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A Basic Guide to Designing a Children's Playground



Designing a custom playground for your community can be both exciting and overwhelming. With many different types of playground equipment and a wide span of ages to cater to, you may be tempted to include a little bit of everything. But there are ways to narrow down your choices so that your playground will best serve your community.

When you partner with a recreation company like Cunningham Recreation, you'll have experts to guide you through the design and construction of your playground. Below is a basic guide to help you design an inclusive playground that everyone in your community will appreciate!

Audience: Who are you designing the playground for?

Knowing who will be using your park can help you determine what types of equipment to install. Children play differently depending on their age and development. A playground designed for toddlers won't appeal to 10-year-olds and vice versa. Also, keep in mind that children have different abilities. Inclusive playground equipment ensures your park is accessible and usable by people of all abilities.

Space: How much do you have to work with?

Consider the space that is allotted for your playground. Do you have lots of room to work with or just a small area? Will your park be split into different zones based on activities or age? The equipment and surfacing take up the majority of the square footage, but you also need room for kids to run around, as well as spacious areas for benches, picnic tables and shade structures.

Layout: What type of "flow" do you want your park to have?

Children don't move in straight lines. Having a playground that flows well requires you to understand how children move and play. For example, you may have a path that leads from the playground entrance, to the swings and to the slides. A good flow ensures kids stay busy and avoid traffic jams.

Timeline: When do you want the playground completed by?

It takes a long time to design and build a commercial playground. If you want the park by next spring, you'll want to start the process in late summer or early fall. On average, playgrounds take 6-9 months to complete. The more time you give the project, the more you can relax and ensure your park gets everything it needs.

Budget: How much do you have to spend?

Your budget plays a big role in determining what your park can and can't have. Aside from the cost of equipment, you also have to account for permits, preparing the site, surfacing, shipping and more. You may already have a budget set, or you may be waiting to raise money through a fundraising event.

Nature: How can you work with nature to build the best park?

One of our best tips is to work with nature - not against it. Trees, flowers, hills, slopes, logs, etc. can all be great assets to your park and actually save you some money. As an example, installing a few benches underneath mature trees is less expensive than installing a shade structure. When looking at your space, consider the ways you can incorporate natural elements.

Start Building Your Custom Playground Today

Don't stress too much about how your playground design is coming along. Children thrive in places that have lots of colors, shapes and textures - even though this may look messy and chaotic to adults. Having a fun and safe place to play is more important than having a park with clean lines. To discuss your ideas for a community park, contact Cunningham Recreation today.