Playground Design Ideas

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Free Playground Design Ideas

98 Free Playground Design Ideas

Outdoor Playground Design Ideas

This article will cover the Commercial Play design process and offer you a selection of outdoor playground design ideas. Remember that your playground is about more than fun, climbing and running around.

It is about learning and creative play. (If you haven’t read our article on “Learning Through Play”, we suggest you do so after this)

We always want to use the opportunity of playground design to expand upon learning opportunities for children. So without further explanation, let’s get into it.

These suggestions are suitable for the following:

  • Preschool playground design ideas
  • Primary school playground design ideas
  • Playground ideas for local authorities

Jump to:

The Playground Design Process

What Is It, and When Should I Use It?

Knowing your equipment and markings is essential when considering your playground’s design.

Here we break down the components of a successful playground design with activities encouraging mental and physical growth.

High-Level Playground Equipment

  • High-level play equipment is anything above X metres.
  • Learning through play and physically active learning (PAL)
  • Supports growth in social skills, playing alongside others and problem-solving
  • Suitable for small and large spaces (smaller spaces allow for fewer pieces of equipment)

Find more high-level equipment here.

Low-level Playground Equipment

  • Low-level play equipment is anything up to X metres.
  • Learning through play and physically active learning (PAL)
  • Supports growth in social skills, playing alongside others and problem-solving
  • Suitable for small and large spaces (smaller spaces allow for fewer pieces of equipment)

Find more low-level equipment here.

Combination Trails

  • Combination trails contain an assortment of high and low-level playground equipment
  • Learning through play and physically active learning (PAL)
  • Supports growth in social skills, playing alongside others and problem-solving
  • Suitable for large spaces

Playground Markings

  • Playground markings are games and activities applied directly to a hard surface, i.e. tarmac
  • Learning through play and physically active learning (PAL)
  • Supports growth in numeracy and literacy as well as increased physical activity
  • Suitable for small and large spaces

Safety Surfacing

  • Safety surfaces are specialist surfaces designed to meet official playground safety regulations to minimise the risk of harm.
  • Safety surfacing types include wet pour, rubber mulch, artificial grass, shock pads, rubber matting or tiles and natural bark chips.

Playground Ideas: Inspiration While Working Within a Budget

If you already have a budget, it can be tough to determine how to use that money best.

Hopefully, you will find it easier following our crash course on playground equipment types, markings and safety surfacing! But if you still need guidance, we have created a helpful gallery of playground design ideas categorised by estimated cost.

Are there any costs I should be aware of besides the playground components?

Sometimes, it is possible to overlook certain costs if they are less noticeable. It depends on the providers you choose. Some may charge for:

  • Site surveys and visits
  • Designs and project renderings
  • Post-design variations
  • And costs that relate to unknown/hidden factors which come to light during the works phase.

Whilst some of these might be unavoidable, being aware of them upfront may help inform the structure of your budget and the type of playground you choose.

If you’d like help selecting the right playground equipment for your space, you can also book a free site visit with us and receive complimentary 3D renders.

Getting colleagues on-board

Helping your colleagues get to a place of mutual understanding and buy-in with your vision can sometimes be challenging.

Here are some suggestions to help take them on your journey to help reduce friction when you need others to sign off on a budget.

  1. Take a moment to remind everyone how you got to this point.
  2. Take time to align your playground design objectives with expanded learning and social opportunities for children.
  3. Illustrate how you got from your current situation to the completed project. What steps are involved? Use this article as a guide.
  4. Bonus: go prepared with customised 3D renders to illustrate your vision.

If you’d like us to help you plan your space, book a free site visit today and get complimentary 3D renders of your project.