A playground is ideal for children to exercise, have fun, and develop different physical, social, and motor skills. In a well-designed playground, children will have access to all kinds of playground equipment that caters to different abilities and interests and any park or playground amenities needed to have a safe, relaxing environment. 

If you’re starting on your playground design or simply curious, keep reading to learn how a playground architect can help you provide the best experience possible.

What is a Playground Architect?

A playground architect is a skilled professional who plans, designs, and oversees the construction of a playground to ensure it’s safe and accessible for everyone who may use it in your community. Safety is their number one priority, and they’ll ensure your playground design meets all safety regulations, including any ordinances from your city or town. They also won’t sacrifice style and aesthetics! 

Additionally, they’ll also make sure your design has everyone’s best interests in mind — from parents who may need a place to sit and watch their kids to children of different abilities requiring inclusive equipment to engage with their peers. 

How Do They Work on Playground Design?

Quality playground architects and designers will have several years of experience in the industry, work with certified installation crews, collaborate with playground equipment manufacturers, and offer complimentary design services, including 3D renderings and video animations. They’re knowledgeable in the best space for a playground, surfacing, adding clearance around equipment, finding safe equipment that’s appropriate for all ages and abilities, choosing amenities that are not playground equipment, and making sure it all works together seamlessly. 

Let’s backtrack a bit, though. The renderings and animations are where your playground design comes to life and where a lot of a playground architect’s work takes place. After working with your architect to understand your space, budget, and funding and determining which type of surfacing, equipment, and amenities are best suited for your vision, they will provide you with tangible designs to help you visualize the project. 

At MRC, we use programs like CAD, SketchUp, and Lumion, so you can know what to expect before installation. Our playground architects craft renderings and animations of your dream playground. Visual renderings and animated video walkthroughs will show you what your playground will look like and can often aid in the fundraising process by giving people an impressive look at your project.

Why You Should Work with a Playground Architect

Embarking on a playground design project can be overwhelming. It requires a lot of planning and specialized knowledge in many different areas, from location and equipment to surfacing and everything in between.

  • Collaborating. A good playground architect will work with you. While their experience and skills may lend themselves to come up with ideas for your space right off the bat, they’ll ask you specific questions and let you ask yours in return to reach your ultimate design. 
  • Defining Goals. The first thing to consider with any playground design is your goals. Where do you want it to be? How big is your space? Do you want a traditional or custom design? Will it be inclusive? Do you hope it will become a community centerpiece? What is your timeline and budget, and have you considered surfacing, curbing, and certified installation? Your playground architect will help you pinpoint your goals and create realistic milestones based on them. 
  • Helping Focus on Look, Feel, and Style. After asking and answering questions and defining your unique goals, you and your playground architect can get to the fun part — choosing equipment, colors, and design features! Your architect will help you create a cohesive design within your goals by deciding on what suppliers you will work with, your color scheme, equipment choices, and additional amenities. This is where you can get creative with your design’s look, feel, and style.
  • Understanding Age Awareness. Playgrounds should be designed to meet the needs of children of all ages and abilities, but you should take into account that having equipment for older children mixed in with younger children may not be safe. At MRC, we design and recommend playground equipment for two main groups of children, ages 2 to 5 or 5 to 12, and our architects understand how to plan a space for one or both age groups. 
  • Providing Suggestions of Amenities and Equipment Based on Experience. You probably already have a basic idea of what you want to see in your outdoor space, which is great! Your initial idea will help your architect outfit the space with everything you and your community need. For example, if you come to your designer with an idea for an inclusive playground, they may also suggest accessible poured-in-place surfacing, accessible restrooms nearby, comfortable benches, and waste receptacles. 

How To Pick Your Playground Specialist 

Doing your homework is an excellent first step in picking your playground specialist or architect. Check out their company’s website or LinkedIn to discover any completed projects and how long they’ve worked on playground designs. Many designers, like ours, will have galleries of playgrounds on their sites. Click through the pictures to see how they made someone else’s vision a reality. If possible, go to the playground in person and see how the community interacts with it. If you’d like any other tips for picking your playground specialist or want to chat with one of our experts, reach out today