The Real Cost of Building a Playground in 2023

Lorna Irene Reserve Playground

If you’re reading this post, you’re likely curious about what it actually costs to building a playground in 2023. In this post, we aim to provide a comprehensive insight into the expenses associated with building a playground, and what factors can potentially affect this cost.

The figures we’ll discuss encompass the entire playground build – including:

  • Design.
  • Site de-establishment and re-establishment.
  • Demolition and removal of topsoil.
  • Levelling and compacting of new base course.
  • Supply and installation of play equipment.
  • Safety surfacing.
  • Shade and furniture.
  • Landscaping and planting.
  • Project and site management.

On average, the cost of constructing a playground varies depending on the size and intended purpose of the play area.

For instance, a typical school or apartment complex playground could cost anywhere between $150,000 and $350,000.

A neighbourhood playground, slightly larger in size and scale, may cost between $200,000 and $450,000.

More expansive community playgrounds can range from $400,000 to $900,000, while the most extensive and elaborate ‘destination’ playgrounds – the kind designed to attract visitors from all around – can cost between $1.5 million and $5 million.

Now, you might be wondering, what are the elements that can drive the cost up or down? Well, there are three significant factors that primarily influence the cost of a playground build:

  1. Type of Equipment: As one would expect, the type of play equipment installed has a substantial impact on the overall cost. In particular, taller equipment generally necessitates more safety surfacing underneath, which further adds to the cost.
  2. Safety Surfacing: The type of safety surfacing chosen can significantly affect the project’s expense. For instance, while woodchip surfacing is less costly, it requires continuous maintenance and monitoring for foreign objects. On the other hand, turf is more expensive initially but demands less upkeep. Poured rubber surfaces are great for accessibility and require little to no maintenance while adding extra play value through their potential for design integration. However, they tend to be more costly than both turf and woodchip options.
  3. Site Access and Condition: The ease of access to the site and the state of the existing environment play a critical role in determining project cost. If vehicle access is limited or non-existent, the cost of the project will likely rise. Additionally, if the site requires a large amount of demolition or dumping, these factors can significantly affect the budget. Hidden costs often lie in unanticipated issues like drainage problems or the need for retaining walls.

By understanding these cost determinants, you will be better equipped to estimate the budget for a playground build in 2023.

We hope this overview gives you a clearer idea of what it takes to create a playground and the factors that influence the cost.

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