Landscape Structures

Sustainable Play Though Environmentally-Friendly Design - It started over 45 years ago in a makeshift manufacturing facility, Steve and Barb King’s garage, when the Kings decided to pool their talents to form what would be known today as a top-tier playground manufacturing company, Landscape Structures, Inc. 

Back then Steve was a landscape architect with an eye for aesthetics and functionality, who also knew that he wanted to bring his ability to create to the playground industry. Barb was then a home economist, whose own expertise lay in organizing, planning, coordinating, and executing whatever she set out to achieve. Their skills stood to complement each other in their endeavor of turning their ideas into a successful business, and in an industry where they could make a huge difference in the lives of children through creating play opportunities. 

So they began creating, with most of the first structures being manufactured out of wood in the garage. Steve’s idea was to make structures conducive to continuous play and also create a venue with great play value in a small space that would also encourage skill development, interaction, and socialization for children as they play together.   This was a revolutionary concept in the playground industry at that time and formed a strong base for the future growth of LSI.

The Kings then persevered and basically did all the legwork themselves for the company, contacting schools, childcare facilities, public parks, and housing developments to get their product to the end user. They worked steady, 18-hour days as they would start from scratch with each project, buying materials, fabricating and manufacturing, and then installing each project. They also assumed the role of office staff and took care of every necessary duty to keep their business going.  

They incorporated in 1971, and in the mid-1970s the Kings took another step and hired an outside sales representative to help out with sales across the U.S. Sales grew, and of course the demand for production as well. So they rented a small warehouse in Golden Valley, Minn. to accommodate the growth. By 1975 a new facility was built in Delano, Minn., which is now the company headquarters. 

Then in 1984, LSI purchased Mexico Forge, a steel and aluminum play structure manufacturer. At that time they ceased manufacturing with wood altogether as Steve saw they could provide safer and more durable structures with different materials. 

This brings us to where LSI is today, an ESOP company with over 300 employees and several manufacturing facilities with over 340,000 square feet of space to manufacture its continually evolving line of fun and challenging structures. Barb has passed on, but the legacy she and Steve have created lives on.

Sustainability is a keyword at LSI. It is a company concerned with its carbon footprint, while still creating structures to keep kids active. In 2006 LSI was awarded the Waste Wise Leader Award from Minnesota Waste Wise, an affiliate program of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, for its efforts to eliminate waste. Since 1998, the company has prevented about 5,700 tons of solid waste from being deposited in landfills. This is thought to have saved 2.3 million gallons of water, 660,000 kilowatt hours of electricity, and 330,000 therms of natural gas. Our society is becoming more and more “green” as the years progress, and for over 35 years LSI has had a strong commitment to protecting the environment. 

While it is an environmentally-friendly company, LSI also continues the tradition today to create innovative ways for play. In 2007 it created a “sui generis” structure, the Evos play system. It’s fun, challenging, and also fits into the category of environmentally friendly as it requires much less plastic than a traditional play system, the paint is lead-free, manufacturing produces 30 percent less CO2 than a traditional play system, and the transparency makes it blend well with today’s natural park environments. 

LSI is ISO 14001 certified, which means it adheres to the standards of measuring and tracking environmental aspects of manufacturing, which is important to the future of our ecosystem and those who will be playing on the company’s structures for years to come. 

The Kings and LSI take their stewardship of the environment very seriously as is evident in their business and manufacturing practices. That is not all they are concerned with when it comes to play opportunities though. 

LSI remains on the cutting edge of providing ways for children to play safely, yet experience challenges, and also of educating them on the importance of environmental impact with the play structures. Part of its success is due to the fact that LSI views the world as a whole, starting with its employees who are more like family. It has the vision that everything we create in this world affects other things, and the world as a whole eventually. 

School systems and parks and recreation departments are now being asked to draft long-term Sustainability Plans, and more customers are sourcing environmentally-friendly products. Landscape architects are also focused on these same concepts of sustainability through LEED certification of the products they design. LSI is proud to produce play structures in line with this forward-thinking movement. 

For more information on its products, call 888-4FUN-LSI, or log on to