When it comes to space, or the amount of room available for a commercial playground it’s important to plan carefully to maximize the amount of equipment and activities that can safely fit into the area. One of the smartest ways to do this is to custom design the equipment to fit the space, this will maximize both safety and playability. It’s also important to take playground use zones into consideration when picking a space for your commercial playground. Playground use zones are the amount of space (typically 6′ on all sides of the piece of equipment) that must be free and clear of all potentially dangerous obstacles around a piece of equipment. For instance, if you have a small commercial playground unit that is say 20′ x 25′, the actual amount of space needed for that piece of equipment is 32′ x 37′, this is just the minimum required, we always recommend more for safety reasons. So when selecting your site for a commercial playground, keep use zones in mind, they will utilize just as much, if not more space than the equipment itself. A general rule for playgrounds is the more available space the better.

Over the years we have designed a number of commercial playgrounds across the state of United States, each one different from the next. The biggest limiting factors when designing and constructing a commercial playground are usually the amount of space available for the playground and the amount of money (budget) for the proposed commercial playground. Many of my clients are repeat customers, more often than not, we find ourselves making the playgrounds we built in previous years bigger and better. One thing that we always emphasize to our clients is how important it is to do it right the first time around, rather than building what you can at the moment, then continuing to modify it over the coming years.

With the current economic situation we are facing, budgets, especially for commercial playgrounds are always a concern. Many of my clients approach me with small budgets and big dreams for their commercial playgrounds. While we can and often do design commercial playgrounds for smaller budgets, we always encourage our clients to design a playground that meets all of their needs not only currently, but also in the future. A commercial playground will last a lifetime, it will make a long term impression on the real-estate it resides in. A commercial playground will also attract more people to the area, potentially customers, church patrons, etc. With all of this in mind, we recommend fundraising whenever possible to get the commercial playground you truly want, even if this means delaying the project for a few years. The old saying “good things are worth waiting for” is very true when it comes to commercial playgrounds, as it is something that will be a permanent figure in the community in which it resides.

Safety is always a concern for both parents and owners of commercial playgrounds. Parents do not want their children to get hurt and owners of commercial playgrounds are always worried about lawsuits. The truth is that no playground is really “safe”. In fact, for a child, aside from a padded room, there is nowhere in the world that truly “safe”. While it is important to ensure a commercial playground be as safe as possible, it’s also important to remember the reason the playground is being built in the first place, fun. Children are curious beings, sometimes this curiosity can lead to injury. Although injuries are never a good thing, they are fundamental in the learning process for children. When a child experiences pain as a result of a physical action, they naturally learn a defense mechanism against that threat, each time they get a bump, bruise or burn, they remember what activity caused that injury, and will naturally tend to avoid it in the future. The lesson here is that while we should always hold safety in high regard when designing commercial playgrounds, we must find a balance between fun and safety, always remembering that no matter what, children will be children, injuries will happen, but that is a part of being a child and a learning experience.

The best way to make a playground safe is not by removing potentially dangerous items, or by putting excessive amounts of precautionary items like padding, but with proper supervision. Literally 100% of all injuries that take place on a playground can be prevented if there is proper supervision on the playground. Most injuries on playgrounds occur because of misuse of equipment. Most playground equipment when used as it was originally intended is safe. If you see a child standing up on the top of a slide, jumping off a swing or climbing on top of monkey bars, stop them; in doing so you will stop the injuries.