Family & Children’s Services Guelph

F&CS Guelph Natural Playground / Visitation Area

Family and Children’s Services had just completed the renovation of their new head office in Guelph and contacted Earthartist to design a natural play area for families to use during supervised visits with their children. One of the more challenging aspects of this project was the high public visibility of the play area which is located at the front of the building just meters from a busy arterial road. In addition to responding to the needs of the users, the space had to reflect the public image of Family and Children’s Services.

  • The development of flexible programming and site design permitted the space to be used for a combination of both active and passive activities including:
  • Interactive play facilities for children of a wide range of ages;
  • The potential need to accommodate stressful or emotional situations;
  • The need for supervision of the visitation area;
  • Use of area by staff for breaks / recreation.

The design integrates low maintenance natural landscape elements with a range of play opportunities while creating a sense of enclosure and privacy in the site. Exploring alternatives to the single use play structures created the flexibility necessary to accommodate many different users and requirements of the visitation area.

The design of the playground was a subject of considerable discussion, it was a difficult undertaking that needed to accommodate a number of different users and seemingly conflicting activities in a small area… the solution eluded us.

We were more than impressed with the ingenuity of design, the skills used to interpret the functional requirements for this playground and talent in designing and management the project. I have no doubt Earthartist will make an unqualified success of any landscape / playground assignment given to them.

–Seligman and Associates project manager for F&CS Guelph