Playground Planning: The Definitive Guide to Planning a Commercial Playground for Your Church, School, Daycare, Neighborhood, or Public Park

Playground Planning: The Definitive Guide to Planning a Commercial Playground for Your Church, School, Daycare, Neighborhood, or Public Park

playground equipment postingWhether it’s a church playground, school playground, daycare, or a neighborhood public park, each outdoor playground requires significant planning to maximize your funds.  Playground planning should recognize that each playground experience is unique to each child, and each commercial playground is unique in its site features, layout, design components, and visual appeal.  Also See 14 Layout Considerations for Your Playground.  The cycle consists of the following:

Community: Playground Planning: top

Needs Assessment:

Take inventory of the following areas to properly address the needs of the community that will be using the playground. See also:

  • Number of children accessing
  • Age groups and their distribution: usually split into three categories, 2-5, 2-12, and 5-12 years of age.
  • Special needs-must include accessible route to playground area and equipment must meet ADAAG (accessibility guidelines for public playgrounds). Also See The Sensory Rich Playground is For Children of All Abilities.

Site Plan

Exact dimensions and shape of playground area- Use 8 Playground Planning Tips below for reference.

Utilities- water, sewer, drainage, cable, phone, electric, sprinklers, etc.

Other site features- visibility, security, fencing, space, landscaping.  Also, 8 Playground Planning Tips

Playground Design

Inventory of existing equipment- will it be a. removed, b. retrofitted (updated to current ASTM F1487 or CPSC Standards for Public Playgrounds-10 Safety Items to address on playground), c. added to if compliant?

14 Layout Considerations for Your Playground

Playground Equipment and Park Equipment Catalogs you Can Download immediately



Playground Equipment Budget:

Considering the costs of funding a playground are similar to any capital project, you’ll want to take into account the following items that will affect your budget. KorKat representatives can offer, for free, the following design options as part of your package.

  1. After needs assessment, we design a playground plan that meets your criteria to to be used as your fundraising goal
  2. Provide us a fixed budget and we’ll design your playground to fit

Budget- How much will this playground cost- Playground Planning? top

The playground itself can be broken down into the following elements for budgeting:

  1. Playground Equipment & surfacing
  2. Installation
  3. Site Preparation

Critical Article: How to Save Thousands When Building Your Playground

Critical Article: 7 Zones to Your Playground- Creating Balance In Your Playground Design

1. Playground EquipmentHow to Compare Your Playground Designs and Proposals

  • Age-appropriate playstructures or playsystems.  Standards are for children ages 2-5, 2-12, and 5-12. Must include signage to indicate age range of design.
  • Independent Playground Components- Spring Riders, Spinners/Motion-oriented equipment, Swings, Freestanding Slides/Climbers, Fitness Equipment
    Types Ages
    Swings 2-12
    Springriders/Rockers 2-5
    Climbing Webs 5-12, 2-5
    Spinners/ Motion-oriented Equipment 5-12
    Active Play 5-12
    Fitness Equipment 5-12
    Trike Tracks and Tot Houses 2-5
    Freestanding Slides 2-12
    Bubble Wall Climberpic 1, pic 2 2-12
    Triple Toss, Tetherball, Soccer goals, Basketball Goals 2-12
  • Accessible Playground Surfacing: Each public playground requires both an accessible route to the playground area and a certified playground equipment surfacing.
    Type: Cost: (average size 2000 sf)
    Poured-in-place Rubber EPDM Surfacing $10-14/sf- $20k-$28k
    Bonded Rubber Surfacing $7-10/sf- $14k-$20k
    Rubber Nuggets $7-11/sf- $14k-$22k
    Rubber Tiles $10-12/sf- $20k-$24k
    Synthetic Grass/Artificial Turf $8-12/sf-$16k-$24k
    EWF (Engineered Wood Fiber) $1.5-3/sf- $3k-$6k
  • Site Furnishings- picnic tables, benches, trashcans
  • Shade Structures , Commercial Umbrellas and Picnic Pavilions/Gazebos- Freestanding shade structures and wood or steel picnic areas

2. Playground Installation: Ranging from 25-45% of the equipment price, this is usually the second largest line-item in your budget, assuming the site is ready. See bottom of page for playground equipment installation options


3. Playground Site preparation: The following items can substantially affect the cost of the playground project:

  • Grading
  • Excavation
  • Irrigation
  • Underground Utility
  • Drainage

Funding your Playground: Playground Planning top

Budgeting for a playground is usually coming from capital funds which means they are limited, as is the timeframe to meet these goals.  Make sure to visit both the playground fundraising resources page and playground equipment grant pages for additional funding sources.  Consider reaching out to the community for the following items:

Playground Equipment Installation Options: Playground Planning top

Back to Playground Installation

Installing a public playground on your own is a legitimate option and next to sales items and donated resources can provide the largest savings for your budget:

3 options to consider:

  1. KorKat, Inc. installation– NPSI Certified, Factory-certified installation by KorKat, Inc. to provide a complete installation of all playground eqipment and park equipment
  2. Supervised Installation with a NPSI certified, factory-certified representative of KorKat, Inc. paid for on a per-diem basis.
  3. Community-built, DIY, Self-installation with factory-certified representative– Includes audit of equipment post—installation

Finally, you’ll want to make sure that your hard work pays off well into the future.  Two items will need to be addressed:

Don’t forget, if you are in Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, Hawaii, Alabama, Tennessee, or Florida and looking for assistance with playground planning , we can offer 10 reasons to choose KorKat, Inc. Visit us at