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How to Build an Eco-Friendly Playground


Looking to add a sustainable park to your community? Parks, playgrounds and green spaces provide beautiful areas for people to exercise, socialize and relax. They also protect natural areas and support healthy ecosystems. No wonder why community parks increase property values and tax revenues!


To give your playground an added boost, you can make it eco-friendly. There are a few ways you can do this such as choosing the right materials and incorporating natural elements into your design. Let’s learn more about how to build a creative, eco-friendly playground or playful trail for your neighborhood.

Recycled Plastic for Playground Equipment

Playground equipment can be made from materials like recycled milk jugs. These materials are cleaned, flattened and shredded and then cut to serve as playground equipment. Another great choice is HDPE, or high-density polyethylene. HDPE stays cool in the summer, is easy to maintain and is affordable.

Safety Surfacing Made from Recycled Materials

Another area to pay attention to is safety surfacing. In the past, playgrounds had sand, pea gravel or garden/planting mulch to land on and they weren’t particularly safe or environmentally friendly. Today we have a wide selection of safety surfacing to choose from that’s made from materials like recycled rubber, rubber mulch (made from recycled tires), poured-in-place rubber, rubber tiles and recycled wood from other projects.

Nature-Inspired Designs

To show the community and visitors that your playground is eco-friendly, consider a nature-inspired theme. Cunningham Recreation offers a variety of trail and nature-themed commercial play equipment such tree climbers, spinning leaf seats, tree stump stepping pods with nature fun fact signs and various play activities in themes like bees, ants, trees or leaves. You can even create a playful trail experience with pockets of play throughout the trail! Each play pocket having its own signage about that particular eco-system, habitat, animal, insect or plant.

Some of the trail and nature-themed playground equipment we sell include:

● Rockscape Arches and Boulders for climbing

● Caterpillar-shaped crawl tunnels

● Log crawl thrus

● Mushroom stepping pods

● Tree/vine climbers

● Log balance beam

● Bug benches

● Nature signs

● And more!


Natural Elements

Finally, we encourage our customers to utilize their natural environment to bring character and uniqueness to their playgrounds. Mature trees are perfect for shade - there’s no reason to cut them down to build your playground. We can even work around small hills and mounds. Kids love climbing up and down them or we can do hillside slide. Flowers, bushes and trails can also be utilized, especially if you plan on having a nature trail for families to enjoy.

Are you ready to start planning an eco-friendly playground or playful trail for your community? Contact Cunningham Recreation to learn more about our nature-themed playgrounds that support an environmentally friendly concept!