Playgrounds are an excellent asset to any park, city or town. They give the community a place to socialize, a place for children to burn energy, and a place for everyone to play together. 

There are many benefits to building a playground, but there are also several questions you should ask a playground specialist before you get started. After all, you want to build with the community’s health, safety and well-being in mind.

What to Look for in a Playground Specialist

Before building a playground, it’s important to seek guidance from a playground specialist. They are trained in playground safety and architecture to ensure you provide the best experience possible for your community’s children. They’ll provide advice on playground placement, surfacing, equipment and more.

When hiring a playground specialist, make sure they:

  • Have ample years of experience in the industry
  • Offer free design services including renderings and video animations
  • Have a network of certified installation crews
  • Work with manufacturers who are insured

Why You Need a Playground Specialist

Safety should be your first priority in building a new community playground. A playground specialist will make sure your area complies with safety regulations and that it is designed in everyone’s best interest. Consider them your playground architect — in the same way a building architect knows how to plan and build a structure that is safe for everyone, a playground specialist does too. 

7 Questions to Ask Your Playground Specialist

Here are a few questions to ask your playground specialist as you plan.

  1. Is this the best place to build a playground? As much as people enjoy shade, it’s not always the best bet to build a playground under trees, as they will have to be constantly maintained. (if maintenance isn’t a concern, we can build within the forest too!) Consider other potential hazards nearby, such as ponds or lakes, or ball fields where a pop fly ball could hurt someone on the playground.
  2. Is the surface safe? You’ll want to avoid concrete or grass and instead choose a surface like engineered wood fiber, shredded rubber mulch or poured-in-place surfacing.
  3. Is there enough clearance AROUND the equipment? There should also be 6 feet of clearance around each piece of equipment. This provides a safe fall zone for children.
  4. Does any equipment put children at risk? Watch out for pieces of equipment hardware that may jut out, anything clothing could get caught on, or that may cause strangulation. You should also watch for equipment that may pinch a child.
  5. Is your playground appropriate for children? Playgrounds should be designed to meet the needs of children of all ages and abilities — for commercial playground equipment, we design for two main groups of children, ages 2 to 5 or 5 to 12.
  6. How often should my playground be updated? Depending on how heavily the playground is used, it’s best to update between every 10 and 15 years. Check the warranties on the plastic components of your equipment and then do a visual inspection of the equipment for cracks, breaks or warping. A quality grade commercial playground structure will last for many years.
  7. What should I do if something breaks on my playground? It’s easy enough to replace ropes or swings, but if something not-so-easy breaks, look for the manufacturer sticker on your equipment and give them a call. They’ll walk you through the proper steps for reordering and how to close down that part of the playground until it’s safe.

MRC: Your New Playground Specialist

With more than 40 years of experience, MRC is the best choice for planning, designing and building your new playground. With a full line of outdoor equipment including GameTime playgrounds, splash pads, and more, we are a true one-stop shop for all things outdoors. Our playground specialists will work with you to determine the best space and equipment for your new playground.

Download the Playground Safety Surfacing Guide