As with other community amenities, playgrounds have evolved over the years to include inclusive swings, towering treehouses, interactive equipment and really cool theme concepts. If you want your playground to stand out (and of course you do!), you might want to incorporate a theme into your design.
Theme can be anything from nature to outer space. As you begin to consider a themed playground design, think about the location’s history, the community who will be visiting the park playground or some other unique draw. This will help you choose a theme that holds significance to the community.
Some of the most popular themes we’ve come across over the years are pirates, dinosaurs, outer space, sports, nature, western or farm, castles, trains and first responders. And, when you choose a theme for your client’s playground, it shows the community that this space is unique and one-of-a-kind! A destination playground will draw visitors from near and far to experience this play adventure.
How Should You Theme Your Playground Design?
Selecting a theme is only half the battle. You must also determine how you will go about carrying out the theme within the playground. Do you want all the equipment to reflect your theme? Or just a portion? Budget will also play a part in determining the degree of theme you achieve, as well as the various materials and ways you can incorporate the theme within the playground or playscape.
At CR Studio Design, we recommend starting these conversations with your client early. Just because your client wants to have a pirate-themed playground design doesn’t mean they want a large ship with a cannon, treasure chest, maps, parrots or shark graphics in the safety surfacing. They may not want a fully immersed theme. Nor does their budget allow you to do so. Your client might want regular traditional play equipment with a few added themed elements – like a ship bow and mast to give the illusion of a pirate ship, a whale bouncer and other traditional play equipment intermingled. You can vary the degree to which you theme your design depending on budget, materials used and how in depth you want to take the theme.
Here are the different ways you can approach public playground design themes:
- Light. A lightly themed design is exactly as it sounds. Including a few elements of interest to your playground design can create a light affordable themed playground. For instance, using a playful art piece, play sculpture or two as a focal point or points of interest within the playground adds interest and curb appeal.
- Moderate. With a moderate theme, you’re going to add more themed play components to the traditional playground elements creating a moderate themed design. The focal point of the park playground might have a large-themed component in the center of play area and use other coordinating theme play equipment or freestanding components to further enhance the overall look. In moderate theme you may use a combination of various materials and types of play to illustrate your theme—activity panels, a few glass fiber reinforced concrete (GRFC) pieces, metal, nets and more. For instance, you might have a light house or ship with a whale bouncer or dolphin spring rider completing the play space.
- Fully Immersed. The last option is a fully immersed theme – which you guessed it – is a full-on rendition of the theme you’ve chosen. We commonly see this with nature-inspired playgrounds. They’ll feature natural-looking equipment with nets, treehouses, timber slats, rock climbs, sand pits, streams and other animal graphics in the poured-in-place rubber safety surface, gardens and planter boxes for a fully immersive play experience. Many fully immersed theme playgrounds use glass fiber reinforced concrete (GFRC), and it can look and feel just like the bark on a tree, bricks in a castle wall or beautifully painted flowers, mushrooms, stumps, animals and other creatures. They are literally a work of art. All areas within the entire park playground carry the theme throughout. Projects that choose a fully immersed theme generally have higher budgets and become destination parks that offer unique play experiences.
Discuss Your Custom Themed Playground with CR Studio Design
If you’re currently assisting a client with a themed playground design, contact CR Studio Design today. We can assist you in creating a one-of-a-kind experience with theme, determine what degree of theme is needed and what type of equipment will best bring your client’s dream to life. Where the sky is the limit and there is no end to adventure!