Get to Know the Play of the Land
Great playground planning isn’t just about purchasing the best equipment. It’s about considering the entire play space and the needs of its users. Your local Playworld representative will help you maximize your site's full play potential, but here are some basic site considerations you'll need to plan for.
Identify and mark existing utilities in advance, including gas, water, and electric lines. Your local utility companies will perform this service for you.
SIZE & SHAPE
Your site should be large enough to accommodate both active and quiet play areas, as well as amenities such as parking. Save on site preparation expenses by choosing a site that's relatively flat and provides adequate drainage. Consider ways in which you can create synergy with your environment or utilize/highlight natural features.
Safety & Supervision
Each year, more than 200,000 children visit the emergency room due to playground-related accidents. Ensure you don’t contribute to those statistics by considering the following:
It starts at the surface—literally. Seventy-five percent of playground injuries are a result of a fall on an unforgiving or poorly maintained playground surface. The type of surfacing you use underneath your equipment, such as poured in place, loose fill, or hybrid surfacing, can affect the overall safety, accessibility, and playground experience.
Design your playground with use zones in mind (the amount of open space required around each piece of play equipment). Consider sightlines throughout the playground to ensure that caregivers have clear visibility of their kids from any vantage point in your play space.
You also need to ensure that each piece of equipment meets or exceeds both U.S. and international guidelines for safety. At Playworld, this means our products meet the standards set by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), American Society for Testing & Materials (ASTM), European Norm (EN), Canadian Standards Association (CSA), Singapore Standard, and Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA).
You can download our Playground Audit Guide to help you identify pieces of equipment that are not ASTM/CPSC compliant.
Risk Management Signs
Different age groups have different recreational abilities and playground safety needs. Make it easy for everyone by posting prominent playground rules and age-destination signs.
Ensure playground safety for years to come with a documented maintenance program that includes regular equipment inspections. Keep a log of all inspections and repairs, which will be particularly important in the event of any warranty or accident issues.
Flow, Accessibility & Inclusivity
Ensure that every person, regardless of their level of ability, has equal opportunity on the playground. You can start by understanding the guidelines for accessibility under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and planning your playground to meet or exceed those guidelines, which include:
- Providing accessible routes into, around, and within the playspace
- Making all ground-level activities accessible
- Achieving satisfactory elevated-to-ground-based play component ratios
Make sure that maintenance and emergency vehicles have direct access to your playground too. Planning clear pathways and access points will promote good traffic flow on, into, and around the playground equipment.
A truly inclusive playground goes beyond ADA guidelines. It’s about more than access—it’s about making sure everyone is comfortable and part of the fun, from the child to the parent or grandparent taking them to the playground. Learn more about how Playworld is transforming playgrounds with our proprietary Inclusive Play Design Guide.Learn More
Don’t forget about all the details that make your playground a convenient, safe, and enjoyable destination for your entire community, including:
- Lighting and fencing for extra safety
- Benches, picnic tables, restrooms, and other comfort stations
- Shading and shelter to prevent sun overexposure