Designing a new playground and investing in commercial playground equipment requires you to put thought and research into your decision. Selecting the right equipment extends beyond choosing what looks fun, colorful and inviting — you also have to think about safety, the target age range for the playground and the abilities of the children who will be using it.
This guide will provide you with step-by-step instructions for making the best decisions prior to purchasing commercial playground equipment and building a new playground.
1. Pick Your Location
Picking the right location for your new playground is critical, as this will determine how much the playground is used and how functional the equipment is throughout the year. Commercial playgrounds are typically built near:
- Schools — Preschools and elementary schools often have playground equipment on-site for the children to use during recess. There are even some middle schools and high schools that have had added recreational play areas in recent years.
- Businesses — Some businesses have playgrounds on their property in order to provide children with a safe and fun place to play.
- Churches — Playgrounds at churches provide members of the community a place to go and enjoy fellowship while their children play. These spaces become a community gathering space for members of the congregation.
- Recreational Spaces — Municipalities of all sizes often designate playground areas in their various parks, as this is a community amenity that most residents want to have access to. You will find playgrounds at local parks as well as state parks in your area.
As you consider locations for your playground, you should verify that the ground around the playground drains well. Kids want to play, regardless of whether it rained or not the night before, and the last thing they will want to be greeted with is a flooded playground. In addition, as you look into equipment and consider the location, you also will want to keep in the mind the climate in your area, as weather plays a big role in how and when the equipment is used.
2. Plan Your Budget
The cost of your playground will vary significantly based on the size of your park and the type of commercial playground equipment that you want to invest in. One of the best ways to budget for your playground is to consider the number of kids who will be using it. Most park designers plan on about $1,000 per child for their budget.
Get a Grant
A grant can help you cover the costs of your playground, so you may want to review these important tips for writing a grant for playground equipment.
Start a Fundraiser
You also may be able to start a fundraiser for your playground, as community stakeholders are often willing to support an initiative that will benefit the children in the area.
3. Choose Playground Equipment
There are many considerations to make as you select the commercial playground equipment for your park. These are a few of the most important factors to keep in mind:
Playground Equipment for All Ages
Families of all shapes and sizes will be coming to your playground to enjoy the equipment and to give their children a safe place to play. As a result, it’s important to invest in a wide range of equipment that accommodates infants and toddlers as well as preschoolers and school-aged children. Most playground planners try to have equipment available for children up to the age of 12.
Playground Equipment for All Abilities
The playground that you are building should be a space where all children can come to play with one another and stay active — and it’s never been more important to purchase playground equipment that benefits the whole child offering accessible and inclusive activities. Inclusive play is incredibly important, as it provides all children with a chance to stay physically active and stay social with one another. Fortunately, there are more inclusive commercial playground equipment options on the market today than ever before.
4. Choose Playground Surfacing
Once you have decided on equipment that will be appealing to children of all ages, interests and abilities, then the next step that you need to take is to choose playground surfacing. The most common options for playground surfacing include:
- Poured-in-Place Rubber — This playground surfacing material is a versatile option that can be used on both indoor and outdoor playgrounds. Many community organizers like it because it can be purchased in unique colors, and patterns can be incorporated into the design. It typically costs more to purchase this material initially, but it is a durable surface material that requires minimal maintenance over time.
- Rubber Tiles — Rubber tiles are a durable option that can be used on any type of playground, including an accessible playground, as long as the proper ramps are installed. This material is known for being a low-maintenance option that will last for years to come.
- Rubber Mulch — Rubber mulch is ideal for those that are looking for a cost-effective playground surfacing option, but this material requires more maintenance and replacement over time. It can be ordered in a variety of colors, and is created from recycled materials.
- Engineered Wood Fiber — If you are creating an environmentally-friendly playground, then engineered wood fiber may be your preferred surface option. Not only is it a natural and sustainable selection, but it’s a budget-friendly choice. However, you will need to continually purchase wood fiber in order to top off the surface and maintain the playground.
- Bonded Rubber — Bonded rubber is considered to be the best alternative to poured rubber, as it offers similar design options and consistency, yet it’s available at a lower price point. Bonded rubber, however, does not have the same long lifespan as poured rubber, and it may require more routine maintenance over time.
- Synthetic Grass — Synthetic grass is one of the most aesthetically-pleasing surface options, as it gives your playground a natural look. It can be used in both indoor and outdoor playgrounds, and is preferred in places with high temperatures, as it offers a cooler surface temperature than other popular playground surfacing options. Synthetic grass is available at a moderate price point, and it is designed to last for years, making it a viable option for many playground designers.
5. Plan for Site Furnishings
The commercial playground equipment that you purchase is the star of the show, but the site furnishings are the unsung heroes at your park. When you select the right site furnishings for your playground, you will create a space that is more functional and enjoyable. Some of the best site furnishings to invest in include:
- Hand Sanitizer Stations — Parents, in particular, appreciate these no-contact stations that allow their children to clean their hands while they are at the playground.
- Shade Canopies — Shade canopies are very beneficial, particularly at a playground without a lot of trees in the area.
- Picnic Tables — Picnic tables give families a place to sit, relax and enjoy a snack or meal during their break from the playground.
- Benches — Benches allow parents and caregivers to rest as they watch their children enjoy the playground equipment.
- Water Filling Stations and Water Fountains — Water bottle filling stations and water fountains prevent dehydration and are a convenient addition to any playground.
Get a Quote on Playground Equipment
At Park & Play Structures, we are the experts when it comes to commercial playground equipment. We have a diverse range of playground products that are designed for children of all ages and abilities, allowing you to select the equipment that works best for your project.
Now is the best time to begin dreaming about that exciting and inviting playground. Request a quote today from Park & Play Structures, and discover that your dreams are within reach.