One phrase you’ll see used around our website a lot is “natural playgrounds”. This is our area of speciality within playground design, and all the projects we’ve worked on around St Albans can be placed within this category. But you may be wandering what exactly they are, and what features they have, for example if they employ school playground equipment like climbing frames.
Rest assured that natural playgrounds aren’t completely alien and different to what you’d see a few decades ago. They’ve merely evolved to become better integrated within the wider environment, and more thoughtfully designed. Below, we’ve looked to explain just a few ways in which nature is incorporated within our St Albans playground design projects.
During the playground design phase we will look to see how mounds, slopes and tunnels can be used to create exciting and varied natural playgrounds. Having a landscape which varies in heights and gradients encourages children to run, jump and explore school playground equipment (e.g climbing frames) positioned throughout the playground.
Different areas can become fun hideaways where children can sit and talk with their friends, while others can allow the more St Albans’ more hyperactive children burn off some energy and really make the most of their time spent between lessons.
….and by this we mean trees, grass, shrubs, flowers and lots of greenery. The most effective and picturesque natural playgrounds we’ve built around St Albans feature plant life in abundance, often in carefully positioned planting beds. Not only do they fill the space with lovely aromas and clean air, but they help establish a peaceful atmosphere for children to relax in (shady trees are a blessing in hot summer weather).
Incorporating vegetation within playground design is where we excel, ensuring that there’s plenty of wildlife and a proper ecosystem working in amongst the school playground equipment and climbing frames!
When people think of St Albans playgrounds they mainly think of the school playground equipment within them, conjuring up images of swing sets and climbing frames. But natural playgrounds can also include loose materials that are tons of fun to play with in a genuinely creative manner. Sand, twigs, leaves and pebbles can be used to great effect in den or construction-themed play settings. When combined with synthetic loose materials like ropes, pipes and planks, you can really provide a lot of tools for children to use their imagination with.
This type of play can encourage teamwork and develop real world skills, like problem solving and turning ideas into a reality. St Albans schools that choose to incorporate loose materials within their playground design should ensure they are well managed and properly introduced, however.