Guiding Principles

Guiding Principles of Natural Playground Design

Playground Design Principles

Playground Design Principles

Playground Design Principles

Respond to the Surrounding Context: Create a reciprocal relationship between the building facilities and the outdoor learning environment. The layout and age groupings of play spaces should complement and enhance the schools internal circulation and organization.

Create a Strong Frame with Trees: In addition to spatially enclosing the play area and creating a pleasing park like aesthetic trees are critically important in addressing the serious safety issue of sun protection. Establish a logical and functional tree planting strategy.

Multi-Use: Avoid single use features. Play equipment, surfaces, spaces and layout should facilitate a variety of programmed and un-programmed activities.

Enhance the Natural Environment: Children learn from and enjoy natural places. Create an environment where children can participate in the growth and development of ‘their’ play space. Reflect and enhance the forest character of the site, play areas should be integrated with the natural context of the surrounding forest areas.

Reshape the Ground: Establish a strategy to reshape the site topography to create non-programmed spaces of varying scales and types that will encourage children to exercise their imagination. Berms, hills and other playful ground configurations create a powerful invitation to play.

Maximize Space: Consider unused or underutilized spaces within and around the existing play area. Free-up space or join underutilized spaces together to better optimize the site.

Equipment and Props: Provide opportunities for the use and storage of equipment, toys and tools.

Accessibility and Active Play: Ensure accessibility to all major play spaces for children with different physical abilities. Make accessibility an active play opportunity for all children.

Full Season Play: Develop strategies for year round use and enjoyment of the playground. Create opportunities that highlight the seasonal change.

Safety and Security: Ensure all proposed changes and developments meet the latest safety codes and guides. Maintain and enhance opportunities for observation and supervision. Minimize hard surface areas.

Cost Effective Design: Employ simple and modest means to affect significant change.

Playground Design Principles