Step 1 » Appoint Decision Makers
Planning a play space means making a lot of decisions, from choosing a site to determining the layout of the playground. Designing a playground tends to involve a lot of passion from everyone involved, so appointing decision-makers will make the process a little bit easier. Instead of having too many people voicing their opinions, you can have a few people collecting ideas, holding votes, and determining the best way to proceed.
When planning a playground, look for a small committee of decision-makers. This should include some parents, a few children, property owners and any other important people who will be impacted by the playground.
Step 2 » Research & Planning
Take Measurements to Determine Your Play Area Size
Carefully measure the total amount of space you can offer for the playground. Keep in mind that every piece of equipment will need to have some clearance around it. Don't forget to measure upwards to determine whether overhanging trees or any overhead structures could interfere with taller pieces of equipment.
Determine Surfacing Options & Playground Mounting Options
Part of your playground planning should include be the surfacing, especially at the bottom of slides and under climbing equipment, where extra protection may be needed. Keep in mind this will also impact mounting options.
In–ground mount equipment is anchored below the ground’s surface with concrete that is used to reinforce the piece of equipment.
Surface mount equipment is anchored to the ground’s surface using a concrete pad. No need to dig holes. If installation costs are a concern, or you can’t dig holes for direct bury installation, surface mount is a good choice.
Account for Child Capacity and the Ages of Children
Young children may require different safety measures and may respond better to multisensory and brightly-colored equipment. They should also have a separate play area from older children for safety reasons, as well as to ensure that the equipment are age appropriate. Additionally, young children, and children with different capacities and motor skills, may require other forms of equipment to stay active.
Determine Inclusive Play Needs
Plan your playground with all children in mind, as traditional playground equipment will not be appropriate for everyone. Children on the autism spectrum, for example, may need cozy spaces or quieter spaces. Children who utilize wheelchairs or other mobility devices may need flat surfaces as well as playground equipment they can roll around or even into. Create an inclusive playground by selecting equipment all children can use.
Prepare a Timeline for the Completed Playground
When does the playground need to be completed? What needs to happen first to reach that goal? Set benchmarks with mini-deadlines so you can keep track of progress and use a playground planning checklist to make sure nothing is overlooked.
Browse through our catalog or website to determine your playground interests
Has it been a while since you've reconnected with your inner kid and played in a playground? Today's play spaces are worlds away from the monkey bars and slides of days past. Before you make any choices about your playground, take a look at all of the options available today.View our Products Download a Catalog
Talk with a playground specialist
No, we don't mean your child! Contact us to speak to someone who's familiar with our entire catalog and who has helped design playgrounds before. We can help you customize your playground so kids will be thrilled to give your play space a try.
Step 3 » Financing & Funding
Select a Budget
What comes first — the dollar amount or a general idea of what playground equipment you need? It's a trick question. You may start with an idea of the playground equipment you need and formulate a budget based on that. Or, you may have a specific dollar amount in the bank. In either case, developing a budget or a range of costs to consider helps you plan for funding.
Determine Financing Options (if applicable)
If you’re anxious to build but don't have the necessary funds, there are financing solutions to consider. Leasing, loans, and other plans are all viable options. Contact us to discuss our financing solutions, which enable you to get started on your play space faster.
Start Fundraising (optional)
If cash flow is an issue and financing isn’t appealing, you may need to turn to fundraising. Consider applying for grants or organizing a bake sale. Luckily, we have a handy guide for raising money for your project.
Step 4 » Selecting
Choose Your Playground Equipment
When choosing your playground equipment, consider how you want kids to really have a great time at your playground. Consider:
Children are delighted by brightly colored equipment that makes noise and is surrounded by nature and offers visuals. Look for textured, vivid and engaging playground equipment to appeal to all the senses.
Being on a playground isn't just a chance to play. It's also a terrific way to build social skills and get to know other kids. Make sure your playground structure makes it easy for children to make friends and play together. Look for equipment that encourages children to role-play in groups or work together.
With so many kids leading sedentary lives, look for playground equipment that encourages activity. Look for equipment that promotes jumping, running and other types of movement.
Determine Appropriate Surfacing for Needs & Budget
Surfacing needs will depend on the type of equipment on your playground. There are safety standards for equipment such as swings, slides and other pieces of equipment. You need to make sure that the surfacing has enough depth to keep everyone safe.
Select Complementary Items
Your playground is a lot more than just surface and equipment. There are certain items you can use to enhance the play area:
- Benches - Children aren't the only ones visiting your playground. When parents and other adults visit the space, do they have benches where they can sit and supervise?
- Pathways - Pathways are important for children who utilize mobility devices users and to naturally take kids from one piece of playground equipment to another.
- Independent play items - While your playground should be a social place, you also want areas for independent play. For example, slides and tunnels let kids explore on their own.
- Shade - Shade allows kids to stay at a playground longer and lets them get away from the sun. On very bright days, it also saves young eyes from glare.
Installation Game Plan
If you've ever assembled furniture, you know that the instructions aren't always as “easy to assemble” as you might have hoped. We make every effort to make sure our items are actually easy to install, but if you ever need help, one of our play gurus would be happy to assist with finding an installation expert in your area.
Interactive Playground Feature Selector
Hover over the orange dots to learn more about the different features you can add to your playground.
Children on certain medications cannot be exposed to the sun for long periods of time. Shade allows children to play longer on the playground.
Activities that provide tactile, visual, and auditory stimulation.
Opportunities for dramatic and imaginative play, and social interaction.
Children can only stay as long as their parents are comfortable. Benches are provided to make sure that parents will stay as long as possible.
Helps contain children on the autism spectrum who might otherwise become overstimulated and run into harm’s way.
Climbing, sliding and bouncing types of activities.
Allows children to assess the amount of physical, sensory and social engagement they can expect. Offers a safe zone where a child may retreat to in the event of overstimulation.
Step 5 » Installing
If you need to dig to install your play space, you need to check with your utility company prior to breaking ground. If you choose a more involved piece of equipment, you may need assistance from others as well as handiness in using a level, tape measure, and other tools. Some pieces arrive basically preassembled and don't require much. If you do purchase a more complex piece and need assistance, our play gurus are just a phone call or email away to help you find an installation expert near you.
Step 6 » Enjoy & Celebrate
Congratulations! Now that you have designed, purchased, and installed your playground, you're ready to mold young minds and transform childhoods all over your community! Luckily, our involvement doesn't end there. If you need help at any point after the installation process, our play gurus are there for you. In fact, we have a handy rapid response form that you can use if you run into a problem. Just fill out the form and one of our pros will contact you shortly.