Good playground design involves balancing your children’s needs, volume, age distribution, developmental aspects, and site conditions. Assess your present space by drawing a rough diagram. Include the seasonal aspects of your layout including sunlight, wind direction, snow/ice/rain. Observe the following:
- type and amount of natural materials
- small vs. large space
- topographical features, e.g. steep slopes, trees, rocks
- shared spaces with other age groups
- shaded area–either hard shelter or shade structure
You’ll need assess the following site conditions:
1. Measure your site and scale to your drawing. Triangulate your area be placing flags that will act as your measuring points, e.g. pt A, pt B, pt C. You’ll then be able to take effective measurements as triangles. Once you have all sides to a triangle, e.g. A to B to C, you’ll be able to calculate your area. The site can be split into rectangles, triangles and circles as you place your flags.
2. Identify all existing elements on the site: paths, trees, shrubs, fencing, buildings, large rocks, drainage, and swales.
3. Identify the plants and trees present and check that are all nontoxic
4. Note any areas affected by the sun, shade, wind, rain, and snow
5. Locate any underground services, such as sewer, water and gas. Any overhead power or phone lines? Any overhanging roof or tree branches?
6. Indicate any natural slopes or valleys
7. Identify any drainage problems
8. Determine if there’s a connection to water for play activities
In addition to overall environment, address the folloiwing:
* How will it be financed?
* What are the zoning requirements? What permits are needed?
* Determine the best source for evaluating, and ordering equipment and materials. KorKat can assist with the initial design and specifications for obtaining quotations.
* Consider your installation method–self-install, community build, turn-key installation
* Who will do landscaping and initial site preparation?
The following was adapted from Tracy Theemes’ “Let’s Go Outside! Designing the Early Childhood Playground”
Don’t forget to reference the Fundraising Resources page on the top right tab, for products and resource to help you with your playground fundraiser. If you are planning a playground in Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, or North Carolina and would like additional advice as to making the most of an existing budget, please contact us at www.korkat.com