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New Playground Design & Planning Tips

Building a new playground requires careful planning and decision-making as you determine what equipment, surfacing materials, and other features are right for your play area. Creating a safe and enjoyable play space that fits within your budget can be challenging without a clear plan. Whether you're building a new backyard playground for your kids or planning a community playground, taking the time to develop proper playground design plans will help ensure that your new play area meets these goals. Detailed playground design plans can help you determine what type of equipment to purchase, address any potential safety concerns, and figure out other logistical and aesthetic elements.

Choosing Playground Equipment

Finding the right playground equipment is a vital part of your playground plans. There are several important considerations when creating your playground equipment plans. First, consider the purpose of your play area. Is this a backyard play space for just your family or a larger playground for a community or child-care facility that will see a great deal of use? Also, what sort of weather is common to your area? These factors will help you determine whether you need metal, plastic, or wood playground equipment. For example, many people choose to buy wooden equipment for backyard playgrounds due to its visual appeal, whereas school or community playgrounds often require sturdy metal equipment or plastic equipment suitable for younger users. Durability, aesthetics, and the cost of the equipment will vary depending on material, so carefully consider which choice is right for your needs. Similarly, plans for playground equipment should consider who will be using the equipment. Playground equipment should be both engaging and age-appropriate: Choosing age-appropriate equipment is a vital component for safe play. A family playground only needs to serve the needs and interests of a few children, while a public playground should allow for inclusive play for all children. A large play structure with several physical and imaginative play features may be sufficient for your backyard playground plans, while a public playground may incorporate everything from active play equipment to music and sensory activity stations for kids of all ages and abilities.

Safety Considerations and Accessibility

Addressing safety issues is important whether you're designing backyard playground plans or creating a public play space. Proper safety measures can help kids avoid preventable playground injuries. Falls are the greatest cause of playground injuries, and choosing the correct surfacing can help mitigate the potential for injury. Like playground equipment materials, there are many different types of safe surfacing materials you can incorporate into your playground plans. Popular surfacing materials include loose-fill rubber, wood mulch, and rubber tiles. Your choice will depend on the type of play equipment selected, site-specific conditions, and your budget. Depending on your choice of equipment and surfacing, you may also need to include other safety features like borders or rubber mats. Consult local and federal playground guidelines to ensure that your playground design and equipment selections all meet current safety standards.

Another key factor in safe and engaging play is ensuring that play equipment is properly accessible for users. Carefully evaluate the dimensions of the playground and the type of equipment you've selected as you draw up your plans for playground equipment. Your playground plan should allot a proper amount of space between pieces of equipment to allow for safe use. Don't forget to account for landing zones and swinging areas that will extend beyond the equipment itself. An efficient playground plan will also lay out the playground in a way that helps children easily navigate equipment and fosters inclusive play. As you organize your playground equipment plans, consider whether your playground needs wheelchair accessibility or other accessibility modifications. If your playground is accessible to the public, ensure that all design elements are ADA-compliant.

Other Design Elements

Playground planning can also incorporate other design elements for your playground. Many of these choices will depend on your playground site and budget. Choose a color scheme that works for your play space, make landscaping decisions, and consider other visual design choices. You should also evaluate surrounding facilities and decide if your playground needs any additional features for comfort or safety. Playgrounds should ideally include access to shade, water, and seating.

If you're planning a new playground, visit AAA State of Play's online shop. You'll find play equipment for kids of all ages, safe surfacing materials, and other playground accessories perfect for backyard playgrounds, school play areas, and community play spaces. We have decades of experience in the commercial playground equipment business and are happy to help you with any questions or concerns about your play equipment choices, equipment installation, and more.

Find more about the author: Kim Hart