Design Your Playground
Designing a playground should be fun! At DRP we want to make it as simple as we can so you can have the best experience possible. By considering the following items, you will be well on your way to beginning your project. Please contact us at 1-800-432-0162, at any time should you have any questions.
ASSESS your needs
This is probably the most important step along the way to a successful playground project. Knowing your needs up front will prevent last minute problems at the end of the project. Think about the following:
- What is your budget? When planning your budget, make sure you not only consider the cost of the equipment, but also shipping, site preparation, safety surfacing, border material, amenities (benches, shading, etc.), and installation.
- What is the timeframe for the project? Does it need to be all at once, or in phases?
- How many children are you planning for? And what age groups?
- How do you want to plan for special needs children and parents? The American Disability Act (ADA) mandates that all new and modified playgrounds offer activities for use by children with disabilities.
REVIEW your site
In order to have a safe and reliable playground for many years, it is very important to review the area where the equipment will be installed. You must check for proper slope and drainage. Standing water will increase maintenance costs as well as reduce the number of days your playground can be used. Also, while trees and shrubs are great aesthetically and for shading, check the root structures to be sure they won’t impede on your playground equipment or surfacing, or get in the way of parental supervision. Check for low hanging branches or unstable limbs and make sure any leaves or fruit that may fall are not poisonous or dangerous.
Avoid building your structure under telephone or power lines, and contact your city or local utility company for determining the location of any buried utility or service lines.
Finally, you should consider access to parking, rest rooms, and telephones.
SELECT your equipment
There are many items to consider when choosing your playground equipment. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC
) recommends dividing your playground into two separate areas; one area for children who are between the ages of 2 and 5, and another for children between the ages of 5 and 12.
Safety should be your number one concern! You should only select equipment that is IPEMA Certified
(International Play Equipment Manufacturers Association). This certification assures you that your equipment has not only been third party tested, but also complies with both the CPSC
’s Handbook for Public Playground Safety and ASTM
(American Society for Testing and Materials) Standard F1487 guidelines on play equipment.
Other items to consider:
- Elevated decking and composite structures that connect play activities can accommodate a large amount of children in a smaller area. These items include such things as slides, climbers and imaginative play components.
- Freestanding equipment such as swings, climbers, and spring rockers can spread out your play area and reduce playground "congestion". They also offer a greater variety of activities for more users.
- When deciding on Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessibility requirements for disabled persons, you should, at a minimum, consider providing an accessible path to the playground, providing transfer points on your composite structures, and adding freestanding ground level components.
CHOOSE your surface
According to the 1998/1999 study by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)
, almost 80% of all injuries sustained from playground equipment came from falls. Because of this, it is essential that you choose proper, high quality surfacing for your play area. Surfacing options include:
- Loose fill. These surfaces, such as pea gravel, sand, and wood chips, are the least expensive option. They are also the easiest to install. However, they do require more maintenance to meet the impact attenuation standards of the CPSC. Keep in mind too, that the loose fill option, with the exception of engineered wood fiber like GT Impax, does not meet accessibility guidelines.
- Recycled Bonded Rubber. An attractive, seamless surface that recycles clean shredded rubber tires into a useful and environmentally responsible safety surfacing. It provides a lower cost option than other seamless surfaces.
- Poured rubber. These surfaces are available in multiple thicknesses and colors. Poured rubber surfaces are extremely durable and require significantly less maintenance than other surfacing options.
INSTALL your playground
Because budgets and needs are different, you may want to consider all installation options before beginning your project. There are several installation options available to you:
- Self Installation – For organizations with a lot of workers or volunteers, this option is obviously the least expensive. GameTime will provide you with detailed installation instructions. Keep in mind though, that all of the responsibility for proper installation falls on your group.
- Supervised installation – With this option, your group would install the playground under the direct supervision of a GameTime certified installer. However, you must provide your own tools, equipment and concrete.
- Fully certified installation – This is the easiest and fastest way to have your equipment installed. Certified installers can handle the site work and surfacing and all other aspects of your installation. This guarantees your play equipment will be installed to GameTime's specifications and will ensure your utmost satisfaction.
Check our reference section for Five Star Plus survey results as well.