Many design factors contribute to a successful playground project. When designing a playground, it is important to work through form, functionality, and cost often in order to keep with a client’s guidelines for the project from beginning to end. There are a few, simple design secrets that can really improve your project during the planning stages so that when it comes time to present your project to a client you know you will not have overlooked a few great details. These design secrets are basic, but many people won’t think about them until its too late… or too far into the game plan for changes to be possible… or too bad because the client went another direction.
The first design secret for playgrounds is to keep water in mind the entire time. For example, how much rain does the site get each year? A factor like this can help you decide on surfacing options, run-off support, and even which features are acceptable. If it rains a lot, porous playground decks are a must and a ton of slides may not be a good idea. If the playground is at the base of a hill, it will most likely receive a lot of runoff so a bark chip surface might end up costing a client a lot of money year after year to replace. By simply keeping water in mind they entire design period, a designer can impress their client by offering very functional design aspects.
The second design secret for playground success is the implementation of both shade structures and weather shelters. For early spring park activities, having both ends of the spectrum covered will ensure that your park visitors can enjoy themselves thoroughly rain or shine. Most areas have on or the other but the few that have both have the advantage of catering to people through the all of the elements, which keeps the park or playground popular, and popular sites get noticed. Take the time and figure out how you will include both shade and shelter and your park will be noticed by both your client and your community.