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16 Things that Make up a Great Playground Design

Playgrounds are places of adventure and laughter, where children can have fun, interact with each other, and explore their abilities and creativity through play. Great playgrounds also serve as community places where parents and kids can all enjoy themselves. However, not all playgrounds are created equally, and some designs achieve more memorable experiences than others.


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Here are the 16 things that make a great playground design!

1. The design is compliant with NZ Standards 5828. This ensures the space is safe and up to standard saving you from any compliance issues.


2. There is sufficient shelter, seating, and shade. Providing good shelter and shade is important for all playgrounds, especially those where users are more exposed to the elements. Making sure seating is available is also a good addition, allowing space for people to gather and spend time.


3. The design is buildable within the available budget. Designing a beautiful space is all well and good, but it can be very disheartening when you come to the end of the design process and realise that the cost to build your dream space is way out of your budget. Creo’s team of landscape architects design to your budget. Sticking within your constraints and delivering a design that leaves no nasty surprises.


4. The playground design provides inclusive options for all abilities. A great playground is inclusive and provides play opportunities and access to users of all physical abilities. There are many ways you can make your project more inclusive, from the equipment you choose to the type of safety surfacing you put down.


5. There are graduate challenges for all ages including adults. Just like inclusive play, it’s important that your playground remains exciting and challenging for those using it. Having features that can be used by all ages and abilities is a great way to add interest and keep people entertained.


6. Swings and potentially dangerous items are positioned in such a way as to minimise risk.


7. There is a logical flow through the space. A great playground connects well to the surrounding area and the elements of the play space flow together well from one section to another.


8. Play value has been maximised. Rather than focusing on aesthetics, a great play space works to maximise play value by using existing features and adding new elements that add interest and encourage users to get creative with their play.


9. Includes open-ended or unprescribed play opportunities. These are incorporated to provide opportunities for children to use their imagination and use the space in different ways – after all, they are the experts when it comes to play!


10. Incorporating sensory experiences including touch, feel, smell and listening. Including these elements in your space adds to the play experience and makes your space interactive and memorable.


11. There are areas that will facilitate group and social gatherings. Great playgrounds incorporate elements that help create a sense of community. Having designated spaces that cater to this, like great seating, picnic tables, or a BBQ area are an easy way to bring this into your space.


12. Inspiring awe and discovery throughout the space. Having something unique, interesting, or an element of personality in a space inspires creativity and opens up a world of play possibilities.


13. Good vantage points for the supervision of children for caregivers. A space that caters to the needs of parents and caregivers is as equally important as creating a fun play area.


14. Clear and welcoming entry into the space. Great playgrounds are welcoming, exciting, and easily accessible for all visitors.


15. There is a clear link to the surrounding environment or local stories within the design. Some of the best playgrounds are great because they tell a story through the design and features of the space. It gives children and visitors a sense of place and connects them to the community they are stepping into.


And finally, number 16…

16. Great playgrounds combine a range of play types. Meaning the types of play are not being repeated in the space or even in other playgrounds in the area. This adds interest to the playground and keeps things interesting for everyone.


We hope that has given you some ideas that you can incorporate into your playground.

If you want to talk to someone or get further clarification on any of these, feel free to give us a call on 0800 000 334 or flick us an email.



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