long time. Metal also works well for railings around the outside of the playground.
Plastic equipment for playgrounds often has a lower cost and it is not as susceptible to the weather as metal and wood. Consider including long-lasting thermoplastic playground markings that come in lots of colours and designs. The material is non-toxic, sustainable and environmentally friendly!
As mentioned before, consider installing some raised beds around the edges of the playground. Schools could benefit from using these to plant vegetables as part of their lessons. Trees will provide shade on hot summer days so if you have room for them, they’re worth considering. Take a look at our tree planting initiative and apply for free trees.
Games and learning
Teach children life skills
Use a roadway to reinforce the lessons about ‘Stop, Look and Listen’ or give the children a map of the world and a compass so that they can plan an adventure and discover new interests. The possibilities are endless.
Playing court sports like tennis, football and basketball is a fantastic way to keep active so try to include these in your playground. You can even combine several courts into one if you are short on space.
Safety is vital in a playground so make sure that the ground is appropriate for the activities and that you have included routes for people to travel safely from one end to the other without walking through a game, as well as to and from the exits.
You’ll need to monitor the budget throughout the project or you could risk losing out on some of your desired elements. Shop around where you can to make sure that you’re getting the best price, ask for recommendations from local schools or parks and get your quotes in writing.
It’s also worth keeping a contingency budget, just in case you discover problems down the line and that way you won’t be thrown so far off course.
If you’re planning to build or revamp a playground, talk to us about how we can help you create an area that is engaging and appropriate for the users. We offer a price match guarantee plus no hidden charges!