Explore Modern Playground Design for Landscape Architecture

PlaySmart’s team has over 20 years of playground installation and supply experience. Therefore, we’ve seen new ways of understanding and innovating playground design emerge. Modern playground design is the next step to create outstanding outdoor developments.

Our team is highly motivated to contribute to the evolution of modern landscape development and designer playgrounds. With our patented installation processes and SmartPlay safety system, as well as our wide range of product solutions, we encourage a sustainable, practical approach to playground and sports area projects.

Core principles of modern playground design

There are many approaches to creating the perfect playground design that are based on different priorities and expertise. PlaySmart’s approach to modern playground design is aligned with our company philosophy of providing Innovative, Eco-friendly Solutions. Therefore, we believe that the features of a well-designed playground using principles of modern playground design include:

  • Sustainable flooring materials
  • Economical choices
  • Expressing a sense of place, its Genius Loci
  • Accessible playground design
  • Embracing the natural
  • Multi-use planning
  • Maximising space
  • Holistic Approach
How to Make Smart Flooring Choices

Embracing innovations that benefit both your design budget, the local area, and the wider environment should be second nature to playground design landscape architecture projects. Built into all amazing and creative designs is a foundation of quality choices of material and installation that shouldn’t be overlooked.

Sustainable Flooring Materials and Innovations

Working with new materials can expand how you see and design your play area. Landscaping with cork flooring materials opens up new considerations for the environmental impact of your design. This approach can inspire new uses for the area, for example as a safety surface for activities like running, biking, and all forms of play.

Cork flooring is a relatively underutilised material for large-scale surfacing projects. However, it is quickly growing to become a favourite of those with sustainability in mind. Because it is made from 90% natural cork in a multi-layer structure, Corkeen is a durable, shock-absorbent surface with excellent water solubility.

Available in a variety of colours, Corkeen is an incredibly versatile surfacing solution for any outdoor space. To find out more explore our blog on the many uses and benefits of cork flooring.

Working with Topography

Embracing the natural geographies of your site is a creative (and cost-effective) way to add dimension and excitement to any playground design. Rather than intensive and disruptive landscaping to flatten the ground, professional surfacing installers can lay flooring around and over bumps and hills. Hybrid and artificial grass landscaping design is simple and non-disruptive on uneven ground. This is because of PlaySmart’s fixing methods with bio-plastic pegs secure the matting securely and seamlessly.

While a flat surface is vital in some areas to emphasise accessibility, hills can enhance play experiences. Create natural climbing slopes and slides that integrate seamlessly into the natural feel of your play area. All while guaranteeing safety with quality shock absorbent matting in case of falls and soft-to-the-touch synthetic grasses.

The installation depends on the soil quality and type. This is because different surfaces require different installation depths or may not be suitable for all flooring materials. Therefore, it is important to discuss options with experts in safety surfacing installation before deciding on your option.

Can you Design a Playground that is Unique and Practical?

A modern approach to playground design and landscaping projects invovles personalisation. This helps design a space relevant to the end goal or purpose of the site.

For example, playground flooring design for young children should utilise vibrant colours and safe surfaces. We recommend using non-toxic materials with minimal carbon residue or loose fill that could pose choking hazards. Whereas public gardens or golf courses require a more understated, elegant approach with accessible, hard-wearing pathways that blend with nature.

Minimalist or Maximalist Design?

One solid flooring installation has the benefits of looking simplistic and clean. This can therefore, be suitable for a range of outdoor activities. Also, if you choose a wet-pour rubber surface, one solid block of rubber reduces the shrinkage that can occur between separate rubber sections over time. In more complex wet pour pattern ideas each block of colour has to be installed at a separate time. Because this allows them to set with clean sharp lines and shapes on the surface. However, this can create seams that can pull apart and require an EPDM edge strip. While this increases the durability of these fault lines, they can ruin the design. This is especially the case as coloured EPDM has better tensile strength than typical black rubber, which reduces shrinkage further.

For creative patterns and designs, mixed flooring materials are a great way to create excitement on the playground. EPDM can be installed with vibrant colours and shapes that last without fading to black. This is because they use virgin rubber shred. EPDM is often used to add extra durability to certain surface areas, having both an aesthetic and practical impacts.

Combining different surface materials in one area can clearly delineate play zones with different purposes or target users. The various colours and textures of each surface option are also important to appeal to different needs.

Artificial grass, popular on golf courses, creates a flat, low-maintenance surface. Meanwhile, a JungleMulch pathway is delineated by its vibrant colour through the green field. Also we can install distinct edging using the natural landscape to the course’s advantage. The seams between the two materials can also be made more accessible for wheelchairs and golf buggies alike with rubber edging ramp strips.

What is the Local Context?

A modern approach to playground design and landscaping projects involves personalisation. This makes it relevant to the end goal or purpose of the site.

Playground flooring design for young children should utilise vibrant colours and safe surfaces. For these sites, we recommend using non-toxic materials with minimal carbon residue or loose fill that could pose choking hazards. Whereas public gardens or golf courses require a more understated, elegant approach with accessible, hard-wearing pathways that blend with nature.

For designing an effective outdoor space, the context of the site is key. If the planned development is in an urban area, a natural colour-pallet and theming brings contrast attractive for park-goers.

For architects, the genius loci of a site means each place’s unique, and distinct sense of identity. This is often tied to the local nature, topography, or the surrounding culture. For public projects, landscaping developers are often tasked to capture the essence of a local area. Especially for public parks, as a centrepiece that will gain media attention and bring communities together. Using smart design, there are many ways to achieve this.

Using colour and relevant iconography as a cornerstone throughout the design process is important to achieving a unique final product. Our experienced design team works with you throughout to achieve a practical solution. All while continuing to reflect the creative playground design ideas that make up the ideal outdoor community hub.

Check out our nautical-themed playground for a local council below. There are many ways to tell a story in design. So, your choice of surface can play an important part in designing a playground project to stand out.

Multi-Use Play Areas

When including concerns for the end-point users in your initial designs, accessibility and catering for all types of users is important. As stated previously, some user groups can have special requirements, particularly important when creating something for young children. However, some requirements or desires that are part of each project’s purpose can be less obvious.

Adventure and excitement are obviously important for playgrounds aimed at children. But for different age groups, various levels of intensity are important to consider. Larger play structures, moving play equipment and sports areas appeal to older children and teenagers. However, you should design and construct these with safety and supervision in mind. Seating areas near these areas are a great way to integrate room for adult supervision into the design of the space. Also, soft surfacing like rubber grass mats with SmartPlay shock pads are vital to protect when falls do occur.

Looking for a Professional Playground Surface Supplier to Partner in your Playground Project?

Are you looking for advice and playground design help to find the right surface option to make your dream playground idea a reality? You can get in touch by requesting a callback or quote with our handy contact form at the top of our page. You can also call our team at 01564 742811.

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