Planning your new playground effectively will include a play area evaluation process. Various evaluations will need to be taken into account to determine what products, situations, and details will best serve the children in your play area.
Play Site Visit
Begin by physically visiting the location where the play area is to be. Determine how much area you can allot to the playground. Check the area for slope. The best places for play equipment are on level ground, although slope can play an important part in creative designs when it is taken into consideration.
Check for drainage conditions, including the type of soil and city drain water requirements, to determine what kind of drainage system you will need to keep standing water out of the play area. Determine if an architect or engineer will be required on your projects. Simple projects may not need professional design services, while creative and elaborate playgrounds are best served with this kind of assistance.
Play Area Particlulars
Your play area needs to be large enough to accommodate all potential users. Figure an average of children that may utilize the equipment and design with enough equipment to keep all children busy. Also, decide the age range of the children who will utilize the play area. You then need to design age appropriate structures and equipment. The CPSC standard describes play equipment as 2-5 years old and 5-12 years old.
Determine the kind of play area you will be providing. Take into account nature, equipment, themes and community needs. Play areas that can include plants, trees and grass enhance the play experience.
Site amenities are an important part of a successful play area. Benches, drinking fountains, trash receptacles, tables, bicycle racks, and other site furnishings can add to the enjoyment of the park. You may also need to add a rest room if one is not available. People coming to visit the play area will need parking areas for their vehicles. You may also need to provide security to the playground area. It may need lights or fencing to keep unwanted activities at bay.
Are utilities available for water, sewage, and electricity? Are utilities in the way of construction? Can construction crews access the construction area? Forethought to these types of issues can save time and money down the road.
Public play areas are required to be accessible to those with disabilities. Sidewalks, ramps, curb access and surfacing will all need to be analyzed to determine what will work best for children in wheelchairs and walkers to access and utilize the play area.
Be sure to check with your local government for rules and regulations for design and construction of play areas. You may be required to file papers or obtain permits. Evaluating your play area will help your group plan and design a playground that gets used and provides unique and wonderful experiences to children.
Many manufacturers provide documents to help you do a site analysis. Prior planning prevents poor performance, and in the case of evaluating your play area before you purchase your playground, this is especially true. A well thought out and designed playground will become a well used playground for your community.