Over the last couple of decades, childhood has moved indoors. Experts say that kids should play outdoors for at least three hours every day, but the average child gets less than 30 minutes of outdoorplay a day. There are many approaches to addressing this problem, including designing more playgrounds that incorporate the natural environment.
When you integrate natural components into your playground design, you’re helping children and families create richer play experiences that enhance their physical, mental and social development. Below are some ideas for including natural landscaping into your commercial playground designs.
Leverage Natural Surroundings
At CR Studio Design, we always encourage our clients to work with their natural surroundings. Is there a big rock or boulder in the way? Instead of paying to have it removed, let it be part of the playground design. Functionally link it to your manufactured play equipment for added play value. Large boulders, hillsides, mounds and trees allow us to come up with extraordinary custom multigenerational recreation spaces.
For example, if your client’s space is surrounded by tall trees, you can use them to your advantage. Mature trees provide ample shade, allowing you to cut down on the expense of shade structures. You can also build a vertical playground that is a similar height to the trees, making it feel like one.
Using the natural surroundings provides us the opportunity to assist landscape architects in coming up with creative play solutions that create unique play experiences for their clients.
Choose a Nature Theme
Nature is for everyone. Even those that live in cities need opportunities to experience “the great outdoors” close to home. Choose a nature theme for your park playground design bringing “nature” to everyone.
Using GFRC (glass fiber reinforced concrete) and our other custom design capabilities, you will be able to create the look and feel of nature. Experience the feel of tree bark as you are climbing the fallen log or learn the various animal tracks as you wander throughout the playground, pretend you are stranded on an island while experiencing life in a treehouse with nets, tunnels, vine climbers and slides. Creating a nature themed playground design is easy.
If this sounds like a good option for your playground, be sure to check out our nature-inspired inclusive playground designs that feature treehouses, fallen logs, stump climbers and more.
Incorporate Walking Trails
When one space flows to another, it creates a cohesive look and feel. This is exactly what you should strive for when you want to enhance the landscaping. Different trails can take visitors to ponds to fish or grassy areas to have a picnic. The playground will be the focal point, but the trails will lead people to explore other things.
Plus, when you incorporate walking trails into your design, you give people a place to exercise, ride bikes and walk their pets. This space becomes a larger part of the community instead of being limited to school-aged kids. You can even plant a community garden that park-goers can help take care of!
These are just some of the ways that you can integrate landscape and nature into your playground design. To learn more about nature play design concepts, contact CR Studio Design today.