Few experiences elicit the excitement that comes with planning a playground. From determining the proper site logistics to amassing a team of professional or novice playground installers, playground planners are constantly checking off their running to-do list items. Yet playground installation does not need to be overwhelming. In fact, it should generate feelings of satisfaction and even awe.
Smoothen the path to inclusive, sustainable and fun outdoor play by bookmarking this page to help your organization through the playground planning stages. Need extra assistance or have a specific question about any of Playworld's superbly crafted and USA-manufactured equipment? Contact your local Playworld playground representative.
Planning a Well-Considered Playground Install
Playworld playgrounds come in a variety of types, including Early Childhood Playgrounds, Playworld School-age Playgrounds, NEOS® Electronic Playgrounds, PlaySimple® Commercial Playgrounds, ENERGI® Total Body, Outdoor Fitness Systems, Origins™ Nature Playgrounds and even LifeTrail® Outdoor Wellness Systems for adults. Nevertheless, all playgrounds have some similar requirements and considerations.
Prior to setting an installation date, playground planners should determine how to handle a few necessities. Some simply require an answer from the planner or planning committee. Others involve third-party contractors such as landscapers or construction companies to address particulars.
Here's what you should be thinking about:
- Zoning regulations: Before the purchase of playground products and systems, planners will want to speak with local authorities to stay in line with zoning expectations. This limits the likelihood of regulatory questions closer to the installation date. Utilities should also be informed of any intention to dig, as underground pipes and wires may inhibit where a playground can sit.
- Permit expectations: Every municipality and state has its own permit expectations. For instance, some places require sealed engineering drawings and soil tests prior to playground installation. The more information gathered ahead of time regarding the legal aspects of installing a playground, the fewer stumbling blocks there are down the road.
- Shade vs. no shade: Every playground encourages movement and activity from all participants. Even on chilly winter days, kids, teachers, volunteers and parents can appreciate a place to sit and rest away from the sun. Yet, relief may not be possible if the site lacks natural shade elements. Alternatives to having no shade include installing permanent canopies or planting somewhat mature trees.
- Grade perfection: All Playworld playground equipment and additional furnishings must be installed on a site featuring a grade of 2% or less. The site can include a concrete pad, although concrete installation of equipment should involve the assistance of a concrete installation professional. To reduce playground concerns related to groundwater accumulation and excessive moisture, the site should offer reliable drainage.
- Safe play protection: Some Playworld equipment installation instructions recommend that a site include safety surfacing to promote safer play. Safety surfacing helps reduce the impact and severity of falls. In fact, safety surfacing may be preferred even if it has not been explicitly required by instructions. Safety surfacing keeps everyone moving and smiling.
- Playground equipment storage: In the event that the playground equipment needs to be stored elsewhere before the playground installation day, planning individuals and committees should find the right storage solutions. Ideally, the location should be clean and accessible, as well as large enough to accommodate the equipment pieces.
After putting together a comprehensive list of everything needed to make the installation day go well, planners will want to map out what the install will look like from start to finish.
Setting the Stage for an Organized Playground Installation
The days surrounding the actual playground installation will probably pass in a blur thanks to all the excitement of the install! At the same time, planners should focus on maintaining a rhythm and flow to ensure that playground installation maximizes the time allotted and ends in a safe, secure playground for kids and adults to enjoy.
The following list encompasses a few of the more significant aspects of your playground installation day. However, all planners should prepare their own unique checklists based on their specific needs and playground:
- Professional and volunteer playground equipment installers. Many groups find the idea of installing their playground without professional help to be a wonderful way to build community spirit and support. Every Playworld product comes with clear instructions that enable installation by volunteers confident about using the proper tools. Some teams like to use a mix of volunteer help and professional playground installers in case the novice installers have questions.
- Timeline for proper installation. Installing even a modestly sized playground the right way takes time. Planners should avoid rushing the process by contacting their local Playworld representative if they are unsure how many hours to allot to a playground install. Playworld representatives can give a realistic picture. KaBOOM! handles plenty of volunteer-based playground installs every year and offers assistance and a free installation playbook.
- Pre-assigned foremen and supervisors. Every great installation of playground equipment needs point-people. Assign these people to be on-site and available. Make sure everyone working on the playground installation knows who they are from the moment they arrive. Having a chain of command reduces the likelihood that installers will sit idle. Supervisors can be charged with making certain all directions are followed accurately, which ensures that the product will remain under warranty.
- Storage solutions for parts. Every Playworld product comes with all the parts needed for a successful install. Be sure to have storage solutions available to hold the parts, particularly small ones. Then, assign people to divide and identify the parts throughout the day.
- Tools for everyone to use. Remember that a tool can only be used by one person at a time. For that reason, planners will want to have lots of drills, levels, tape measures and related tools and equipment on hand to accommodate everyone helping out with the install.
- Environmental considerations. A playground is incomplete until the refuse is removed. Have a method to recycle, reuse or remove all garbage remaining after the playground installation.
A final note for installation day is to always assign someone to take photos. The playground equipment installation will go by in a flash, so having pictures to memoralize and celebrate the occasion is a must-do.
Enjoying a Post-Installation Playground
Looking forward to getting to the point when everyone can launch into full play mode on your newly installed playground? By taking playground installation planning seriously, you can treat your school or community to an unprecedented level of safe activity and unparalleled fun.