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6 things to consider when designing a playground

There are a lot of things to consider with playground design. Regardless of whether you are updating an old area or developing a brand new one, we wanted to highlight the top 6 priorities. By thinking about each of these areas, you are more likely to create a playground which both intrigues children and withstands the test of time.

1. The natural environment

muswell hill primary school playground design

With budgets constrained and class sizes increasing, it is very difficult for schools to provide the play area they dream of. One way to help with this is to consider using the space and provisions already in place.

For example, if there is a grassy mound, it could have a slide installed down the side.

By using the natural environment to its advantages, schools can save money on groundworks. Products such as EcoSmart, not only create a natural play look, but also require minimal groundworks when being installed.

Understanding what is already in the space available and using it in an imaginative way can help make the play provision more attainable, especially in terms of budget.

2. Inspiration and variety

wetpour playground design

Playgrounds are a perfect tool for helping children to learn and develop, but to do this they have to be both inviting and inspirational. Choosing the right accessories and equipment can be vital, but you shouldn’t overthink it.

Open-ended equipment and play areas with patterns and shapes provide children with the inspiration to use their imagination. 

Using a variety of equipment and designs can help transform even the simplest of play areas into a stimulating environment for children.

3. Choice and versatility

wet pour repair

As a communal space, a playground needs to involve as many children as possible – regardless of whether they want to play individually or in larger groups.

Having a play area that is versatile and can be used for multiple types of play, such as a multi-use games area (MUGA) is a very cost-effective solution.

Thinking about the age group you are catering to is also particularly important, especially when selecting equipment/kit – it helps keep things both exciting and safe.

4. Surfacing selection

Patterns and designs within the play area can stimulate a child’s mind, and if aesthetics is a top priority for you, your surfacing selection needs to be a key consideration.

Regardless of this though, choosing the right surface for your play area can ensure the children get the most of it for years to come. The main factors to consider for your surfacing selection are maintenance, exposure to sun or water, any equipment/kit installed and aesthetic requirements.

There are a wide range of surface options to suit any application, and we here at PlaySmart are more than happy to give you advice on what may best suit your requirements and playground design. Alternatively, take our interactive quiz to see which product might be best for your project.

5. Safety

Common sense safety is something key in all playground design – doing the simple things right such as avoiding climbing or trip hazards with any fencing installed in the area. The space should be used wisely – making sure children have space after going down a slide will help keep the landing area clear for the next person.

Whenever kit/equipment is installed, a top priority should be the Critical Fall Height it presents. PlaySmart offers a range of surfacing solutions for various fall heights, and our SmartPlay system is approved for up to 3m fall height protection from independent tests to BS EN 1177 (2018).

6. Management and maintenance

The cost of maintaining your new play area should not be left off the list of things to consider. The time and money you are willing to spend on upkeep of equipment and surfacing will help determine what’s best for your playground.

All of our surfacing comes with a product guarantee, and if you choose us to install it, we will also provide an installation guarantee!

On top of that, we’ll also send you a maintenance schedule you can use to ensure your new playground surface looks the best it can, all year round!

And that’s it! We hope this article helped you understand what you need to consider and why when designing a playground. We’d love to hear some feedback and if you think we missed anything off our list, let us know by commenting!

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