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Telephone: 01992 537121 | 07904 901770

Email: jac@dna-play.co.uk | info@dna-play.co.uk

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A Fresh Approach to Playground Design in Bishops Stortford

There are many significant differences between traditional playground design and how we go about planning natural playgrounds for Bishops Stortford schools. For example, we build bespoke school playground equipment (like climbing frames) out of sustainably sourced or recycled materials. But there are more subtle playground design principles which we place at the forefront of our work. On this page, we’ve explored just a few of them.

Natural Playgrounds – Playground Design Principles

What’s on Your Site?


Before setting about a playground design project in Bishops Stortford, our team will survey your grounds and figure out exactly what’s already there. This includes plants, trees and wildlife. Creating natural playgrounds around existing ecosystems is entirely possible, just as it’s possible to create natural playgrounds to replace synthetic, manmade ones.


Obviously, your playground design will need to be formed around large trees, any protected species of animals that might be living in them or nearby them, and similar such concerns.

Sometimes Less is More


Don’t feel the need to overfill natural playgrounds with heaps of school playground equipment, from climbing frames to see-saws and everything in between. While natural certainly refers to the “greenery” included within playground design, the word is synonymous to simplicity and the spirit of “less is more”.


Often children around will eschew playing on equipment in favour of running up and down the contours of natural land, or rooting around in vegetation and stepping over branches.  Having a mixture of both “manmade” school playground equipment, and natural environments rife for exploring, is the best way to ensure natural playgrounds in Bishops Stortford and the wider UK have the best chance of proving successful.

Planting is Key


Even if you have a lot of existing vegetation on your site, it’s worth giving thought to how planting can be incorporated within your playground design. Properly integrating trees, shrubs and wildflowers is a fantastic way to create a stunning natural space that serves as a tranquil retreat for school children in need of a between lesson wind-down. Bishops Stortford clients should keep in mind that….



Shrubs grow quickly and attract a lot of insects. They’re ideal to fill space between walls and boundaries. Willow is a great shrub which is very tough and long-lasting, making it ideal for playground design. It can also be shaped into dens and tunnels, should you want them featured within your natural playgrounds.



Trees take a bit of time to pay dividends, but long-term they’re wonderful. They provide shape for students who want to take shade and socialise with their friends when the warmer summer months decide to grade Bishops Stortford. Keep in mind that some students may be tempted to use trees like climbing frames or similar pieces of school playground equipment, so it’s worth setting down some ground rules after the new playscape opens its “doors”!



When it comes to flowers, you can really get creative. Don’t just go for old staples, but think about how natural playgrounds can be havens for wildflowers and more than just daffodils. Hard surfaced areas can be spruced up with planters, but try and set aside some space for natural turf that will feature colourful and wonderful arrays of plants!

For more information about our unique approach to playground design, call DNA Play on 01992 537 121. We build exciting natural playgrounds around Bishops Stortford.