Playgrounds make a wonderful addition to any community. These spots allow children to run and play, getting off their electronics so that they can receive a good dose of sunshine and exercise. Playgrounds and public parks are also meeting places where kids and adults alike can socialize and make new friends. Whether you live in a city, suburb or town, you need these places where you can take your kids and get out of the house.
If you feel like there’s a lack of playgrounds in your community, you may be unsure how to go about getting a new one installed in your neck of the woods. A great playground needs a great game plan, so here are some questions to ask as your playground planning gets underway.
Where Will You Build Your Playground?
Building a wonderful playground isn’t just about choosing the right play equipment. Finding the perfect site should be your first and most crucial consideration. Play needs a home, and you’ll want to choose a space that’s fun, convenient and, most importantly, safe.
You’ll also need to keep the needs of your community in mind. When you’re searching for a site, make sure there’s ample space for your playground layout, including:
- Active and quiet play
- Playground equipment
- Enough activities to keep kids interested
- Amenities like benches, restrooms and parking
- Emergency and maintenance vehicle access
Who Can Help You Decide Where to Build Your Playground?
If you’re not sure where to build your playground, ask others in your community for their input for a possible site. Even if you don’t have experience building playgrounds, some individuals in your town may know what it takes to create safe and fun play environments. Contacting them will benefit you as you consider potential site locations. Potential people to contact include:
- Local park and recreation department
- Recreational facilities
- Community parks
- Other organizations that offer play opportunities for kids
How Do You Create a Fun and Natural Playground Environment?
Even if you already know where your playground will be built, there are factors you need to consider. While kids may only notice the playground equipment, these spaces are actually a blend of both natural and artificial features. The key is finding the right mix to give the best play experience.
Here are some topography elements you’ll need to consider as you get your playground plan underway:
- Landscape: Will you design your playground around the existing trees, shrubs and flowers, or implement new landscaping?
- Pathways: Your pathways must connect different elements in your playground, including the parking lot or picnic tables to the play area.
- Lighting: If your playground is open after dark, you’ll need lighting to ensure the area remains safe.
- Fencing: Many parents will appreciate fencing in the play area, especially if your playground is near moderate or high traffic.
- Surfacing: Whether it’s loose-fill or hybrid surfacing, your playground surfacing will protect children from fall-related injuries and improve the overall experience offered by your play space.
What’s the Ideal Land and Soil to Build On?
When considering your playground layout, don’t forget to keep potential land and soil issues in mind. Having level land is one of the most critical elements. Building on uneven ground is extremely difficult, so you’ll need to find an area that’s relatively flat. If you choose a site that needs major grading, it will cost you both time and money.
Other questions you’ll need to have answered about your site’s land and soil follow:
- What type of soil is present?
- Are standing groundwater or seepage problems that you’ll need to have addressed?
- Is there adequate drainage?
How Can You Get Your Community Involved?
If you want to get your community involved in your project, remember to think about who this playground is for. These safe spaces are an opportunity to serve the needs of the kids in your community, so it’s best to pick a location that’s within walking distance to the greatest number of families in your town. If you’re not sure where that is, pick a site near:
- Elementary schools
- Neighborhoods that are highly populated
- Outdoor recreational activities
- Entertainment facilities
Is Fundraising a Good Way to Get Your Community Involved?
One of the best ways to get your community involved in your playground is to help them take ownership of the project. When families see how this play space will benefit their children, they’ll want to generate support for it.
You’ll need as many avenues of financial support as are available to you to create a playground your community will love. This support can include resources from your local government, grants, income from big local businesses and more. That said, a community-funded public playground created through local fundraising efforts presents an amazing opportunity. Community fundraising doesn’t just earn money — it can also get your entire community excited and involved in your playground building efforts.
What Are Some Additional Elements to Consider?
Once you have your location picked out and funding in place, there are still plenty of things to consider. Planning your playground requires a lot of organization and forethought. You’ll need to do quite a bit of research before the building process even begins, and you may want to find a core team to help. By assigning specific roles to others, you can share the workload.
Other variables to consider during your playground planning process include:
- Climate: It’s important to know the common climate conditions where your playground is being built. That way, you’ll identify elements to include in your playground layout, such as rain coverings and shady spots if the play space is exposed to direct sunlight.
- Utilities: Identifying existing underground utilities will help you avoid running into potential problems later when it’s time to prep your playground site.
- Visibility: Your playground should include seating options and clear visibility so that parents and other guests can easily supervise the space and have a comfortable place to sit, rest and socialize.
- Accessibility and inclusion: From the children on the playground to the parents, grandparents and other adults supervising, everyone should have equal opportunity on the playground, regardless of their level of ability. Make sure you fully understand the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines. You may even want to go beyond these rules so that every child will be able to take part in the fun.
Get the Planning Resources You Need With Playworld
From choosing a location to creating a layout to selecting playground equipment, every great playground starts with planning. Fortunately, Playworld has assembled all the information you need in one handy reference. Our Playground 101 Guide will answer many of your questions and help you build a smart game plan for your community’s new playground.
If you would like one-on-one assistance, you can request a quote, and one of our local Playground Specialists will meet with you to see your intended play space and help you create a design.