It’s time to begin building a playground! A few quick searches and you may begin to realize that there are more steps involved than you had previously expected. Don’t worry, we’re here to help make sure you know exactly what to expect as you design and build a new playscape!
Before you get started, make sure that you have developed a team with attitudes and skillsets that will benefit the project as a whole. Once you have your team picked it’s time to begin the ideation phase. There are many exercises that you can use to help your team dream up the best possible playground that will benefit the children it’s being built for!
Budget + Timeline
Prior to choosing the elements that will combine to form the playground, it is important to have a detailed and clearly-defined budget prepared. The industry standard rule-of-thumb is to budget $1,000 per each child that you anticipate using the park at any given time.
For example, if you think that this beautiful new playground should be able to facilitate twenty-five children at a time, you should budget $25,000 for the materials and construction of the playground. Although this may seem daunting, it’s important to remember that this process can be completed in phases.
There are many ways to reduce the total cost of the project, but it is imperative that no corners are cut on materials, surfacing, or any elements that can impact the safety of the children.
One great way to save money is by organizing a community playground build. Not only will this build the community’s equity in the playground, but it will also bring members of the community from many different walks of life together, perhaps for the first time!
Another option to consider is phasing the construction of the playground. What this means is to separate the construction, and even purchasing, of certain sections or elements of the playground into phases that can be completed sequentially. It is often much easier to raise funding and gather support once the first phase of the playground has been completed and opened to the public!
The type of surfacing that is chosen is important far beyond its aesthetic value! Surfacing plays a key role in the playground because it reduces the impact that occurs from falling. Not all surfaces are created equal, though! While options like engineered wood fiber and rubber mulch may be cheaper initially, they will require more maintenance and attention in the long run.
Sport Surface Specialties offers the following surfacing options:
We recommend making the investment to install poured-in-place rubber! Poured-in-place (PIP) rubber offers the most thorough protection, superior customization, requires the least maintenance, and is ADA accessible! If you want a safe surface for your playground that has a more natural look, you can also choose artificial turf. Refer to our article, how much artificial turf costs to compare different styles of artificial turf!
The Americans with Disabilities act of 2010 created clear guidelines for renovating existing playgrounds and developing new ones that allow for equal play opportunities for individuals with physical disabilities. In addition, the selected surfacing must be of the quality and depth to provide appropriate fall protection below all equipment. For more information on the specifics of ADA guidelines, check out this helpful guide published by the U.S. Access Board!
In addition, Sport Surface Specialities has designed a free ADA Playground Accessibility Checklist!
Choosing Equipment and Obstacles
ADA regulations require that there is a specific amount of accessible ground-level equipment per all non-accessible equipment. With that in mind, selecting equipment can be incredibly fun! Parks have advanced leaps and bounds from the outdated and color-less playgrounds of our youth.
There are many different types of playgrounds such as fitness parks, music parks, sculpture parks, and traditional playgrounds! This is where the ideation phase from the beginning of the article comes into play. Knowing the purpose, design concept, and budget for the playground are phenomenal ways to reduce wasted time and improve the quality and efficiency of the playground build!
If you are in the process of building a larger park system and are in need of spectator seating, please head to our partners at NRS and review their options for 3-Row, 5-Row, 8-Row, and 10-Row Bleachers.
Click here to contact Sport Surface Specialties to request a quote or for more information on all things surfacing related!